As spring gives way to summer, hundreds of riders are hopping on the backs of their motorcycles to enjoy the scenery and open roads of the Pacific Northwest. While the vast majority of these riders will have a safe and memorable time, injury statistics put them in a high-risk group of being involved in an serious or fatal accident.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This is a time to remind all motorists, both drivers and motorcyclists, of safe driving practices. Watch out for each other and share the road. It’s important to be aware of the safety of others around you. Our team at Herrmann Law Group would like to share common causes of motorcycle accidents and what to do in the event of an accident.
Understanding Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you are 28 times more likely to die in an auto accident if you’re on a motorcycle compared to a vehicle. This is due to the compact size, nature and the lack of protection that motorcycles provide.
In 2016, there were 537 reported motorcycle-related fatalities in the state of Washington. This averages out to about 1.5 people dying every day for the entire year in our state alone. Of those 537 deaths, 154 of them were due to excessive speed and 161 were due to alcohol impairment. Unfortunately, statistics show that the number of motorcycle accidents in Washington State are increasing every year. This is likely the result of more people riding two-wheeled vehicles.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents, though not necessarily more common than other types of vehicle accidents, can be more devastating for a number of reasons. Even a low speed motorcycle accident can result in a serious injury or fatality.
There are several common causes of motorcycle accidents that can be attributed to both the negligence of the rider and other motorists, including:
Lane splitting: Lane splitting is when a bike drives between two vehicles. Oftentimes, the driver of the vehicle may not see the rider in their blind spot. This is because the bike is smaller than the vehicle and moving much faster than anticipated. Lane splitting is illegal in the United States, with the exception of California.
Alcohol and drugs: Riding a motorcycle while intoxicated or under the influence exponentially increases the risk of an accident. Alcohol and drugs impairs cognitive and motor abilities, while also increases reaction times. In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents.
Manufacturer defects: Motorcycles are highly complicated pieces of machinery. If a bike part is defective, it can cause a chain reaction. This may result in the rider losing control or taking a spill. These defects sometimes go unnoticed—that is until an experienced law firm uncovers them in the course of their fact-finding investigation.
Road hazards: If a driver hit a pothole or other road hazard, they usually feel a jarring “bump” as they drive over it. If a motorcyclist hit a pothole, it can easily cause them to lose balance and crash out of control.
Sudden maneuvers: Motorcycles are small and maneuverable. It can be difficult to respond to a rider’s quick movement. Poor weather, rough road surface, debris or inexperience can easily cause a motorcyclist to fall.
Cars making left-hand turns: Drivers can easily smack head-on into a motorcyclist when making a left-hand turn. This is due to the driver not seeing the motorcyclist.
Motorcycle Injury Attorneys in Tacoma & Seattle, WA
Motorcycle accidents can happen to any motorcyclist, even for the most seasoned riders. The best way to protect yourself this season is to utilize safe riding practices. Be sure to properly inspect and maintain your vehicle and have a trusted law firm on hand in the event of an accident.
At Herrmann Law Group, we’ve developed a reputation for being an experienced and trusted law firm when it comes time to fight for the rights of motorcycle accident victims. We’re fast and fierce in our pursuit to fight against the insurance companies and get the highest settlement amount for our clients.
If you’ve been injured in a Washington motorcycle accident and would like advice on the best way to proceed with your quest for justice, schedule a free consultation with one of our Tacoma or Seattle injury attorneys. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have this riding season.