On October 1, 2015 WDTV unfortunately reported an instance of a motorcycle rider sustaining fatal injuries after a collision with another car.
In the United States, the 4 million registered motorcycles make up 2% of the registered vehicles on the road. However, 5% of all road fatalities are motorcyclists (NHTSA). This is clearly disproportionate, and the important question to ask is why this is the case?
In 2013 there were 24 motorcycle fatalities in the state of West Virginia alone (GHSA). There are several explanations of why 80% of all motorcycle crashes result in either injury or death, as noted by the NHTSA. However, the main reason is that motorcycles offer little to no protection to the rider in the event of a collision. In fact, motorcyclists involved in an accident will more likely than not be making direct contact with the car or the ground as a result. This alone increases the chances of sustaining life threatening injuries. In addition, the victims of motorcycle accidents will more than likely have tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical expenses, if not more due to the nature of the accident.
In many instances of a collision between a motorcycle and automobile, the cause of the accident can be attributed to the fact that many drivers do not see the motorcycle. Therefore, drivers need to be extra vigilant and cautious to avoid causing an accident with a motorcycle rider. NHTSA provides these suggestions for drivers to prevent a collision with a motorcycle, “Safe-riding practices, helmet use and cooperation from all drivers will reduce fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways”:
- Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
- Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives you more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
There is no such thing as a small motorcycle accident. While drivers should exercise added vigilance to prevent motorcycle fatalities, motorcyclists should also take the necessary precautions on the road and make sure to receive the proper training. By abiding by the rules of the road and staying aware of changings conditions we could see a major reduction in the numbers of motorcycle fatalities.
Colombo Law proudly represents the victims of motorcycle accidents in West Virginia. If you or a loved one has suffered harm from a motorcycle collision that is the fault of a car or a truck driver, call us at Colombo Law. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys will conduct a free consultation concerning the accident.