Motorcyclists face a much higher risk of injury or death compared to other motor vehicles. Bikes are smaller than other vehicles and are harder to see. Injuries are more likely to result if the rider is not properly geared up. Accidents can be caused due to inexperienced riders or by the negligence of other vehicle operators. Injuries may not be immediately apparent. If an insurance company is reluctant to cover a claim, a Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer can examine the details of the case.
Motorcycles Are Poor-Visibility But High-Performance
Motorcyclists face a 27-fold increase in fatal accidents compared to car drivers and passengers, per mile traveled. Bikes are quick and often difficult for car drivers to see. Drivers are looking for cars and trucks, missing smaller motorcycles. Weather conditions that already impact visibility, such as rain or fog, can make bikes seem to disappear. It can also be hard to determine how fast a motorcycle is going. Drivers of other vehicles may not be aware of how quickly bikes can accelerate.
Motorcycles are high-performance machines. Some bikes have higher death rates. Cruisers and touring bikes have the lowest numbers, around six deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles. Supersports were responsible for over 22 deaths per 10,000 registered bikes.
Supersport motorcycles are typically built on racing platforms and modified to be street legal. They are most popular with younger riders (30 and below). These high-performance bikes have massive horsepower compared to other types of motorcycles. Other drivers may be quick to blame a rider for an accident, resulting in the need for a Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer.
Helmets Offer Protection From Head Injuries
A comprehensive report by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) summarized data from 2003-2005 from eighteen states. 43 percent of riders were not wearing a helmet at the time of their crash. Statistical analysis of the data indicated that helmets significantly decreased the risk of facial or head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or death.
Laws regarding helmets vary state to state. All riders must wear a helmet in Nevada due to universal helmet laws. 18 other states and the District of Columbia also have universal helmet laws. Three states (New Hampshire, Iowa, and Illinois) have no helmet laws. The remaining states have partial laws, requiring some riders to wear a helmet, depending on what type of bike they are operating.
Proper Gear Protects Other Vulnerable Body Parts
Good motorcycle gear can mean life or death during an accident. Riding gear usually consists of:
- Boots and gloves
Helmets should always be worn, regardless of state law. Street legal helmets must have a DOT-approved sticker (typically on the back of the helmet).
Proper riding jackets should cover and protect fragile body parts and organs. Many have body armor that provides more protection in a crash. A jacket should fit snugly but still allow a full range of movement.
Demin jeans are not much defense in a collision. Pants should be made or leather or textile material and should contain armor. They must also fit snugly but allow a comfortable riding position. Sturdy boots and armored gloves also provide protection in an accident.
The Cause of Motorcycle Accidents
Rider error can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Motorcyclists must be mindful that cars may not see them. Other vehicles may turn left in front of the bike, causing an accident. Riders should also avoid a car’s blind spot. Potholes and road debris are more concerning while on a motorcycle. The rider should slow down or change lanes to avoid road hazards.
Speeding is another cause of fatal motorcycles wrecks. Speed was a factor in over half of fatal crashes involving supersport bikes. Supersports are often ridden by younger consumers, who may not be as experienced. A study by the NHTSA showed that many riders involved in a crash had either owned the bike for either less than two weeks or less than a year.
Drivers of cars and trucks should always be aware of motorcycles. Drivers should:
- Anticipate a motorcyclist’s maneuvers
- Give motorcycles plenty of room
- Use signals to indicate lane changes
- Be aware of lane splitting (only legal in California), where bikes share an occupied lane
Motorists must be mindful and observant while driving. Motorcycles have the same right to be on the road as any other registered motor vehicle. Negligent drivers can cause serious injury to a motorcyclist. A Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer can answer questions when a crash occurs. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, or who are distracted by texting can also pose a serious risk.