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.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) keeps detailed records of the number and type of motor vehicle accidents that occur in the state, including motorcycle crashes. In 2021, 2,594 crashes involving motorcycles were reported to ADOT, with 2,052, or about 79%, resulting in injuries. By comparison, there were 121,345 accidents across the state in 2021 involving any type of motor vehicle, but only 35,203, or 29%, resulted in injuries. As this shows, motorcyclists and their passengers in Arizona are more than twice as likely to be injured in an accident than other types of motorists.
Most motorcycle accidents involve a collision with a moving motor vehicle, and in 2021, over 56 percent of all motorcycle fatalities resulted from multi-vehicle accidents. Here are several common causes.
Approximately 29 percent of all motorcycle crashes that occurred in 2021 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 drivers’ actions.
Often when traffic stalls, motorcyclists drive between lanes of traffic. This action can lead to 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.
About 12% of fatal crashes occurring in 2021 in Arizona involved a motorcyclist under the influence of alcohol. Add to that number the riders who were under the influence of illegal drugs, and you get 17% 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.
Because motorcyclists are not inside a metal box, like other drivers, they are often at higher risk for injuries. Without the buffer of a car or truck, hazards on the road can be more dangerous, as can fixed objects. Several types of injuries are frequently seen in motorcycle accidents.
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.
In 2021, there were 161 people killed in Arizona due to motorcycle crashes, which was a minor decrease from 2020, in which there were 160 fatalities. During weekdays, crash rates are highest between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Alcohol-linked accidents (and fatalities) occur at the highest frequency on weekends. Men are involved in fatal accidents more often than women.
In all Arizona motorcycle accidents in 2021, about 27% of motorcycle operators who were wearing a helmet experienced a suspected severe or fatal injury, in contrast to about 38% of those not wearing a helmet. Those numbers are compelling.
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.
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 Saavedra Law Firm for your free consultation at (602) 878-6625. We’ll fight to get you the highest compensation, and you will pay nothing unless you win.
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