As spring turns to summer, it’s only a matter of time before the roads are humming with motorcycles once again. While motorcycles are exciting and liberating, many riders are unaware of the unfortunate truths that shadow their choice of transportation. To help illustrate these points, we need to go over everything you should know about motorcycle crashes.
The first thing any motorcyclist should know about crashes is that although motorcycles account for less than 5% of all vehicles, they are involved in 11% of all crashes and nearly 15% of all motor vehicle fatalities. Even the safest motorcyclist is 25x more likely to be in a crash than the average car driver. Not only that, but they are almost certain to experience some kind of injury in the accident.
Nearly 80% of all motorcycle crashes (4-in-5) result in serious injury or death. Those injuries also tend to be much more severe than injuries suffered in similar car crashes. Paralysis and nerve damage are common outcomes of motorcycle accidents, and motorcyclists alone account for 50% of all spinal cord injuries in the country (roughly 250,000 per year).
The reason for this is clear: A motorcycle’s size and design lack crucial safety features present on other vehicles. There is no seatbelt to keep riders in place, so a crash typically throws drivers into traffic at high speeds. Motorcycles also lack a crumple zone (which can reduce the force of impact by up to 25%) and airbags (which reduce the risk of injury by 40-60%).
Because motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than their four-wheeled counterparts, driver safety becomes an issue for the individual driver rather than the manufacturer. The problem is that even though the risks of motorcycle riding are well known, many riders choose to forgo basic safety measures that could save their lives.
Who Is At Risk
According to data from the National Safety Council, one demographic that is significantly more likely to be injured or lose their lives in a motorcycle accident are men over the age of 40.
This group alone accounts for more than 3,000 deaths per year, or about half of all motorcycle fatalities in the country. By comparison, men age 30-39 comprise a little less than 1,000 fatalities per year, and motorcyclists age 18-29 average around 1,500 fatalities per year.
A look into crash data tells another upsetting story. Roughly 25% of motorcycle crashes and 33% of motorcycle fatalities are the direct result of the motorcycle rider driving while intoxicated. While drinking and driving should never mix, motorcycle riders are at an especially high risk of a crash when operating a vehicle with any blood-alcohol content because they not only need to control the vehicle, they need to maintain their balance.
Perhaps most shocking is that the motorcyclists most likely to be in a crash are also the least likely to wear life-saving safety equipment, such as helmets or armored clothing.
It is a well-established fact that motorcycle safety equipment saves lives, and yet some motorcyclists choose to ignore New York’s helmet law and drive with no head protection at all. Although helmets reduce the risk of head and neck injury by 70% and reduce the risk of death by 40%, roughly 1-in-10 New York motorcyclists forgo this critical safety gear.
Wearing a helmet is just one part of motorcycle safety. The more armored clothing motorcyclists wear, the less likely they are to be severely injured in a crash. As the saying goes, “dress for the slide, not the ride.”
That said, if you are ever seriously injured in a motorcycle crash and need help securing the compensation you need to recover, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. When your hire our team, we’ll work quickly to take away the stresses of a difficult case so you can focus on feeling better.
To discuss your case with an experienced Buffalo car accident attorney from Richmond Vona, LLC, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (716) 300-5885 for a free consultation.