Some people ride motorcycles for convenience, while others ride motorcycles for fun. Regardless of their reasons for doing so, these motorcyclists must share the road with passenger and commercial vehicles. And when motorcyclists are involved in collisions with these larger vehicles, they often suffer serious consequences. According to the National Highway Transit Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5,000 people died in motorcycle accidents in the United States in 2019, while another 84,000 motorcyclists were injured. Fatal motorcycle accidents occurred 29 times more frequently than fatal passenger vehicle accidents that year, per vehicle miles traveled.
Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While any number of factors can lead to a collision, some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Speeding-Speeding affects reaction times as well as impact force, making collisions both more likely to occur and more devastating when they do.
- Unsafe lane changes- Motorists often don’t see motorcyclists in their blind spots, or make lane changes without checking them. And because motorcyclists are exposed to road conditions without the safety benefits of a unibody frame, what could be a minor collision between two passenger vehicles can become a fatal one if one of the vehicles is a motorcycle.
- Alcohol consumption- In 2019, 29% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involved motorcyclists who were alcohol-impaired. And even motorcyclists who have not been drinking are put at risk when they are forced to share the road with motorists who have.
Additionally, given the physical differences between passenger vehicles and motorcycles, there are some causes that are unique to motorcycles.
- Left turns- Motorists often fail to see motorcyclists at intersections, which can lead to a collision if that motorist is making a left turn (i.e., one that causes them to cross into the path of the motorcycle).
- Lane splitting- Motorcyclists going in and out of lanes put themselves at additional risk of collision.
- Drivers who don’t look before opening their doors risk injuring oncoming motorcyclists.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents can be particularly severe and life-threatening. Motorcycles don’t provide as much protection for their riders, particularly when compared to passenger vehicles. Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken limbs and bones
- Severe road rash and burns
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
- Vision and hearing impairment or loss
How to Avoid Motorcycle Crashes
The following tips can help you avoid being involved in a motorcycle crash:
- Try not to be in another driver’s blind spot.
- Ride defensively. This means being aware of your surroundings and other drivers, predicting their actions, and riding cautiously.
- Try not to ride in inclement weather if at all possible.
- Enroll in a motorcycle safety class, if you have not already done so.
And while wearing a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet and other protective gear will not prevent a motorcycle collision, doing so can save your life if you are involved in one. According to the NHTSA, about 37 of every 100 motorcycle fatalities could have been prevented if the victim had been wearing a helmet.
Can I Take Legal Action If I’ve Been Involved in a Crash That Was Not My Fault?
You can absolutely take legal action if you’ve been injured in a crash due to someone else’s actions. When you’ve been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to obtain compensation from the person who injured you.
Virginia provides a statute of limitations on bringing personal injury claims. This law states that you must file your suit within two years from the date of the accident, or risk having your claim dismissed as untimely.
Furthermore, your best chance of obtaining compensation for your injuries is to hire a personal injury attorney who has experience handling motorcycle accident cases.
Contact Herbert Maxey
Attorney Herbert Maxey has decades of experience helping clients get the compensation and justice they deserve after they’ve been injured through no fault of their own. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, you deserve a skilled attorney who understands the complexity of motorcycle accident cases. You deserve an attorney like Herbert Maxey. Call our offices today at 434-969-4873 or contact us online for a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate motorcycle accident attorney in Virginia.