Riding a motorcycle is more than a habit or a means of transportation for many people. It is a way of life. However, when it comes to motorcycle crashes, things are not looking great. In comparison to vehicular collisions, which result in injury and death in about twenty percent of the cases, motorcycle crashes lead to injury and fatalities in eighty percent of the time. Today we will discuss some prevention methods regarding the prevention of such terrible accidents and the means of recovery you have at your disposal.
Top Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
When it comes to prevention, knowing the causes that could lead to a crash is mandatory. According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the two leading causes of motorcycle crashes continue to be speeding and alcohol consumption. Moreover, the NHTSA identified some other factors that contribute to such accidents and fatalities:
- Weather conditions: while most bikers know how to protect themselves while riding their motorcycle in the winter, a large majority overestimates its capabilities and become reckless when the weather seems to be just fine for a ride. For this reason, most crashes occur in cloudy/clear conditions than in rain or fog conditions.
- Lack of experience: according to the NHTSA data, inexperienced bikers are more likely to experience severe or fatal crashes.
- Mechanical failures: inexperienced riders, failing to understand the operating characteristics of a motorcycle or control possible mechanical failures, are more likely to become victims of crashes;
- Lack of proper protective gear or DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets: needless to say, the protective equipment is there for a reason. Riding a bike without proper protection increases the chances of grave injuries and death.
- Disregard of circulation rules or lack of traffic alertness: the NHTSA warns that over a third of all motorcycle crashes occur in intersections, where collisions with other vehicles are more likely to happen. Paying attention to everything that is going on in a crossroad is mandatory, regardless of anyone’s experience riding a bike.
- Age of the rider – medical researchers found significant differences in injury patterns among older and younger motorcycle users.
Most Common Motorcycle Crash Injuries
Riding a bike has plenty of advantages in comparison to driving a car. Besides the “coolness” factor, motorcycles consume less gas than cars, are easier to park in the city, and allow people more freedom of movement in crowded urban settings. On the other hand, riding a bike requires more skills and coordination than driving a car. What is more important is that motorcycles do not come with a host of protective elements as cars do (from seatbelts and airbags to electric braking systems and assisted navigation). From a medical and even legal point of view, motorcyclists expose themselves to increased risks of severe injuries. Here are the most common ones:
- Broken bones – according to statistics, the most massive percent of non-fatal injuries related to a motorcycle crash involve the lower extremities (foot and leg);
- Chest and abdominal trauma;
- Head and neck injuries that can further lead to traumatic brain injuries with long-lasting effects;
- Road rash – one of the most common injuries occurring in motorcyclists that do not wear enough protective gear. Road rash occurs when the rider slides across the pavement and sustains severe trauma caused by the pavement scraping their bodies. We are not talking about scars and bruises, but muscular tissue scrapes and ruptures, skin infections, surface nerve damage, etc.
- Spinal cord injuries – more often than not, they lead to temporary or permanent paralysis or even death.
- Many seasoned bikers have fallen or experienced minor motorcycle accidents. However, nobody wants to be among those who suffer permanent damages in a crash. Besides significant health risks and disabilities, a severe accident could lead to your losing your ability to perform in a line of work, lose wages, need expensive and complicated medical interventions, etc.
How to Prevent Motorcycle Crashes
The issue with motorcycle crashes – and all vehicular crashes for that matter – is that the insurance companies will always try to minimize the damage or place the blame for the accident more on your side.
Even if it was not your fault and you were the victim of another party’s negligence, insurance companies will frown upon reimbursing you for any losses you suffered because of the accident. For this reason, you need immediate help for motorcycle crash injuries from a personal injury attorney. You can have a case if you show ironclad proof that you took all possible precautions before, during, and after you rode your bike. An accident lawyer can help you receive the proper compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering, whether it includes medical bills, health recovery programs, motorcycle replacement or repairs, lost wages, and more.
To make sure you do not suffer a motorcycle crash or you receive the proper compensation in case another at-fault entity caused your injuries, here are the things you always need to do!
1. Familiarize yourself with your new ride
No matter how much experience you have, a new motorcycle comes with technical characteristics you need to know and control to a tee. You need to adjust your riding style to the new “beast,” so it is generally a good idea to engage in a few test runs at low speeds and in safe environments before you take it for a real ride in the city or on the open road.
2. Always check your bike before you leave the house
According to the NHTSA, one of the first things you need to do before you take the bike out for a ride is to make sure it works properly. Here is the minimal checkup you need to perform:
- Check tire pressure and tread depth;
- Look for any oil or gas leaks;
- Verify all other fluid levels;
- Check hand and foot brakes;
- Test the headlights and signal indicators;
- Make suspension and tire pressure adjustments in case you carry a load;
- Secure and balance any cargo you might take.
3. Follow the ATGATT Biker’s Mantra
ATGATT stands for All The Gear, All The Time, and is a rule all bikers should follow. You may not like wearing bikers’ jackets, trousers, boots, and gloves all the time, especially in the summer, but you don’t have another choice. Severe injuries and death are the risks you carry with you every time you ride your motorcycle.
4. Helmet, Helmet, Helmet
DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets are those that come with official recognition of meeting the safety standards imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Wearing non-compliant helmets might protect your health and life to some extent, but you should invest in the compliant ones like these lightweight carbon options. Since most motorcycle crashes result in some skull damage, you should not ever trade your future for the money you save on low-quality helmets. Also, it would be best to invest in those with visors to protect your face from bugs, dust, and everything else that can affect your vision while riding.
5. Do Not Drink Alcohol
Since alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of motorcycle crashes, avoiding drinking even the tiniest drop of liquor before your ride your bike will most likely keep you safe and even save other peoples’ lives.
6. Stay Safe in Traffic at All Times
The NHTSA recommends all motorcycle riders to share the road with others in safe conditions, avoid speeding, keeping a watchful stance at all times, make themselves visible, and respect all traffic rules and regulations.
Thousands of motorcyclists die on the road, and tens of thousands suffer injuries every year. It is not hard to avoid crashes when you know the causes, the risks you expose yourself to, and the minimal prevention methods at hand. Ensure your health, the safety of your passengers, and, most importantly, your life and the wellbeing of others.