Motorcycle accident cases are a complex and uniquely challenging subset of personal injury auto accidents.
Like auto accidents involving cars, motorcycle accident cases usually involve multiple insurance companies with different types of coverage and on-the-scene evidence including skid marks, vehicle damage and debris. However, in many cases the similarity stops there. Here are five ways that motorcycle accidents differ from other auto accidents.
- Type and Severity of Injuries
One area of difference is that motorcycle accidents are far more likely to involve catastrophic injuries like limb amputations, severe disfigurement, brain damage, paralysis and death. In fact, in 2017, motorcycle riders who were involved in an accident were 27 times more likely to die than their counterparts riding in a car.
- Lane Splitting
Another area in which motorcycle accidents differ is that they may involve lane splitting. Lane splitting is a dangerous practice where a motorcyclist passes passenger cars without moving into an adjacent lane. Officially, lane splitting is the third most likely cause of motorcycle accidents after speeding and drunk driving. Lane splitting is illegal in Florida.
- Visibility Issues
Motorcycle accidents are often the result of visibility issues such as vehicle blind spots, distracted drivers or simply the drivers of trucks and passenger cars not noticing a motorcycle while effectively looking right at it. This form of negligence and fault on the part of the other driver is a major factor in deciding the compensation to the motorcyclist.
- Emergency Stops
Emergency stop accidents are another unique issue that occurs with motorbikes. This is when a motorcyclist suddenly applies the breaks. Motorcyclists, unlike people in a car, are not strapped into the seat with a seat belt. This means that the forward momentum in the motorcyclists body can propel the rider forward over the handlebars and into the object or space that caused the rider to break in the first place.
“Motorcyclists, unlike people in a car, are not strapped into the seat with a seat belt.”
- The Inexperience Factor
Inexperience is far more likely to result in an accident and injury in a motorcycle than it can in a passenger car. This is due to the lack of physical protection to the driver of a motorcycle and the fact that much more physical skill and experience is needed to manage left-hand turns, roundabouts and controlling the motorbike at slow speeds. Inexperienced riders are more likely to “drop” the bike on one side or the other during one of these maneuvers. This makes riding riskier for beginners and for nearby pedestrians and others in vehicles.
6. Ineffective Protective Gear
Motorcyclists often wear protective gear such as helmets, gloves, and jackets. While these can mitigate injuries, they may not provide the same level of protection as the safety features in cars.
7. Single-Vehicle Accidents
Motorcycles are more prone to single-vehicle accidents, where the rider loses control without the involvement of another vehicle. Factors like road conditions and rider error can contribute to these incidents.
8. Weather Impact
Weather conditions have a more direct impact on motorcyclists. Rain, flooding and strong winds can make riding more challenging, affecting visibility and road grip.
9. Road Hazards
Motorcyclists are more affected by road hazards like potholes, debris, and uneven surfaces. What might be a minor inconvenience for a car can pose a more significant risk for a motorcyclist.
10. Impact of Protective Barriers
In most car accidents, the vehicle itself acts as a protective barrier for occupants. The enclosed structure, airbags, and safety features contribute to reducing the severity of injuries. On the contrary, motorcyclists lack these protective barriers. In the event of a collision, they are more directly exposed to the impact, and in almost every case can be thrown from the motorcycle leading to a higher risk of severe or lethal injury.
Each one of the items in the list above highlights the vulnerability of motorcyclists and emphasizes the importance of defensive riding, proper gear, and adherence to safety regulations to mitigate the risks associated with the lack of protections inherent in motorcycles.
Have you or a loved one been injured while riding a motorcycle or by someone riding a motorcycle? If so, call the personal injury offices of South Florida Law on (954) 900-8885 or reach out to us via our contact form.