Five Facts You Should Know About Motorcycle Accidents
Millions of people in the U.S. enjoy riding motorcycles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports there were 8.6 million registered motorcycles in 2021, and 385,159 were registered in Pennsylvania alone. Motorcycles are more affordable than other types of motor vehicles and offer superior fuel economy. They are also fun to ride. However, motorcyclists are also at a much greater risk of serious injuries when they are involved in collisions. If you were injured in a motorcycle wreck because of the negligence of another motorist, you should speak to the attorneys at Raynes & Lawn to learn about your rights and options. Here are five facts that you should know about motorcycle accidents.
1. Most Motorcycle Accidents Happen Inside Cities
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 61% of motorcycle crashes in 2019 happened on urban roads, and many of these occurred at intersections. The NHTSA reports that 41% of fatal motorcycle collisions occurred at intersections when other motorists were turning left. When you are riding in a city and approach an intersection, watch for cars that might pull out to turn onto the street from a driveway or side street. You should also watch for cars preparing to turn left at a major intersection even if the drivers fail to use turn signals. Your view at an intersection can be obstructed because of buildings, shrubs, trees, and parked cars, making it important for you to slow down as you approach an intersection to check for cars that might turn or might run a red light. Be prepared to react if you need to do so, and remember that some motorists fail to check for motorcycles and might pull out in front of you without realizing that you were already there. If you are struck by a car at an intersection, you might be entitled to recover compensation. Motorcyclists who are injured because of the negligence of other motorists might recover compensation for their medical expenses, wage losses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
2. Motorcyclists Are 29 Times Likelier To Die In Collisions
The NHTSA reports that motorcyclists in 2019 were 29 times likelier to be killed in accidents than passenger vehicle occupants. They were also four times likelier to be injured. While you can also be injured or killed in a car crash, the risk is much higher when you ride a motorcycle. One reason why motorcyclists have a much greater risk of serious injury or death is that motorcycles do not have the same types of safety features as passenger cars. For example, motorcycles don’t have airbags or safety belts, and they also do not have a protective steel cab surrounding the motorcyclist to absorb some of the physical forces released in a collision. This means that motorcyclists frequently absorb the forces from a car crash with their bodies. To reduce your risks, make sure to always follow all traffic laws. Wear proper safety gear at all times, and make sure you and your bike are highly visible by wearing bright clothing and applying reflective strips to your motorcycle.
3. Alcohol Plays A Major Role In Motorcycle Crashes
You should never ride your motorcycle after drinking alcohol. Riding while impaired can greatly increase your chances of being seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle crash. The NHTSA reports that 42% of motorcyclists who were killed in single-vehicle collisions were impaired by alcohol. Among those who were involved in collisions with other vehicles, 29% were impaired. Alcohol slows your ability to react and swerve when necessary to avoid hazards. Even if the other motorist was negligent, you could also lose your ability to recover full compensation for your losses if you were impaired by alcohol at the time of your accident.
4. Helmets Really Work
While you might not like to wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle, you should always do so whenever you ride. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 57% of motorcyclists who were killed in 2020 in the state were not wearing helmets. Similarly, 2019 data from the NHTSA found that 57% of motorcyclists who were killed in accidents in states without universal helmet laws were not wearing helmets as compared to 9% of motorcyclists who were killed in states with universal helmet laws.In Pennsylvania, the state does not require motorcyclists who are 21 years old or older to wear helmets. However, doing so could save your life, so you should use a helmet at all times.
5. Motorcycle Crashes And Fatalities Have Increased In Pennsylvania
PennDOT reported that the number of motorcycle crashes in the state increased by 14.1% from 2019 to 2020, and fatal collisions increased by 22.9%. Pennsylvania is among the states with the highest percentage of fatal motorcycle crashes. In 2020, 217 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in Pennsylvania, and the state reported a total of 3,398 motorcycle crashes, which means that 6.3% of all motorcycle collisions in the state were fatal. When a motorcyclist is killed in a crash caused by someone else, certain surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit under 42 Pa.C.S. § 8301. Under this law, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased motorcyclist have a right to file an action. If none of these parties remain, the personal representative of the deceased motorcyclist’s estate may bring an action.
Some of the types of damages that might be available include the following:
- Lost inheritance rights
- Loss of the contributions the deceased victim would have made to the family if he or she had lived
- Loss of consortium or guidance
- Funeral and burial costs
Since the value of a claim will depend on the facts and circumstances, you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to learn about what you might expect.
Contact A Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyer Today
If you were seriously injured in a motorcycle crash or lost your loved one because of the negligent actions of someone else, you should speak to the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Raynes & Lawn. We have represented accident victims for more than 50 years and understand how to build strong claims on behalf of our clients. Call us for a free consultation today at 1-800-535-1797.
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