Few vehicles offer the thrill — and the risk — of motorcycles. There’s a special sense of adventure in experiencing the open road, wind at your back, from the seat of a chopper. But with the allure of motorcycles comes a potentially tragic downside: the possibility of a life-altering accident.
Louisiana Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcycle accidents occur no more frequently than car accidents, but they’re more likely to lead to significant injury or death of the rider. Motorcycle riders are approximately 26 times more likely to be killed in a crash than someone riding in a car, and they’re five times more likely to be hurt.
The same freedom that draws many riders to motorcycles also puts them in a perilous situation — without the protection of a car, they’re more exposed to road hazards and dangerous moves by other drivers. In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents that involve another vehicle, the other driver caused the crash after intruding into the motorcyclist’s right of way.
While fatalities in crashes involving cars and light trucks have decreased in recent years, the number of motorcyclists killed in accidents has doubled. If you’re in an accident as a motorcycle rider, it’s critical that you and your loved ones understand your rights under the law and take the proper steps to receive compensation for your injuries.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Most experienced motorcycle riders are responsible and take the proper precautions, including using a helmet. If you don’t wear a helmet, though, you should know that laws in many states require riders to wear one. In Louisiana, all motorcycle riders — including those riding low-powered cycles — must wear helmets. When purchasing a helmet, look for one with a U.S. Department of Transportation label, which indicates adherence to federal safety guidelines.
In addition, motorcyclists should be aware of the following common causes of accidents involving motorcycles:
- Hazards on the road, including potholes, debris and uneven pavement.
- The tendency of the front end of motorcycles to become unstable and shake at high speeds. Poor tire alignment can play a role, but a motorcycle manufacturer also may bear responsibility for injuries that result from the problem.
- Inexperienced riders.
- The difficulty of seeing motorcycles for other drivers. The view of motorcycles can be blocked by other vehicles, weather conditions and other factors. About 70 percent of collisions involving cars and motorcycles happen in intersections, where visibility can be especially poor.
- Cars making left turns, which account for more than 40 percent of accidents between a car and motorcycle.
How Motorcycle Riders Can Reduce Risk
Although most motorcycle accidents are caused by operators of other types of vehicles, motorcyclists can take steps to reduce their risk or injury or death on the road. If you ride regularly, consider taking the following actions:
- Always wear your helmet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that helmets have repeatedly been shown to reduce head trauma in accidents.
- Don’t drink. Driving a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol is illegal and magnifies the risk of injury or death.
- Wear clothing that provides protection. Sunglasses or goggles, gloves, boots, long pants and a jacket provide the best protection should you be thrown from your bike and come in contact with the pavement. Choose materials like leather that resist abrasion, and make sure clothes fit you well; loose clothing can block your vision. Wear bright colors to increase your visibility to other drivers.
- Be aware of your experience and skill level on the road, and seek professional training if needed.
- Keep your motorcycle in good running order.
- Stay in your lane. Motorists in other vehicles can be surprised by a motorcycle in their lane, and a vehicle that drifts or changes lanes suddenly can spell disaster for a motorcycle rider.
Work with an Experienced Monroe Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident — or if you are the loved one of someone who has been killed in such an accident — it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney. Receiving sound counsel from an attorney experienced in motorcycle accidents is a vital step toward being compensated for your injuries. To speak with an attorney now, contact J. Antonio Tramontana, Attorney at Law, at 318-340-1515.