Each spring, warmer temperatures across the United States bring winter-weary motorcyclists out to enjoy the weather and shake off the winter blues. With better fuel economy and a chance to feel the wind on their face, an increasing number of Americans have turned to motorcycles for recreational purposes and to save money on transportation costs.
Unfortunately, more motorcycles on the road also equals an uptick in motorcycle-related crashes during the warmer months. Holiday weekends are popular times to ride with friends during the spring and summer, but they are also among some of the most dangerous for motorcyclists.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Increased traffic, drivers who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and those traveling on unfamiliar roads for vacation contribute to the increase in wrecks involving motorcycles.
Motorcycle riders are more likely to be injured or die during a crash when they’re thrown from their bike. Nearly 5,000 fatal motorcycle accidents were reported in the U.S. in 2018 alone. Injuries like motorcycle road rash, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord trauma are common and costly outcomes of motorcycle accidents.
These injuries often result in long-lasting medical conditions that evolve over time, requiring life-long treatment and care.
Tips to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders can take precautions to avoid becoming involved in an accident. Defensive driving maneuvers and road safety awareness go a long way in avoiding injury and keeping motorcyclists safe on the open road. Follow these tips for accident prevention:
1. Be Visible to Other Drivers
A common reason for accidents involving motorcycles is a failure of other drivers on the road to see them. To ensure better visibility, wear bright colors with reflective material and turn your headlights on, even during daylight hours.
Headlights are critical for increasing visibility in all weather conditions because approaching vehicles are more likely to notice a motorcycle with its headlights on than one without. You can also make use of the motorcycle’s horn to let other motorists know your location.
2. Exercise Caution at Intersections
Half of all motor vehicle accidents happen at intersections. Left turns, failure to obey traffic signals, excessive speed, and pedestrian crossings contribute to intersection motorcycle crashes. Extra vigilance at intersections can prevent these crashes from occurring. Look twice before making a turn, stop at traffic signals and stop signs, and follow the posted speed limits.
3. Monitor Weather Conditions
Heavy rain, wind, fog, and other extreme weather make it more difficult to control a bike on slick asphalt. For instance, riding a motorcycle during a pop-up spring thunderstorm increases the risk for serious injury.
To protect yourself and your passengers, check weather conditions before setting out for a ride and avoid traveling through puddles or on slick roads whenever possible. If the weather takes a bad turn, motorcyclists should pull over and find a safe place to wait out the storm rather than trying to push through.
4. Put Electronics Away
Operating any motor vehicle requires a driver’s full attention, but especially so in the case of a motorcycle. Using a handheld device like a cell phone or GPS navigation system while riding may lead to loss of control of the bike, causing accidents and serious injury.
Electronics also cause distracted driving by pulling a driver’s eyes from the road and making it less likely that he or she will see oncoming hazards, such as a motorcycle, another vehicle, a pedestrian, or an animal in the roadway before it’s too late to react. Always pull over before making a phone call or responding to a text message.
5. Practice Good Maintenance
Following a winter of disuse, a motorcycle requires springtime maintenance to run at its peak performance. Failure to maintain your bike can cause issues with the motor, brakes, or electrical system that may lead to failure while on the road.
Address any problems that have developed while your bike was stored away over the colder months, especially before planning any long trips. Consider installing an antilock braking system (ABS) on your motorcycle as well. They’ve been shown to reduce fatality rates by up to 31% in the event of an accident.
6. Avoid Construction Zones
As the days get warmer, road construction crews will be out in full force along with motorcyclists. Check local reports for construction information and plan your travel routes to avoid construction zones, where accidents are more likely to occur, whenever possible.
7. Wear Safety Gear
The use of a well-fitting helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation can prevent head injuries in case of a crash. Statistics show that motorcyclists who wore a helmet were 31% less likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury than those who did not. They were also over 40% less likely to die in a motorcycle-related crash than non-helmeted riders.
Investing in protective clothing like a leather jacket and long, thick pants such as denim jeans can also help to prevent motorcycle road rash injuries, which are painful and often disfiguring. Replace all safety equipment when yours begins to appear worn or cracked.
Can I Sue the At-Fault Driver for Damages Following a Motorcycle Accident?
Despite taking every precaution, some motorcycle riders will still find themselves involved in an accident, with many of those crashes resulting in serious injuries or even death. Nebraska law offers redress to those who were not at fault for a motor vehicle accident. Police reports, eyewitness accounts, accident reconstruction, and medical documentation of a victim’s injuries can help to establish both liability and negligence.
Caring for a motorcycle accident victim is not only expensive in the short term, but may also require home modifications and round-the-clock personal care for the rest of his or her life in certain cases. These expenses can add up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime, leading individuals and their families into bankruptcy and financial distress as they try to adjust to a new lifestyle.
Making a personal injury or wrongful death claim may be the only option for recovering losses due to:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Physical therapy
- Private nursing care
- Loss of income and future wages
- Time off work
- Pain and suffering
- Damage to property
- Funeral and burial expenses
All states have a statute of limitations, so be sure to consult an attorney to determine the time frame for filing such claims.
Seek out the legal expertise of an attorney who specializes in motor vehicle accidents and personal injury law to learn more about your options. When your life has been turned upside down, a personal injury or wrongful death claim can mean more than just financial relief.
A favorable outcome can provide you a sense of justice and accountability for the damage that was done, in addition to honoring the memory of those who died.
Contact a Motorycle Accident Lawyer for Help
If you or a family member have been seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, you may find yourself financially overwhelmed by expenses incurred because of the wreck through no fault of your own.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle-related crash in Nebraska that was due to another driver’s carelessness or recklessness, contact the personal injury team at Berry Law. They’ve handled thousands of personal injury cases and can advise you on your right to recover compensation so that you can get your life back on track.