Motorcycle Accidents and Safety

In November of 2014, a motorcyclist was killed when he collided with an SUV in Nether Providence, Delaware County. The deadly crash occurred at the intersections of Providence Road and Wallingford Avenue in the early evening. At the time that this accident was reported, there was no official report as to the cause of the accident. However, when there is an accident involving a motorcycle and a car, SUV or truck, the motorcyclist is likely to be seriously injured. The shear difference in weight and size of the vehicles puts the motorcyclist at a disadvantage – the average motorcycle weighs 700 pounds while the average weight of an SUV is 7500 pounds. Pennsylvania law doesn’t require motorcycle operators who are 21 and older to wear helmets. If you are 21 and older and have either completed a motorcycle rider safety course (approved by the PA Department of Motor Vehicles or Motorcycle Safety Foundation) or have been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least two years, then only eye protection is required.

Motorcycles Provide Little Protection

Pennsylvania helmet lawThousands of motorcyclists are injured and killed each year. Because motorcycles provide the driver with little physical protection during accidents, when a motorcyclist is in an accident, there is a good chance that the motorcyclist will suffer a serious injury. One of the most common types of injuries suffered by motorcyclists is a head injury. Head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. Helmet use is an important way to prevent a serious head injury. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets reduce the likelihood of a crash fatality by 37%. Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use. New Jersey is one of those states. Delaware requires a helmet to be in the rider’s possession.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Motorcycle accident statistics are startling. In 2013, 4,381 people were killed in motorcycle accidents, accounting for 13% of all motor vehicle deaths. Pennsylvania accounted for 175 of those deaths. For more Pennsylvania accident statistics, check out http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/pdBHSTE.nsf/BHSTEHomepage?OpenFrameset Although there has been a slight decline in motorcycle fatalities since 2009, the number of fatalities in 2013 was double the number in 1997 when there were only 2,116. Other statistics compiled by the NHTSA include:
  • Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to die in an accident on the road than those in cars
  • 11% of all vehicle accidents involve motorcycles
  • A motorcyclist not wearing a helmet is 40% more likely to die of a head injury and 15% more likely to suffer a nonfatal injury.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Just like any vehicle accident, a motorcycle accident can be caused by a number of different factors, including negligence on the part of the motorcyclist. However, where there is an accident involving a car and a motorcycle, 60% of such accidents is the fault of the driver of the car. The most common cause of motorcycle-car collisions is when a car turns right in front of a motorcycle. There are, however, several precautions that both motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles can take to reduce the likelihood of a motorcycle accident. tips for drivers and motorcycles Tips for motorcyclists:
  • Always wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards, and make sure that the helmet fits snugly
  • Follow the rules of the road, including driving at or below the speed limit and not tailgating
  • Use turn signals
  • Do not weave through traffic or drive on the shoulder
  • Make sure other drivers can see you and avoid blind spots
Tips for car drivers:
  • Always look twice when changing lanes as it is easy to miss a motorcycle
  • Signal lane changes and turns
  • Avoid letting motorcycles stay in your blind spot
  • Leave extra room between your car and the motorcycle

Help for Victims of Motorcycle Accidents

deadly motorcycle accidentIf a motorcyclist is injured in an accident due to the negligence of another driver, the motorcyclist may be able to recover damages for losses that result through a personal injury lawsuit. Compensable losses include property loss, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Furthermore, if a loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, family members may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. A personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit based on a motorcycle accident can be complicated and emotionally difficult. If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Donaghue & Labrum, who will review the facts of your case and deliver top-notch representation through this difficult period.