Motorcycle riders came together recently in Medford to promote April as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke met with safety advocates, riders, and motorcycle policemen in a Motorcycle Safety Proclamation ceremony outside City Hall to emphasize that the warmer weather will be bringing out more riders to the streets and that motorists need to be aware of their presence. Medford has 806 registered riders while the state has a reported 165,000 registered bikes.
Event attendees lamented the loss of friends to accidents involving passenger cars and other vehicles. In many of these, the motorists failed to check their blind spots before moving into an adjoining lane or were focused on their smartphones while driving. Although fair number of people assume that motorcycle riders are generally at fault in an accident, the predominant factor in crashes is the failure of motorists to identify and recognize motorcycles in traffic, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from the firm of Burns and Jain to handle your claim.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, 2017 was a better year for motorcycle riders in that there were 300 fewer fatalities than in the previous year, representing a 5.6% decrease. Still, there were about 5,000 fatal accidents involving riders and their passengers, making up 15% of all fatal traffic accidents though bikes comprise only 4% of the motor vehicles on the road.
The risk of being in a fatal accident on a motorcycle is 28 times higher than for passenger vehicle drivers and passengers. Over 78% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in some kind of injury with 8.2% being fatal.
Despite the decrease in fatal accidents, safety advocates are hoping that they see a steady downward trend. Even though 30 states saw a decrease in 2016, 18 states had more fatal accidents in 2017.
Factors in Motorcycle Accidents
Although the fault of other motorists account for a large number of motorcycle accidents, riders can also take steps to minimize their risk. For instance, in 25% of fatal motorcycle accidents the rider had a blood alcohol concentration level of at least 0.08%, making them the highest percentage of any motor vehicle type. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of traumatic brain damage, facial fractures and death. Estimates are that at least 800 deaths could have been prevented if the rider or passenger had been wearing a helmet. A sobering statistic is that the majority of motorcycle accidents involve riders who have no motorcycle certification or any license at all.
Further, with more states legalizing recreational marijuana, traffic safety officials expect to see an increase in crashes.
Riders can also reduce the risk of injury or of being in an accident with the proper clothing such as:
- Leather boots
- Leather gloves
- Eyewear or a full-faced helmet with visor down
- Pants and not shorts
- High visibility jacket—no T-shirts
- Wearing bright colors, especially at night
Also, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your bike. Examine your tire treads for damage and wear and for objects that have punctured your tire. Look for leaks, loose screws, and signs of corrosion. Check your cables, levers, brakes, oil and fluid, fasteners, and suspension. If your bike was wobbling or just seemed out of sorts the last time you rode it, take it in for service immediately.
Poor road conditions like potholes, slick roads, irregular heights, metal plates, dead animals, and other unexpected objects in the road can be especially hazardous. If you happen to be on a road that appears unsafe, proceed with caution and find an alternate route, if possible.
Riders are also getting older with the average age of riders killed in motorcycle accidents being 43. This may be due to older riders who have never ridden before. Since older drivers are less likely to drive recklessly, their inexperience with the bike and how to control and operate it are likely the reasons for this statistic. All new riders are encouraged to take a motorcycle training course.
Motorists are also to blame for many accidents due to:
- Distracted driving—smartphone use
- Impairment from drugs or alcohol
- Inattention or inability to see or recognize a motorcycle in traffic
- Misjudging the speed and distance of an approaching rider and turning left in front of the bike
- Not seeing a rider in the driver’s blind spot
With more motorcycles on our state highways, motorists are encouraged to recognize their presence and to practice ordinary care at all times when driving.
Damages in Motorcycle Accidents
Because of the lack of protection that riders have in any kind of accident, serious, catastrophic and fatal injuries are not uncommon. Damages may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future income loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
In a fatal accident, the administrator for the decedent’s estate may bring a wrongful death claim against the culpable driver on behalf of the decedent’s immediate family members. Damages in wrongful death claims may include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred before death
- Lost earnings the decedent would have earned over his/her lifetime
- Pain and suffering if the decedent was observed to have consciously suffered before succumbing
- Loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, counsel and guidance
- Punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was grossly negligent, willful and wanton
Retain a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer from Burns and Jain
Do not handle a serious injury accident or fatal one on your own since there are numerous issues that only a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer can handle if you want the compensation your case deserves. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, call a motorcycle accident lawyer from Burns and Jain today at (617) 227-7423 and schedule a free consultation about your injury claim.