As Winter’s chill starts to melt away, motorcyclists everywhere are looking to enjoy some time out on the open roads while preventing motorcycle accidents. It’s no secret, though, that motorcycles have a reputation for being dangerous, and that risk factor only increases when both motorcyclists and car drivers don’t take the necessary precautions. When motorcycle accidents occur, they can be devastating to everyone involved.
Before hitting the road, it’s vital to understand the unique risks motorcyclists face and what steps they can take to protect themselves and passengers.
How Prevalent Are Motorcycle Fatalities?
Motorcyclists face a high risk for injuries and fatalities in the United States. According to a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,014 motorcyclists were killed in 2019, a little more than 20 fewer than the 5,038 fatalities in 2018.
Recent statistics show that motorcyclists who get into an accident face a much greater risk of fatality than those involved in a car accident. For example, in 2019, motorcyclist fatalities occurred approximately 29 times more often than passenger car accident fatalities.
What Are The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Fatalities?
It may not surprise you that the most common cause of fatal motorcycle accidents is colliding with other motor vehicles. Since motorcycles lack an external protective frame, accidents involving cars or trucks can debilitate riders and passengers. Motor vehicle occupants have more protection due to the size of the vehicle, seat belts, and airbags.
Motorcyclists must stay aware of their surroundings at all times, as other drivers often do not see motorcycles, especially when turning. Unfortunately, this lack of awareness on the drivers’ part can lead to devastating accidents. Some of the most common causes of fatalities among motorcyclists include:
- Turning in the Path of a Motorcycle: Motor vehicle drivers turning into motorcycles’ paths cause nearly one-third of accidents.
- Speeding: 33% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the accident in 2019.
- Alcohol Use: 29% of motorcyclists killed in crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher in 2019.
- Invalid License: 30% of motorcycle accidents in 2019 involved riders without valid motorcycle licenses.
How Can You Stay Safe on the Roads?
Despite the grim reality that riding a motorcycle can be a dangerous way to get around, there are ways for riders to protect themselves and actively work to prevent an accident.
Have Proper Training
Riding a motorcycle requires skills that are far different from driving a car. With that in mind, motorcyclists should be properly trained and licensed to ride before ever setting out on the open road.
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can often be caused by other vehicles not seeing the motorcyclists. That is why it is important to be as visible as possible and drive defensively. Motorcyclists should be aware of their surroundings and maintain a distance that allows them to have time to react to a change in traffic.
Wear Protective Gear
As a rider or passenger, be sure to wear clothing that fully covers your body, such as jeans, boots, and gloves. This protective equipment can help reduce the severity of your injuries.
Helmet laws and increased helmet usage have significantly reduced the chances of a cyclist suffering severe head trauma. Wearing a helmet is 37% effective at preventing fatal injuries and 41% effective at preventing injuries to passengers.
According to the NHTSA, helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcycle riders in 2019. In Alabama, motorcyclists must wear helmets at all times according to the Universal Helmet Law.
We hope that motorcyclists can enjoy the thrill of riding in the summer weather while keeping themselves and passengers safe by following these helpful tips.
What To Do If You or a Loved One Has Been In an Accident
If you or a loved one experiences a serious injury in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault–it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney who knows your rights. The Thumbs Up Guys at Floyd Hunter Injury Law have been working to protect injured Alabamians for years and understand how difficult getting back on your feet can be.
We will fight to protect your right to the fair insurance settlement that you deserve for your motorcycle accident claim. Contact us today and get a free case review by filling out the online form or giving us a call at 334-452-4000.