One way motorcycle accidents are different from car accidents is the severity of the injuries that tend to result. Although the drivers and passengers in any size of motor vehicles can suffer injuries in crashes, motorcyclists are more likely to experience catastrophic injuries in accidents, some of which are fatal. The lack of a protective body frame and other safety features to protect motorcyclists is a major factor in the seriousness of the injuries in these crashes.
Roadways are dangerous places for all travelers, including drivers and occupants of all types of motor vehicles, but they tend to be particularly risky for motorcyclists. Various factors increase the likelihood of motorcycle crashes, such as the small size of motorcycles relative to other motor vehicles, the balance necessary to riding motorcycles, and the greater impact of weather conditions.
Motorcycle Accidents Are More Likely to Produce More Severe Injuries Than Car Accidents
Motorcycle accidents inherently increase the risk of devastating and severe injuries for motorcyclists for various reasons. First, automakers progressively have been making safer passenger vehicles for decades, focusing their efforts on new and improved safety features, such as airbags, seatbelts, and safety glass. Some vehicles now have accident avoidance systems; electronic features can assist with braking, detect pedestrians, and more.
Motorcycles, however, have few of these features. Although optional features like anti-lock braking systems and adaptive headlights are helping make motorcycle riding safer, they cannot replace the protective shell of a steel frame encircling motor vehicle occupants and airbags to cushion the impact of a crash.
Motorcyclists have nothing to protect them from direct contact between their bodies and whatever they are striking, whether it be the ground, another vehicle, a telephone pole, or another fixed object. This lack of protection directly leads to increased risks of injuries if an accident occurs.
Likewise, passenger cars come equipped with seatbelts, which can keep drivers and passengers stationary and help prevent them from hitting hard surfaces. Seatbelts also substantially reduce the risk of ejection from the vehicle, which is likely to result in more serious injuries. Motorcyclists, however, have no seatbelts and nothing to keep them in place if a crash occurs. As a result, ejection from motorcycles during an accident is almost impossible to avoid.
The one safety measure that some motorcyclists do take advantage of is helmets and other protective gear. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, helmets saved the lives of at least 1,872 people involved in motorcycle accidents. Helmets would have saved another 749 lives if the motorcyclists in question had been wearing them.
Overall, helmets are 37% effective in preventing deaths and 67% effective in preventing brain injuries. Nonetheless, helmets still cannot compare with the wide range of safety features that passenger vehicles typically have. Although helmets can guard against head trauma, they do nothing to prevent internal injuries, broken bones, and other types of catastrophic injuries.
Motorcycle Accidents Tend to Result in More Fatalities Than Car Accidents
In its analysis of 2017 motorcycle crash data, the NHTSA found that per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely to die in crashes than the occupants of passenger motor vehicles. Motorcycles account for only three percent of all registered vehicles and account for only 0.6 of all vehicle miles traveled. However, per the number of vehicles registered, motorcycle accident fatalities occurred at a rate six times the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities.
Motorcycle Accident Rates Are Higher Than Car Accident Rates
One characteristic of motorcycles that affects their accident rates is the size of motorcycles relative to other vehicles. Even the smallest passenger vehicles are far larger, longer, and heavier than motorcycles. As a result, drivers tend to overlook or fail to notice motorcycles, which can result in catastrophic motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles also are easily hidden in the blind spots of drivers, which can lead to accidents.
Another factor that impacts how motorcycle accidents are different from car accidents is the design of motorcycles. Motorcyclists must have an ability to balance their heavy motorcycles on two wheels while riding, an element which is obviously absent for drivers of passenger vehicles.
Environmental factors, such as gravel, grass clippings, and dirt on roadways, in addition to weather conditions such as puddled water, can greatly affect the ability of motorcyclists to maintain their bikes in an upright position. The innate instability of motorcycles can lead to more frequent accidents for motorcyclists than for vehicle drivers.
Contact Our Offices to Learn More About Motorcycle Accident Claims Today
All motor vehicle accidents can have catastrophic results, but motorcycle accidents occur at much higher rates and result in more severe injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you might be eligible for compensation. A motorcycle injury claim may allow you to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions and get justice for your losses.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC regularly handles various types of personal injury claims, including those that stem from motorcycle accidents. Call (800) 924-3113 today to get more information about potential legal claims arising from your motorcycle accident.