The number of registered motorcycles in the U.S. remains relatively steady at about 8.5 million. Although there have been no drastic increases in motorcycle ownership, the number of motorcycle accidents continues to rise.
Greater Risk of Injury and Death on a Motorcycle
Along with the frequency, the fatal consequences of motorcycle accidents are on the rise, with deaths at an all-time high. In 2020, there were over 5,500 motorcyclist deaths. During that same year, an additional 82,000 motorcycle riders sustained injuries in traffic-related accidents.
Potential Reasons for the Increase in Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries
There is no one answer as to why motorcycle accidents are happening more frequently or why the outcomes of these accidents appear to be more severe. However, there is a combination of factors that may be the cause of the higher risk of accident, injury, and death for motorcyclists traveling the US roadways.
Bigger and Heavier Vehicles
Passenger vehicles are becoming heavier and bigger, and consumer preferences have trended in the direction of SUVs, trucks, and vans. These vehicles occupy more space in lanes, and they are also much heavier than in the past, leading to more impactful and forceful collisions. When these collisions occur with motorcycles, the riders are at a much higher risk of death as a result.
Deteriorating Road Conditions
With drifting populations and an increase in road travel, much of the country’s infrastructure is in crisis. Roads that lack proper maintenance or require significant work to fix are a risk to all road travelers, especially motorcyclists. A dip in the road, a pothole, or roadwork debris may be nothing more than a minor inconvenience to a vehicle; however, to a motorcyclist, these can be dangerous obstacles that can cause a rider to lose control or fall from their motorcycle.
Growing populations in metropolitan areas mean more cars and people on the road at any given time. Traffic congestion can be hazardous to motorcyclists caught in the midst.
Stop-and-go traffic jams and aggressive drivers commonly cause accidents. However, what might amount to nothing more than a fender bender between vehicles can end in fatality for a motorcyclist.
The Biggest Risks to Motorcycle Riders on the Road
While road conditions, traffic, and other factors contribute to a motorcycle accident occurring, the outcome relies on the actions of the driver of the vehicle. Motorists engaging in negligent behaviors are the biggest threat to motorcycle riders on the road.
Although motorcyclists often get a bad rap, the reality is that riders often understand the risks involved and take great care in following applicable traffic laws to keep themselves and others safe. Unfortunately, motorcycle riders cannot control or predict the actions of other drivers on the road, and when other drivers fail to meet the duty of care they owe to those around them, fatal and tragic motorcycle accidents can occur.
When motorists drive too fast, they cannot stop as quickly or identify things in their way. If a motorcyclist appears in their path, a driver may be unable to stop or avoid impact, leading to a devastating accident.
Drivers Under the Influence
Alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s vision, coordination, and ability to reason. Any time a driver under the influence is behind the wheel of a car, they are a risk to all, including motorcycle riders.
When on the road, one of the most dangerous moments for a motorcyclist is when they are riding alongside or approaching a vehicle that is about to change lanes. Abrupt lane changes often cause motorcycle accidents because of a driver’s blind spots. Even if a driver checks before moving lanes, they may fail to see a motorcyclist in their blind spot, leading to a crash.
Drivers that are preoccupied with their phones, navigation system, or other activities when they should be focused on the road and their surroundings are a great risk to motorcyclists. Distracted drivers can easily cause motorcycle accidents.
What Should You Do if You Are in a Motorcycle Crash?
If you are a motorcycle rider that has been the victim of a crash with another vehicle, there are some actions that you can take at the scene to protect yourself as you wait for the police or first responders to arrive.
Move to Safety
In most instances, when a motorcycle accident occurs, the rider gets thrown off of the motorcycle onto the road, which can result in a second impact from another approaching vehicle. If you are alert and physically able, you must move to safety as quickly as possible following the crash.
If you have a phone on you and you are able to communicate, call 911 to request that medical services and the police come to the scene of the motorcycle accident. If you cannot call due to your injuries, call out to a bystander to call 911 for you.
Contact Pacific West Injury Law After a Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle accident attorney can help you navigate the challenges and difficulties you will face after a crash. With a lawyer representing your interests, you can fight for the compensation you are eligible for under the law as the victim of another driver’s negligence.
Pacific West Injury Law has the experience and background to help you fight for a positive resolution of your insurance claim or your case against the at-fault parties. Contact us today for a free consultation.