Article provided by Phillips & Lyon. Please visit our Web site at www.phillipsandlyon.com.
With the costs of operating a car or truck growing, many people are now using a motorcycle as their primary means of transportation. But there are many risks involved in doing so. Motorcycle accidents can be extremely serious. Unlike cars or trucks, the lack of seatbelts or outside protection on motorcycles makes motorcyclists extremely vulnerable if involved in an accident. While experienced motorcyclists are usually aware of these risks, the actions of negligent motorists sometimes make accidents unavoidable.
Hazards of Being a Motorcyclist
According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatalities involving motorcyclists increase each year. This is largely due to the growing number of people who are choosing a motorcycle as their preferred means of transportation. In 2007, 5,154 people died in motorcycle accidents compared to 4,837 in 2006. Operating a motorcycle at night can also be dangerous, as reduced visibility on the part of the rider contributes to as much as 60 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities.
In the end, many of the hazards of riding a motorcycle involve the weather, road conditions and traffic conditions. A motorcycle also has limited braking and steering ability, especially when avoiding a collision. The most difficult challenge motorcycle riders have to face, however, is the ultimate inability to predict what a negligent vehicle or truck driver may do at any time.
Much smaller than cars or trucks, motorcycles are simply more difficult to see. Buildings situated beside roads, pedestrians, signs and other vehicles further interfere with the visibility of a motorcyclist to other drivers on the road. This inability to see a motorcyclist is one of the leading causes of accidents. In fact, 70 per cent of motorcycle accidents occur around intersections. Inattentive drivers, drivers under the influence of alcohol, and those who drive at high speeds or otherwise drive carelessly put motorcyclists at risk.
Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents
Protective clothing and helmets are the only protection a motorcyclist has. With no air bags, no side protection air bags, no metal frame to protect them, motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable. It isn't uncommon for motorcyclists to suffer serious and life-threatening injuries — sometimes even death — in accidents that automobile drivers would walk away from.
Minor accidents may see a motorcyclist suffer from lacerations and broken bones. Major accidents pose the threat of greater injuries, such as major soft tissue damage, multiple fractures and serious road rash. Head trauma — from colliding with the highway, another vehicle or even a part of one's own motorcycle — can lead to debilitating brain injuries, requiring lifelong care and rehabilitation.
Spinal cord injuries are also common to victims of serious motorcycle accidents, and may forever affect a person's quality of life and mobility, leading to paraplegia or quadriplegia.
Unfortunately, the injuries sustained through motorcycle accident can be severe and sometimes fatal. For those who survive a motorcycle accident, surgery and life long-term rehabilitation may be required to repair damage caused by an accident that could have been prevented.