It’s the weekend, and there’s no better time to take the motorcycle out for a spin. The wind in your hair, the trees and cars rushing past you, the hum of the engine. It’s exhilarating and freeing, but it’s also dangerous. With no protection save for the gear and clothes you wear, crashes happen often to motorcycle drivers. The injuries sustained from these crashes can range anywhere from mild to severe to life ending. When we’re out on the road on our bikes, we need to understand the risk we put ourselves in, and make sure we take the necessary precautions to avoid any possible accidents.
There’s good reason why motorcyclists should learn the most common causes of motorcycle accidents: “On average, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than people in a passenger car to die in a car crash per mile traveled. They are also five times as likely to suffer an injury.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that 5,014 motorcyclists in 2019 were killed accidents, which makes up fourteen percent of traffic fatalities.
What are the leading causes of Mississippi motorcycle accidents?
It’s important to know what causes motorcycle accidents. Whether it’s a slippery road or a distracted driver in a four door sedan, there are many reasons a crash may happen.
The number one cause of motorcycle accidents is the inability of other drivers to notice motorcycles while on the road. “The limited visibility due to the bikes’ small size can make it hard for even the most attentive driver to see a motorcycle coming. It can be hard to see a motorcycle on the road due to glare or being obstructed by something else on the road and just flat out not paying attention.”
If a driver cannot see a motorcyclist in their side-view mirrors, around a corner, beside another vehicle, etc, then they cannot plan to avoid hitting one.
A few other common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Left-hand turns by other vehicles. One of the most common types of accidents, these occur when vehicles are turning left without considering the motorcyclists nearby.
- Road hazards. Road hazards can include obstacles such as potholes, construction materials, parts of cars, spills, and so forth. These sorts of impediments can be very dangerous for motorcyclists to maneuver.
- Weather conditions. Conditions such as rain, sleet, and snow can make for dangerous roads, highways and bridges becoming very slick. With cars around them, motorcyclists need to be wary not only of the road and weather, but those around them who are having a difficult time on the road as well.
- Lane splitting. This accident happens with motorcyclists weaving in between traffic, regardless of any marked lanes. This sort of action reduces the room to maneuver, and with possible negligent drivers around them, it can be extremely dangerous.
- Head-on collisions. These are extremely dangerous, and can lead to severe injuries. Oftentimes, these crashes lead to fatalities.
Injuries from motorcycle accidents
The sorts of injuries a motorcyclist may obtain from an accident can be quite severe, depending on the sort of protection and clothes he or she may be wearing. These injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Severe road rash
- Brain trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Chest trauma
- Abdominal injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of limb
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
These injuries can lead to a short healing period, or a long and painful one. It’s important for motorcyclists to wear protective gear like helmets and thick clothing such as leather jackets, pants, boots and gloves. “NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 749 lives could have been saved (latest data available).”
For every 100 motorcyclists who were in a crash, and died because of the lack of a helmet, 37 of those motorcyclists could still be alive today had they worn a helmet. It’s also important that you wear high visibility clothes, such as bright colors or reflective patches so that the other drivers around you can see you. When changing lanes, make sure you are indicating properly and gradually.
And while all this protective gear is an added expense, it’s far more tolerable than having to deal with the cost of the hospital bills you’ll have to pay if you find yourself in a motorcycle accident.
What should I do if I’m in a motorcycle accident?
The very first thing you should do is seek medical assistance. Even if you “feel fine,” motorcycle wrecks can cause severe bodily trauma. A punctured lung or other organ can lead to internal bleeding, which can be deadly. A case of road rash can allow debris to enter your bloodstream, leading to a life-threatening infection. Getting help should be your top priority.
Once you have seen a doctor, it’s time to call a lawyer. There may be multiple liable parties in your case, and insurance companies are notorious for trying to deny the full damages you are entitled to receive for your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Motorcyclists put themselves at great risk when going out on the road, but the reward is often worth it. Still, you can be critically injured in a wreck with another vehicle or biker. Make sure you have an attorney who understands what is at stake. Call Merkel & Cocke, P.A. at 662-627-961, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We maintain offices in Jackson, Greenville, Clarksdale and Oxford, and serve clients throughout Mississippi.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.