Many not only enjoy motorcycle riding for a variety of emotional reasons, it’s also a way to save gas, But motorcyclists run a greater risk of severe injury than those in traditional motor vehicles simply because of the lack of protection compared to passenger cars.
The National Highway of Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) motorcycle accident statistics from 2013 note that 4,668 bikers died in car accidents; 14.3 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities that year. The latest breakdown by NHTSA finds that the largest age group of motorcycle fatalities occurred to riders age 40+ years (46 percent).
According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety here in Georgia, in 2012 there were 134 motorcycle fatalities. Eight of them happened because a rider or passenger was not wearing a helmet. All motorcycle riders and passengers in Georgia are legally required to wear a helmet if the bike has no windshield, the operator must have personal eye protection: either a helmet mounted windscreen or goggles.
Factors That Contribute to Motorcycle Crashes
When considering some of the reasons for motorcycle accidents that injure bikers when motorists hit them, the fact that a bike offers a much smaller vehicle profile that can become hidden from motorists’ view cannot be discounted. They disappear in vehicle blind spots and can be obscured from view by other cars or trucks.
According to the NHTSA, over half (53.1 percent) of crossing-path crashes and 36 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013 involved situations where another vehicle turned left in front of a motorcycle.
A collision where another vehicle turns in front of a motorcyclist happens in one of three ways.
- The motorcyclist approaches an intersection, intending to pass straight through it
- A biker is attempting to move past a car
- The rider is trying to overtake a car (or trying to clear the intersection quickly)
Speeding is a common issue with motorcyclists who are involved in crashes. NHTSA reports that in 2013, of all the motorcycle riders involved in a fatal accident, 34 percent were speeding. Many motorcycle crashes involve a biker hitting a fixed object instead of another vehicle. Other prominent reasons for motorcycle accidents include road hazards that range from objects falling off other vehicles to potholes, and wet or icy surfaces that lessen the biker’s ability to control the motorcycle.
Motorcyclists Regularly Experience Serious Injuries in an Accident
Though any motorcyclist can suffer more severe injuries of any kind in the wreck, Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the leading cause motorcycle fatalities, according to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) motorcycle accident statistics. In Atlanta in late June 2014 a motorcycle passenger died on the Downtown Connector when an alleged drunk driver reportedly struck the bike.
“One of the most severe and costly injuries a person can sustain is a TBI,” according to NHTSA, “which may lead to lifetime disability, significant rehabilitation, and long-term care costs.”
Below is a closer examination of the motorcycle accident and TBI statistics from the CDC, Brainline.org, and the NHTSA.
- Crashes involving motorcycle accidents are the second overall cause of TBIs, surpassed only by slip and fall accidents. (Brainline.org)
- Those without helmets suffer head and face injuries by a two-to-one ratio over helmeted riders. (NHTSA)
- Approximately six percent of hospital-treated riders in 2003-05 suffered severe TBIs in motorcycle crashes, and another 7.4 percent suffered moderate TBI. (NHTSA)
Options for Injured Motorcyclists
The likelihood of suffering serious or fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident is an issue, regardless of which type it is because of the rider’s lack of physical protection. In any accident, determining which party – or parties – is at fault for causing the wreck is a key in recovering compensation for damages.
If your loved one suffered a TBI in a motorcycle accident in Atlanta, seek an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. For help in the metropolitan Atlanta area, contact the Law Office of Jason Schultz for a FREE consultation at 404-474-0804.