Just How Dangerous Are Motorcycles When Compared to Cars?
In a recent year in the U.S., 5,932 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities, as stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An estimated 82,686 motorcyclists were injured, a 5% increase from the previous year. Per vehicle miles traveled, the fatality rate for motorcyclists was almost twenty-four times the death rate for occupants of passenger vehicles.
Motorcycles vs. Cars
By design, motorcycles are inherently far less crashworthy than enclosed vehicles, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). They are smaller, lighter, less visible, and less stable than four-wheeled cars. Riders are more vulnerable to weather conditions and road hazards than passenger vehicle occupants. Safely operating a motorcycle requires different mental and physical skills than those required for driving cars and trucks.
Vulnerability of Motorcyclists
Riders are more vulnerable to injury than occupants of passenger vehicles. They have far more direct exposure to the elements. They lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, including crumple zones, seatbelts, and airbags. When a collision occurs, the rider will likely be ejected from the bike, fly through the air, and be injured upon landing. They may be thrown into traffic, where further injuries can occur. In a collision between a 4,000 lb passenger vehicle and a motorcycle, the rider is more likely to sustain severe or fatal injuries.
Factors Contributing to Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle crashes can occur for a number of reasons. Some of the most significant contributing factors include:
- Reduced visibility to other drivers: Motorcycles are much smaller than passenger vehicles. Drivers accustomed to watching for cars and trucks may fail to see or register a motorcycle in the roadway. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers turning left at intersections who turn directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Unsafe lane changes are another common cause of motorcycle crashes. Drivers who fail to carefully check their blind spots before switching lanes can collide with motorcycles they fail to see.
- Limited protection in collisions: For protection in a crash, motorcyclists mainly have only helmets and gear. As they lack the stability of four-wheeled vehicles, motorcycles can lose traction and crash due to rain, snow, ice, loose gravel, and other weather and road hazards. Rear-end collisions at relatively low speeds may qualify as fender benders when they involve two cars. When a motorcycle is rear-ended by a passenger vehicle, it can be fatal for the rider.
- High speeds and quick acceleration: Acceleration rate is part of the thrill of riding. Motorcycles can quickly accelerate to highway speeds and stop in no time compared to passenger vehicles. Speed is a significant factor in motorcycle crashes. The faster a rider is traveling, the more difficult it is to take turns or stop safely, and the less time they must react to obstacles in the road.
Establishing Liability in Houston Motorcycle Accidents
If someone else caused your motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and should consult with a knowledgeable Houston motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. At DK Law, we come from a motorcycle-loving culture and have a thorough understanding of motorcycle accidents. Your attorney can investigate your crash to determine fault and establish liability, secure evidence to support your claim, calculate the full extent of your damages, and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.
We’re Here to Help if You Were Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
At DK Law, our Texas legal team works closely with respected specialists in motorcycle accidents and injuries, including trauma doctors, neurologists, chiropractors, forensic engineers, motorcycle mechanics, and accident reconstruction analysts. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to get compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Contact us at (281) 402-8856 to schedule your free consultation today.