In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that there were 35,766 car crashes in the United States that caused people to die. Sadly, 5,500 of those deaths were motorcyclists. In Alabama alone, there were 78 motorcycle crashes which resulted in fatalities that year.
Riding a motorcycle can be fun and exciting. But it is important to remember that there are increased risks associated with riding a motorcycle that can lead to more accidents and injuries.
Common Motorcycle Crashes: Causes and Injuries
The NHTSA reports over 80% of motorcycle accidents cause injury or death. But we can help stop them by learning what causes these accidents.
5 Common Motorcycle Accident Causes
- High Speeds – Riding faster than posted speed limits or too fast for conditions. For example, rainstorms limit visibility and make roadways slick. Although the speed limit might be 70 mph, that is too fast to drive in the rain.
- Distracted Driving – When driving a motorcycle, stay focused. Don’t eat, text, or do anything else that takes your eyes off the road. You need to be able to see other vehicles and react quickly if something unexpected happens.
- Alcohol – Alcohol can make it hard to think clearly. Even one drink can slow down how fast you react. 40% of all motorcycle accidents that involve just one vehicle happen when the driver has been drinking alcohol.
- Left Turns – A car making a simple left turn can cause accidents with motorcycles. Motorcycles are small and hard to see when passing a car. The NHTSA says that 42% of motorcycle deaths happened because another vehicle was making a left turn.
- Inexperience – When you learn to drive a car, it usually takes months of practice and a written test. But it is sometimes different when learning to ride a motorcycle. Motorcycle drivers should take the time to learn how to ride a motorcycle safely and get a valid motorcycle license.
Motorcyclists can be seriously hurt in even small accidents. That is because there is not much protection between them and the pavement.
5 Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
- Head injuries – Brain damage, seizures, and death are often the result of head injuries.
- Road rash – When a rider slides across the road after an accident, the pavement causes abrasions, cuts, and nerve damage.
- Muscle damage – Hitting a hard surface, at even a low rate of speed, can damage muscles.
- Broken bones – This is a typical side-effect when concrete, asphalt, and metal break your fall.
- Paralysis – Spinal cord injuries can occur if the impact is hard or the landing is awkward.
Car Accidents vs. Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle and car accidents can be caused by the same things, like not paying attention, drinking alcohol before driving, or going too fast. But motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die in an accident than people in cars.
This is because motorcycle and car accidents also differ in several ways.
One major difference is that motorcycles don’t have the same safety features as cars. Cars have airbags, crumple zones, and seatbelts. Motorcycle drivers are also more exposed to the environment than car drivers because they don’t have things like car doors or roll bars to protect them from road hazards or when they hit other vehicles.
A motorcycle’s small size and ability to weave in and out of traffic are two other key differences that make motorcycles more dangerous.
Motorcycles are smaller vehicles than cars, trucks, and SUVs, which means their riders can’t see as much on the roads. When these small vehicles start to switch lanes and move between cars, the car driver may not notice the motorcycle as quickly they would another car.
Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders in North Alabama
While driving a motorcycle can be dangerous, there are safety tips that will help keep you safe. By following these tips, drivers can feel confident they are doing everything they can to stay safe while driving.
- Pay Attention – The NHTSA said that in 2020, about 25% of all fatal crashes involved hitting something that was not moving.
- Wear a Helmet – Helmets reduce chances of head or traumatic brain injury by 69% and death by 37%.
- Wear Protective Clothing – Riding pants, boots, gloves, and a thick leather jacket help protect your skin from road rash.
- Inspect your Motorcycle – Check tire pressure, brakes, fluid levels, and lights.
- Ride Responsibly – Don’t attempt stunts on roadways, follow posted speed limits, and obey traffic laws.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, first seek medical attention. Next, contact the skilled Huntsville motorcycle accident lawyers at Timberlake & League. You should focus on recovering from injuries while we help you get the compensation you deserve.