Motorcycle accidents can happen at any speed, including lower ones. Recent data for speeding-related accidents is difficult to find. Still, a 1980s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study concluded that 29.8 mph was the median pre-accident speed of the 900 motorcycle accidents studied. This indicates that motorcyclists often have accidents at speeds under 30 mph.
People often assume that speed must have caused the accident or contributed to it if a motorcycle accident has happened. While this is a common assumption, the NHTSA writes that it only considers speeding as a factor in a traffic accident if:
- The vehicle’s driver has been charged with an offense related to speeding; or
- A police officer concludes that “racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash.”
Speeding is still viewed as a significant reason that accidents happen. The federal agency cites data, saying, “Thirty-two percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents in 2017 were speeding, compared to 18 percent for passenger car drivers, 14 percent for light-truck drivers, and 7 percent for large-truck drivers.”
This data indicates that driving a motorcycle at high speeds can cause motorcycle accidents to happen. However, speeding may not be as widespread an issue for motorcyclists when compared to the driving behaviors other motorists exhibit on the road.
Motorcycle Accidents Happen for Other Reasons
Motorcycles are small vehicles that move quickly. It can be challenging for drivers of larger vehicles to anticipate the moves of a person driving a motorcycle because of how they are maneuvered. It is advised that people who ride motorcycles take a course to learn how to operate their bike properly and follow the rules, such as leaving enough space between them and other drivers.
Still, motorcycles can be hard for some motorists to see on the road, especially when it is dark outside. It is also challenging for drivers to detect when a motorcycle is in their blind spot. All these factors make motorcycle travel riskier, especially because the people who ride them are exposed to open roads and weather, which can create dangerous driving conditions.
Motorcyclists also are not riding in an enclosed vehicle, leaving them little protection from outside dangers. This means any impact from an object, including another vehicle, can severely injure or kill them.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS-HLDI), nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died in accidents in 2018. This is more than twice the number of fatalities in 1997. It is not a stretch to think many of these accidents likely involved driver error or careless driving.
Drivers who engage in careless or reckless driving can act negligently and cause accidents that have little to do with speed. Situations that can lead to deadly road accidents between motorcyclists and drivers of larger vehicles include those involving drivers who:
- Fail to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists properly
- Attempt to pass a motorcycle without clearing enough space first
- Change lanes improperly to pass a motorist
- Do not see when a motorcyclist is changing lanes
- Follow too closely, not giving a motorcycle the proper distance
- Misjudge distance and fail to brake in time to stop safely behind a motorcyclist
- Are distracted while driving (e.g., texting and driving)
- Operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Nod off or fall asleep while operating their vehicle
These are just some examples of dangerous driving practices that put any motorist at risk, but the results can be devastating for the person driving a motorcycle. Physical injuries from motorcycle accidents, which can range from minor to life-threatening, include:
- Head injuries (traumatic brain injuries, concussions)
- Bone fractures
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Surface nerve damage
- Muscle damage
Accident Recovery Costs Time, Money
Some of these conditions will heal in a short time, while others will require extensive recovery time. This likely means medical bills for emergency hospital care and ongoing treatments, lost income from not being able to work, property damage, and other losses that put motorcyclists and their loved ones in a financial bind.
Such a frightening experience can affect more than just someone’s physical health; it can also affect their mental health. Some motorcycle drivers might need to attend therapy to overcome mental health battles after a traffic collision, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions suffered after an accident.
Accidents, whether they involve speeding or not, can happen to anyone for any reason. But some accident victims take back their lives by hiring an attorney to hold the parties responsible for their accident and recover compensation for their losses and perhaps peace of mind.
Seeking Legal Help in a Motorcycle Accident
If you have or a loved one is recovering from a motorcycle accident, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover your losses and damages. You should not have to carry the financial burden of an accident by yourself, especially if you did not cause it. Even if you were speeding at the time of your accident, you still might have legal options you can pursue.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 959-1444 today if you are interested in pursuing monetary compensation for injuries, damages, or losses suffered in your accident. You can tell us the details of your case during a free review. Contact us today so that we can get started.