If you or a loved one drives a motorcycle, you’re likely to have questions about what would happen in the event of a motorcycle accident. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents. Be sure to check out our motorcycle safety tips as well.
What should you do after a motorcycle accident?
Safety should always be your primary concern. If you’ve been hit by another vehicle or had some other type of accident, the first thing you should do is remain still. You may be injured without realizing it. Unless there is an immediate danger, take several seconds to gather your thoughts, make sure you aren’t injured, and come up with a plan on what to do next.
Provided you are not injured, try to get your motorcycle and yourself to the side of the road as quickly as possible. Call 9-1-1 from your cell phone or flag down help if anyone is hurt. Don’t argue with anyone else involved in the accident and don’t assign blame, just document everything you can.
You still need to provide information about the accident to the police, even if you don’t need emergency help. Be sure to exchange information with any other parties, such as full name, contact information, and insurance provider. Also, don’t depart from the accident scene until a police officer tells you to do so. Take pictures if you have a camera available and get contact information for any witnesses to the accident. You should report the accident to your insurance agent as soon as you get home and follow his or her instructions going forward.
Are there more motorcycle accidents than car accidents?
No, but motorcycle accidents tend to be much more serious. According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle accidents produce 35 times the fatalities as private passenger vehicles.
How do most motorcycle accidents happen?
In a separate report, the NHTSA outlined the following common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Head-on collisions with passenger vehicles are the leading cause of death when a motorcyclist is killed. This accounts for 56 percent of fatal accidents, and more than three-quarters of those involve a car striking a motorcycle from the front.
- Forty-two percent of motorcycle and vehicle collisions occur when a car makes a left-hand turn and strikes a motorcycle passing the car or traveling straight through an intersection.
- Lane splitting is the third-most common cause of motorcycle accidents. This means that the driver of the cycle drives between two lanes of slow or stopped traffic.
- Speeding and alcohol use by motorcycle drivers and other vehicles on the road.
- Colliding with a fixed object is the cause of death in 25 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents. Road hazards, such as potholes, animals crossing a road, and slippery roads due to weather, cause more accidents for motorcyclists than enclosed, four-wheeled vehicles.
How many motorcycle accidents are there each year?
The NHTSA has tracked fatal accidents on United States roadways since 1975. In 2016, the last full year for which statistics are currently available, 4,693 people died in motorcycle accidents and more than 80,000 were injured. Fatalities from motorcycle accidents made up 13 percent of all motor vehicle deaths in 2016.
What are the most common motorcycle accidents?
As mentioned above, drivers of passenger vehicles making a left-hand turn and colliding with a motorcycle in an intersection is a well-known cause of serious accidents. Changing road conditions and collisions with other vehicles are also common types of motorcycle accidents. Alcohol consumption and excess speed often play a role in crashes between motorcycles and vehicles as well.
What percentage of motorcycle accidents are fatal?
Approximately five percent of motorcycle accidents cause the death of the driver, passenger, or both. Mopeds, three-wheeled motorcycles, off-road motorcycles, and mini-bikes make up just a fraction of the fatal accidents attributed to motorcyclists each year.
What is a major cause of death and injury in motorcycle accidents?
When you consider that a typical passenger vehicle weighs thousands of pounds and a motorcycle only several hundred, it’s easy to understand how injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can be much more severe. Motorcycle drivers and passengers also don’t have the protection of the vehicle around them. Some of the most common injuries that people suffer in a motorcycle accident include:
- Burns due to road rash, gasoline, explosions, or contact with the 230-degree engine
- Fractures, especially in the arms and wrists due to trying to protect the face and bracing for impact
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Collapsed lung
- Lacerations and abrasions
Sometimes injuries aren’t always apparent right away. You may walk away from the accident only to develop severe pain several weeks or months later. Unfortunately, people can die from serious injuries like burns, internal bleeding, or a collapsed lung when it initially seemed as though they would recover. Some are killed instantly at the scene of the accident due to the force of the impact on their bodies. Wearing a helmet and obeying all traffic laws can reduce injuries and fatalities, but other drivers on the road must do their part as well.
Have You Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
As a motorcycle driver or passenger, you have just as much right to be on the road as anyone else. When other drivers cause serious injury due to inattention, negligence, or not following expected safety protocols, you may be entitled to financial compensation. It’s in your best interest to contact a local personal injury attorney and request a review of your case. Most lawyers offer this service at no charge as well as take cases on contingency. That means you pay legal fees from your winning settlement and nothing upfront. If you lose the case, you wouldn’t owe any money.