Injured in a motorcycle crash? The number of motorcycles on the road has increased in recent years. Unfortunately, so has the number of motorcycle crashes. As motorcycle riders and passengers have less protection than car occupants in an accident, injuries are more likely to occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per mile traveled, riders in a bike crash are 9 times more likely to be injured than those in a car accident and 37 times more likely to die in the motorcycle crash. NHTSA statistics from 2008 show nationwide 96,000 people were injured in motorcycle crashes and 5,290 were killed. North Carolina accounted for 159 of those motorcycle crash fatalities. [Click here to read the NHTSA report.]
The accident attorneys at Leone Noble & Seate encourage all motorcyclists to be safe! Take advantage of motorcycle rider training classes, wear a helmet, use a designated driver if you’ve been drinking, and follow safe speeds and all traffic laws.
If you are involved in a motorcycle crash, follow these steps:
- Stop. If you get in a motorcycle crash, you must stop. If you leave, that’s known as a “hit and run,” and might be a felony. This includes hitting property, animals or pedestrians. Also, stay calm.
- Call for help. If someone is injured, call 911. If not, your first call should then be to the police. The police will advise as to whether the crashed vehicles should be moved out of traffic, and will take statements from the drivers and passengers involved.
- Call your insurer. As soon as you are able, call and file an accident report. You should also notify the other driver’s insurer of the accident.
- Don’t sign anything. If an insurance adjuster shows up at the motorcycle accident scene, don’t give any statements and don’t sign anything.
- Gather information. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone at the scene, especially witnesses.
- Go see your doctor. If you are injured, get medical treatment. If you are examined by a doctor, make sure you are specific in explaining how the bike crash happened and any and all injuries and problems you sustained as a result.
- Call Leone Noble & Seate. If you’ve been injured, you may want an accident attorney to make sure you receive a fair settlement from the insurance company. No pressure to hire us — just call to make sure you are fully informed of your rights.
Motorcyclists face a far higher risk of involvement in an injury-causing accident. A motorcycle crash is a complex event involving the interaction of human, vehicle, and environmental factors. While there is no “typical” motorcycle accident, what is “typical” is that a motorcycle crash is a violent event. More than 80 percent of all reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death to the motorcyclist.
Why Motorcycle Accidents Result in More Injuries:
- The motorcycle itself provides no head injury protection to the rider or passenger.
- Ejection from the motorcycle is a common injury pathway.
- If a motorcycle comes to a sudden stop and the rider is ejected from the motorcycle, the rider will forcibly strike objects in the path as well as the ground.
A motorcycle lacks the crash worthiness and occupant protection characteristics of an automobile. An automobile has more weight and bulk than a motorcycle. It has door beams, a roof, airbags, and seat belts. It is also more stable because it is on four wheels. Because of its size, an automobile is easier to see.
Motorcyclists should take special precautions and place more emphasis on defensive driving. A motorcyclist, for example, has to be more alert at intersections, where most motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur. More than other vehicle drivers, motorcyclists must remain visible at all times, and anticipate what might happen. They also must be more cautious when riding in inclement weather, on slippery surfaces, or when encountering obstacles on the roadway.
Motorcyclists must place greater reliance on their helmet, eye protection, and clothing to reduce the severity of injury should they become involved in a crash. Every new motorcyclist should attend a motorcycle training course to learn how to safely operate a motorcycle.
Reduce you chance of motorcycle injury
The following tips, offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, may also reduce your chance of injury:
- In addition to your helmet, wear eye and face protection. Many helmets have built-in visors or other face guards. Wear long pants, gloves, boots, and a durable long-sleeved jacket.
- Get licensed. All states require a motorcycle license.
- Never drink alcohol before operating a motorcycle.
- Follow all the rules of the road. Don’t speed! Forty percent of motorcyclists who died in crashes were speeding.
- Watch for hazards on the road, such as large cracks, holes and bumps.
- Keep an eye out for vehicles coming from driveways and side streets.
- Make sure your headlight is on every time you ride (this is a law in most states).
- Don’t let anyone ride with you until you are skilled at riding in all kinds of conditions.
- If you’re a new rider, take a motorcycle riders’ course. To locate a course near you, call 1-800-446-9227.
When passengers ride with you, they must wear a helmet and protective gear. The tips that follow, gathered from several states’ motorcycle operator’s manuals, may increase the safety of your passengers:
- Insist that passengers sit behind you on the motorcycle.
- Make sure passengers’ feet can reach the footrests. Insist that they keep their feet on the footrests at all times, even when you stop.
- Don’t let passengers get on the motorcycle until after you start it.
- Tell your passengers to lean with you when you turn.
- Insist that passengers hold on to your waist all the time.
- Instruct passengers to keep their legs away from the muffler to avoid burns.
- Ask that passengers limit their movement and talking.
The single most important safety device a motorcyclist can have is a helmet. Approximately 2,000 motorcyclists are killed, and more than 50,000 are injured in traffic crashes each year. Many of these injuries and deaths could be prevented if motorcycle riders and their passengers wore helmets. Wearing a helmet lowers a motorcycle rider’s risk of fatal injury by 29 percent and reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury by 67 percent. Despite the documented effectiveness of helmets, many motorcyclists choose not to wear them, especially when state laws don’t require helmet use. Surveys show that in states without universal helmet laws, only 34 to 54 percent of motorcycle riders wear helmets. But in states where helmet use is mandatory for all riders, 98 percent of motorcyclists use this safety gear. Currently, less than half of the states require helmet use by riders of all ages.
Motorcycle helmets have a hard outer shell that distributes the force of an impact to protect the skull and prevents objects from piercing it. The crushable inner liner limits the force of impacts by absorbing a portion of the energy that would otherwise reach the head and brain. As the helmet does its job, the number and severity of head injuries are significantly reduced.
Helmets cannot work if they are improperly designed. Federal safety standards determine the amount of force helmets should absorb and the amount of peripheral vision the helmets must allow. Only helmets that meet or exceed these standards should be worn.
According to national statistics, motorcycle riders involved in traffic crashes will be injured 80 percent of the time regardless of whether or not they are wearing protective gear. The most effective way to reduce motorcycle injuries and fatalities is to prevent crashes from occurring through a comprehensive program of rider education and training, improved licensing, alcohol education and motorist awareness. Helmets prevent brain injury. Motorcycle helmets save lives and prevent devastating and debilitating head injuries. Motorcyclists who ride without helmets run a significantly greater risk of death or permanent injury. Interestingly, motorcycle helmets are not designed (and can’t be) to provide complete protection from injury in every case. Most riders injured in motorcycle accidents, and even most head injuries in motorcycle accidents, involve helmeted riders.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful a rider you are, other drivers may not see you and they may be at fault for causing the motorcycle crash. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, contact an accident attorney today for a free consultation. If a family member or loved one has died in a fatal motorcycle crash as the result of another’s negligence, you may have a case for wrongful death. Leone Noble & Seate offers a free consultation with an accident attorney to see if you have a case. Contact us today.