Motor accidents happen. The most careful and conservative motorcycle rider can end up eating pavement, even if you’ve threaded your way through two or more lanes of traffic countless times without an incident. Yet motorcycle accidents statistics show that nearly 5000 American motorcyclists died in crashes in 2017 alone, to say nothing of the countless non-fatal injuries also sustained over the same time period.
You don’t need us to tell you the risks and consequences that come with owning and riding a motorcycle. While your two-wheeled iron horse gives you plenty of freedom, you’ve also got to deal with the downside. Being aware of the disadvantages can help you stay safe on the road.
The Risks of Motorcycle Accidents
The dangers of riding a motorcycle are many. The smaller size of your vehicle means that you’re just not as visible to other drivers on the road, and that can be a major disadvantage. The fact that you have little in the way of shelter from the weather, road conditions, or other vehicles means that you’ve got much less protection in the case of a collision as well.
There’s more when it comes to the risks that motorcycle drivers take on every time they pull out into traffic. Even the smallest instability in your front wheel can cause you to lose control when traveling at high speeds. Also, the mere act of riding a motorcycle is so much more complex than driving a car means that you need to be fully engaged at all times while you’re on your bike — and less-observant or attentive drivers can cause accidents that you end up involved in.
Being Safe on the Road
You might not be able to control whether the other drivers pay attention to you — or even their own vehicles — but you can help avoid getting in bad motorcycle accidents through your own actions. There are a number of ways you can increase your own safety while on the road, including but not limited to:
- Get fully licensed and take professional motorcycle riding lessons
- Always wear thick, protective clothing when on your bike. This includes a helmet and appropriate eyewear!
- Keep your bike in good mechanical condition at all times
- Be “aggressively” visible by never assuming a driver sees you and avoiding their blind spots
- Approach all road hazards with caution (or avoid them completely)
- Keep your motorcycle insured at all times and at an appropriate level
- Avoid being reckless and don’t attempt to ride in ways that surpass your skill
In the Event of a Motorcycle Accident
There are a number of motorcycle accidents per year that occur even though bike riders take all possible steps to ride safely. If you find yourself in such a situation, remain calm and keep your priorities straight, the first of which is ensuring that no one involved in the accident is seriously hurt. If so, make sure that you seek medical attention immediately.
After any immediate health concerns are resolved, or if there are no immediate health concerns, the most important thing is to exchange information with any other drivers involved in the accident. Contact information, insurance provider, and driver’s license numbers all need to be included in this information. You can also include any witnesses in this contact information gathering as well.
Finally, you should also do your best to take pictures of the accident scene. Record any evidence of damage to your motorcycle, any other vehicles involved, and views of the roadway in every direction. This can help you if you need to make a claim against an insurance company or take the other driver to court to cover your costs, especially if you weren’t at fault for the accident.
Making Claims Against At-Fault Drivers
Bad motorcycle accidents often do a lot of damage to property and can cause some serious injuries. In the case of motorcycle accidents caused by other drivers, there’s a very good chance that you have legal standing to sue the other driver for driving in a careless or reckless manner — especially if that behavior led to the accident occurring in the first place.
If you decide to bring such a claim, your best bet is to always enlist the aid of a qualified attorney. Seek out a lawyer who has experience in representing motorcycle accident victims, as they will be able to help prove your case against the other driver.
Proving a Claim of Negligence Against Another Driver
In the case of motorcycle vs car accidents, there is actually not much different in bringing suit against another driver in order to prove their reckless, careless, or otherwise negligent behavior caused the accident. Your lawyer will need to prove the following in order for your claim to be successful:
- That there was a law that required the other driver to exercise reasonable caution and care when the accident occurred
- That there was a lack of this reasonable caution and care on the part of the driver
- That these irresponsible actions of the other driver led to the accident
- That you were injured or otherwise suffered losses or damages from the accident
If you can prove that the other driver was negligent in their behavior by satisfying the above requirements, you will be entitled to compensation. However, you may not receive the full amount. If you are found to have contributed to the accident happening, you will have your reward reduced by a percentage as a result.
How much this percentage is will differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; for instance, in Texas, if you are responsible for 51% of the accident or more, then you’re actually barred from bringing suit altogether. Regardless, your best bet to receiving compensation always lies in working with a qualified lawyer with experience in cases dealing with motorcycle accidents.