Every year, there are over 4.5 million motorcyclists on the road in America. While this is a small percentage of drivers, they account for 11% of all traffic fatalities and 14% of injuries. This is a startling statistic considering that motorcycles make up only 3% of registered vehicles in the US. So who is at fault when these accidents happen? Hale Law, P.A. — motorcycle accident lawyer in FL, explains the details.
What Is The Most Common Cause Of Motorcycle Accidents?
The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is human error. An article from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2013, about 88% of all crashes involving motorcycles were caused by speeding, following too closely or driving distracted. And, over 75% of these incidents happened on urban roads.
In fact, the NHTSA reports that motorcycles were involved in 90% of fatal collisions with pedestrians and 80% of crashes with cars involving injuries to either motorists or passengers.
The Major Causes Of Death in Motorcycle Accidents
Injuries that lead to death in motorcycle accidents are often caused by high-impact crashes. This can cause serious head trauma, spinal injury or internal bleeding, which quickly become life threatening.
Additionally, a rider may be thrown from their bike and then hit another vehicle or object on the ground. The NHTSA says 74% of all motorcyclist deaths in 2013 resulted from head injury. And the most common causes of these fatalities is a lack of helmets, alcohol consumption and speeding on curvy roads.
At What Speed Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Fatal motorcycle accidents happen at all speeds, but there is a higher risk when riding faster. The NHTSA says that 38% of fatal crashes occurred while the vehicle was traveling over 50 miles per hour, and 73% of deaths were from head injury.
It also shows that in 2013, 47% of motorcycle accidents were single vehicle crashes and the majority (91%) occurred on urban roads. And a rider is most likely to die when they hit a stationary object like a tree or building after falling from their bike.
How Is Fault Determined In Motorcycle Accident Cases?
Compensation for injuries and damages in motorcycle accidents is determined by who was at fault.
If another driver caused the crash, they are liable unless it can be proven that they acted defensively to avoid hitting the bike. If there were no eyewitnesses or police report on scene when the incident happened, the insurance companies may take up to six months before paying for damages.
If the motorcyclist is determined at fault, they will probably pay higher premiums in addition to being liable for any injuries, death and property damage caused by their actions.
Are Motorcycle Accidents Common?
Motorcycle accidents are surprisingly common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were over 45,000 injuries and over 600 deaths from motorcycle crashes in 2013 alone, which is an increase of about 20% since 2011.
When Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen Most?
Motorcycle accidents happen most often in the warmer months, when there are more people on the road. To be more specific, over 80% of fatalities from motorcycle crashes happen between May and September.
The NHTSA also reports that for every 100 million miles traveled by riders, they were involved in 20 fatal collisions with pedestrians or car drivers.
The most common cause? A car driver failed to see the motorcycle in their blind spot. This is not surprising as motorcyclists are much less visible to drivers than other vehicles.
Is It Safe to Let Your Kids Ride?
It’s a good idea to teach children how to be safe on a motorcycle, but it can be difficult for them to see oncoming traffic. So the NHTSA suggests you should always have them wear approved helmets, and this is especially important if they are under age 18.
Studies show that children are more likely to suffer head injuries and neck fractures in an accident. So it’s important to bring a cell phone or other emergency device so you can call for help if they need it.
The safety administration says that you should ride defensively and encourage children to do the same. And, you also need to teach them how to use proper hand signals at all times.