From speeding and alcohol use to motorcycle lane splitting, motorcycle accidents have a multitude of causes. Sustained injuries can range from mere bruises to fatalities. Often the most common injuries involve broken bones or neck and head trauma.
Protective apparel and gear, such as helmets, can minimize or help protect riders. However, accident victims shouldn’t hesitate to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer to advise them.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Most motorcycle accidents involved a collision with a moving motor vehicle— 56 percent of all fatalities resulting from multi-vehicle accidents. Here are several common causes.
Cars Making Left-Hand Turns
Approximately 24 percent of all motorcycle crashes that occurred in 2018 in Arizona resulted from vehicles making left-hand turns. Sometimes other drivers fail to see motorcyclists due to distracted driving. Other times it could be because of a blind spot. In fact, the majority of motorcycle accidents are the result of other driver’s actions.
Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Often when traffic stalls, motorcyclists drive between lanes of traffic. This action can lead to more accidents as cars don’t expect to see other vehicles passing them in stopped or slow-moving traffic. Additionally, there is a smaller space, which leaves less margin for error.
Speeding & Alcohol Use
Upwards of 25 percent of all fatal crashes occurring in 2018 in Arizona involved a person under the influence of alcohol. Add to that number the folks who were under the influence of illegal drugs, and you get 38.37 percent—a significant percentage of all fatal crashes.
Speeding, both by motorcyclists and other drivers, is also a significant factor in motorcycle crashes. Accidents can occur when someone loses control on a tight turn or tries to weave in and out of traffic, passing quickly, and doesn’t see the other driver.
Lastly, because motorcyclists are not inside of a metal box, like other drivers, they are often at higher risk. Without the buffer of a car or truck, hazards on the road can be more dangerous, as can fixed objects.
Most Common Injuries Due to a Motorcycle Accident
Several types of injuries are frequently seen in motorcycle accidents.
Head or Neck Injuries
Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries can have long-lasting effects on drivers and passengers. Head injuries are especially dangerous for those who choose to ride without a helmet.
Broken bones are common injuries for motorcyclists. Often a motorcyclist will fling their arms forward to catch themselves as they fall, which is a natural response. However, it can result in fractures.
Road rash occurs when skin scrapes against another object— usually the roadway. Asphalt, cobblestone, dirt, and gravel all leave small abrasions on impact. One way to mitigate road rash is to wear appropriate and protective gear, such as knee sliders and gloves. Thicker clothes will also help with protection.
Motorcycle Fatality Statistics
Although Arizona motorcycle fatalities rates decreased from 2017’s high of 161 to 150 in 2018, that number is still higher than years prior. During weekdays, crash rates are highest at 5:00 pm. Alcohol-linked accidents (and fatalities) occur at the highest frequency on Saturdays. Men are involved in fatal accidents more often than women.
Helmet Use in Fatality Statistics
In all Arizona motorcycle accidents in 2018, only 23.3 percent of motorcycle operators who were wearing a helmet experienced a suspected severe or fatal injury, in contrast to 36.1 percent of those not wearing a helmet. Those numbers are compelling. With a helmet, riders experienced an incapacitating injury or a fatal injury 22.46 percent of the time. Without a helmet, those numbers jumped to 34.30 percent of the time.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, motorcycle helmets save an estimated 1,859 lives each year. Not all states require that riders wear a helmet. Although Arizona law strongly encourages helmet-use, it does not mandate that anyone over the age of 18 wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
Preventing Motorcycle Accidents
Protective gear can help reduce the damage motorcyclists experience in an accident. However, the National Safety Council recommends motorcyclists take several actions to protect themselves.
Some focus on making motorists more visible, such as:
Other recommendations are behavior-focused:
Many factors contribute to the high percentage of motorcycle fatalities annually. They include alcohol use, lack of protective clothing, and other drivers’ poor decisions.
Determining liability and navigating the insurance claims world can be tricky without experienced legal help. Due to the often-severe nature of motorcycle accidents in Arizona, it’s recommended victims work with a qualified motorcycle accident attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another, call The Saavedra Law Firm for your free consultation at (602) 753-8917. We’ll fight to get you the highest compensation, and you will pay nothing unless you win.
14001 N 7th St, Suite B-104
Phoenix, AZ 85022