In 2020, motorcycles made up only 3% of all registered vehicles in the US, but motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities. What’s more, approximately 84,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents that year.
Because motorcyclists are not secured to their bikes, accidents almost always involve a fall. Riders often suffer broken bones, fractures, and road rash, as well as more serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other catastrophic injuries.
Here are a few situations that commonly result in a motorcycle accident. If you are a rider, pay special attention to these and use extreme caution.
Cars Making Left-Hand Turns
Collisions between cars making left-hand turns and motorcycles are common and often deadly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in nearly half of all fatal accidents involving an automobile and a motorcycle, the car was turning left at the time of the accident.
Cars turning left usually strike oncoming or passing motorcycles at intersections. Common reasons for left-turn accidents include:
- Driver distraction
- Low visibility; and
Left turn right of way laws are clear ─ drivers turning left should yield to oncoming traffic.
An automobile that hits a motorcycle when turning left is almost always at fault for the accident. However, a motorcyclist can share fault for a left-turn accident if they were speeding, running a red light, or riding in the wrong lane.
Front End Collisions
According to the NHTSA, of the 5,725 motorcycles involved in fatal accidents with another moving vehicle in 2020, the automobile hit the motorcycle in the front in 75% of the accidents. Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous kinds of accidents for motorcyclists because of the mismatched amount of force. Passenger vehicles usually weigh at least four times the weight of the average motorcycle. Motorcycles also lack the safety features that protect the occupants of passenger vehicles.
Because motorcycles are smaller and less stable than automobiles, irregularities and sudden objects in the roadway can cause a motorcycle to have an accident. The driver of a car may barely notice things like uneven road surfaces, gravel on pavement, and railway tracks. However, motorcyclists must always be on high alert for these common road hazards.
Lane splitting involves a motorcycle weaving between lanes of stopped or slowly moving traffic. Lane splitting is a common cause of motorcycle accidents because cars are not expecting a motorcycle to pass them in this manner. Furthermore, there is little or no space for a motorcycle to maneuver to avoid an accident when weaving between cars. Lane splitting is illegal in Louisiana, and a lane-splitting motorcyclist is likely to be held liable for any accident they cause.
Operating any motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication is not only extremely dangerous, but also against the law. According to the NHTSA, 27% of motorcyclists killed in fatal accidents in 2020 were impaired by alcohol. A motorcyclist is considered impaired when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
The NHTSA reports that speeding was a contributing factor in 32% of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2020. Compare that to speeding being a factor in only 18% of fatal auto accidents. Motorcycles are harder to control at high speeds. Moreover, it is more difficult for other motorists to gauge the speed of an oncoming motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed
Steps to take after a Motorcycle accident in Baton Rouge
It is common to experience shock, emotional distress, or an adrenaline rush after being involved in a motorcycle accident. But during these times, knowing what you should do to protect your legal and financial interests is important.
- Call 911: If you or anyone else involved in the accident has been injured, call 911 for medical assistance.
- Get a Police Report: If no one needs immediate medical assistance, you should still call the police and request that an officer come to the scene to create a police report. Be sure to get a copy of the report when it is available.
- Collect Information: Whether the police arrive at the scene of the accident or not, collect the insurance information for everyone involved and the names and phone numbers of all witnesses.
- Get Checked Out by a Doctor: If you are not taken to an emergency room from the scene of the accident, seek medical treatment on your own as soon as possible. Get checked out by a doctor even if you feel fine.
- Contact Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company and provide the details and documentation necessary to start a claim. However, refrain from discussing the accident with the other parties involved or their insurance company.
- Contact a Qualified Lawyer: Contact a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you pursue a motorcycle accident claim and maximize the compensation you recover for your injuries and other losses.
Hire Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers to Help with Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Baton Rouge, reach out to our experienced Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyers. We will investigate the accident, communicate with the liable insurance company on your behalf, and help you recover all the compensation you are entitled to receive.
At Dudley DeBosier, every prospective client gets a free case assessment. We love to help people protect their future and get what they deserve. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation.
This content has been reviewed by the Baton Rouge Dudley DeBosier office.
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