Motorcycles are all about freedom. They’re more maneuverable, more open, and they have a much easier time finding parking. While motorcycles are certainly fun, they aren’t without dangers. In fact, there’s a sad truth about motorcycle crashes that most riders don’t realize.
A Big Risk
It should come as no surprise that motorcycle accidents are typically much more serious than car accidents. Motorcycles don’t have seatbelts to tether riders in place. They don’t have airbags. They don’t even have a frame to keep riders in place. When a motorcycle crashes, the rider may fly across the road or slide across the asphalt and get a painful road rash.
As a result of these lacking safety features, about 80% of all motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or death. In the U.S., motorcycle crashes are the leading cause of spinal injuries (account for 50% of all cases in the entire country). Motorcycle crashes are exceptionally dangerous, and those that don’t kill the rider may carry long-term complications, like paralysis and nerve damage.
Many riders are familiar with these inherent risks. What’s less obvious is that motorcycles are disproportionately more likely to be in a severe car crash than anyone else on the road.
Motorcyclists make up just 3% of all vehicles in U.S. traffic but account for 11% of all motor vehicle crashes and 14% of all traffic fatalities. Put another way, motorcycle riders are 27x more likely to be involved in a crash than someone driving a car, and when they are, there is a 4-in-5 chance of serious injury or death.
What’s especially frightening is that these fatal crashes are overwhelmingly biased toward men over the age of 40. More often than not, this is because older riders across the nation aren’t wearing their helmets. While motorcycles often cause more serious injuries compared to cars, helmets are one of the biggest predicting factors of survival and severity.
There are two key ways to bring positive change to the motorcycle community. The first involves reducing injury. The second is about preventing fatal accidents altogether.
There’s a good chance most motorcycle riders will be involved in a crash or an accident at some point in their lives. There are two ways to prepare for that moment: Wearing a helmet and wearing the right clothes.
While helmets are required by Nevada law, it’s important to understand what they do to protect you. Helmets reduce the risk of head and neck injury by 69%. Not only that, but states with strict universal helmet laws have significantly fewer motorcycle fatalities than other states.
Just as important as wearing a helmet is dressing appropriately. Remember, “dress for the slide, not the ride.” Someone wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers is almost certain to get a blistering road rash if they fall off their bike. They’re more likely to experience broken bones (especially broken ankles or feet) and suffer a potentially catastrophic spinal injury that could permanently change their quality of life.
Because motorcycles have fewer safety features, there’s only so much riders can do to reduce the severity of their injuries. The best way to stay safe on a motorcycle is to prevent a crash altogether. An alarming number of motorcycle wrecks are caused by just two factors: speeding and alcohol.
While many riders enjoy cutting through traffic and speeding ahead on the highways, high speeds are extremely dangerous for motorcycles. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more potential energy it has in a crash, which means more the rider is thrown further and suffers more serious injuries. That’s partially why 33% of all fatal motorcycle crashes involved unsafe speeding. Remember, it’s not a race. It’s more important that you get to your destination safely than quickly.
That said, the most impactful way to reduce motorcycle accidents and fatalities is by preventing drinking and riding whenever possible. Roughly 1-in-4 of all motorcycle crashes and 1-in-3 of all motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol. If you ever see an intoxicated person trying to get on their bike, do whatever you can to stop them. It just might save their life.
Personal Injury Lawyers at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. Help
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need a personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. can help you understand your legal rights and the steps you may take to pursue maximum compensation. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Talk to us, and we can help you explore your options. Call us today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a free case consultation or contact our office through our website.