This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that, for each mile traveled, the average American motorcyclist is, on average, about 29 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a passenger car. However, your risk of a crash may go up or down depending on which state you are riding in.
Read on to find out how Louisiana’s motorcycle accident statistics rank compared to other states, learn about the most common causes of motorcycle crashes, and discover why you need a motorcycle accident lawyer if you are involved in a collision in the Bayou State.
A 2017 study from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that Louisiana saw 95 motorcycle rider fatalities that year, making up 12.4% of all motor vehicle deaths in the state. By comparison, the three states with the highest fatality numbers in motorcycle crashes were Florida (504 fatalities), Texas (491), and California (406).
However, you also need to remember that those states have much higher populations than Louisiana and many, many, more motorcycle riders. When you look at the number of fatal crashes proportionally, things change.
When comparing the fatality rate per 10,000 registered motorcycles, a 2019 study shows that Louisiana is, by far, the deadliest state, at 21.1 fatal crashes per every 10,000 bikes, followed by South Carolina (13.1), Mississippi (12.7), and Texas (11.8). The U.S. national average is 6.1.
Although the precise circumstances of each incident may vary, most motorbike crashes fall into one of four categories: speeding, alcohol impairment, distracted driving, and left-hand turns.
Although most people think of speeding only as exceeding the posted speed limit, the NHTSA and numerous law enforcement agencies may categorize an incident as speeding-related if it involves street racing or driving “too fast for current conditions” like in inclement weather.
According to the latest NHTSA data, 32% of all fatal motorcycle crashes were speeding-related, compared to only 18% of fatal passenger car crashes. If the other driver was speeding before they hit you, they may be liable for your damages.
Louisiana uses a comparative fault system for accidents, meaning you must prove the other driver’s negligent actions, like speeding, caused your crash and injuries to receive compensation. This can be challenging to accomplish without the help of a skilled accident attorney because insurance companies may be biased against motorcycle riders and assume they were at fault for their own crashes without doing much investigation.
Alcohol impairment is a leading cause of traffic accidents in all categories, including motorcycle accidents.
In Louisiana, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits are as follows:
- “Per se” limit (the limit at which you are legally considered impaired): 0.08%
- Underage limit: 0.02%
- Enhanced penalties: 0.15%
According to NHTSA statistics, of the 95 riders killed in Louisiana in 2017, 27% had a BAC above the state limit. However, impaired riders are not the only source of alcohol-related accidents; many more crashes occur due to impaired drivers striking motorcycles.
Many motorcycle crashes occur because other drivers fail to spot motorcycles, or fail to judge how fast a motorcycle is moving or how close it is to their vehicle. Numerous studies prove alcohol impairment harms driving reaction times, making it more difficult for a drunk driver to see and react to an approaching motorbike in time. If a drunk driver caused your motorcycle accident, contact an accident lawyer to gather the evidence needed for your case.
The CDC estimates that 9 people die every day in the United States due to a distracted or inattentive driver. Drivers of cars and light trucks may be affected by one of the three types of driving distractions:
- Manual distractions (the driver takes their hands off the wheel)
- Visual distractions (the driver isn’t looking or paying attention to the road)
- Cognitive and mental distractions (the driver isn’t thinking about the route or traffic)
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident with a distracted driver, our experienced team of Baton Rouge motorcycle accident attorneys has the resources to help you prove the driver’s negligence and obtain compensation.
Intersections where another vehicle wants to turn left is one of the single most dangerous places for a motorcycle to be.
NHTSA research discovered that in 2017, 2,598 two-vehicle fatal crashes involved a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. In 42% of these incidents, the bike was driving straight, passing, or overtaking, while the other vehicle turned left. A rider on a motorbike presents a smaller profile than a car, which can disappear more easily inside a car’s blind spots.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Louisiana, here are the steps you should follow:
- Seek medical assistance as soon as possible and keep a copy of the medical records and invoices.
- Collect evidence of the incident, including photos, video recordings, witness testimonies, and police reports.
- Do not speak to the insurance companies without a lawyer present; they are prejudiced against motorcycle riders simply based on the statistics.
- Contact an experienced team of motorcycle accident lawyers. They will help you explore your legal options.
Drivers who fail to provide a duty of care to others on the road are considered negligent. If the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries, you have the right to seek compensation.
A motorcycle’s lack of seat belts and other protective structures means the injuries you face in an accident can be life-altering. You may suffer the loss of a limb, disfigurement, or a reduced quality of life. When this happens, you need the assistance of a skilled accident lawyer.
At Dudley DeBosier, we make it our priority to assist motocycle riders involved in accidents. Our motorcycle accident lawyers understand the risks and the unfair prejudices you face as riders every day.
If you sustained injuries, medical bills, or lost wages following a crash, we can help. We stand up for your rights and help you obtain the personal injury compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.
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