Everyone knows that motorcycles can be a dangerous mode of transportation. Due to the speed and relative lack of protection, motorcycle accidents are commonly quite severe. In today’s blog post, brought to you by Fredson Statmore Bitterman LLC in New Jersey, we will be reviewing the top 10 most common types of motorcycle accidents. After covering what those are, we will conclude by going over some measures you can take to avoid ever getting in these situations, not including giving up driving your motorcycle and riding the bus.
If you do end up getting injured in a motorcycle accident, whether temporarily or permanently, it may be worthwhile to reach out to the legal experts at Fredson Statmore Bitterman LLC for advice as to how to proceed with your case. We offer your first consultation free, so contact us today.
Our team of expert lawyers have over 50 years of experience helping clients all over New Jersey with their personal injury claims. Our firm is able to take on cases of all different sizes, and is dedicated to representing you and your interests to insurance companies, courts, and juries alike. We are committed to keeping you caught up each step of the way through your case, as it ensures that we are best meeting your needs regarding your personal injury case.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the result of another party’s negligence or recklessness, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your legal options in a free, confidential consultation with a member of our team.
Motorcycle accidents occur in a number of different types of scenarios. Here are ten:
Driving under the influence is, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a component in roughly 43% of all fatal motorcycle crashes. Driving a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol is very dangerous, and should be avoided as much as possible. When you are under the influence of alcohol on a motorcycle, your reaction time is likely to be lower, as will your ability to focus and react to unexpected obstacles. In an accident, someone who has been drinking may be incapable of acting appropriately to mitigate damages as well, which could mean more severe or even fatal injuries.
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is speeding. The appeal of going fast is obvious, and there’s nothing wrong with putting the pedal to the metal and enjoying a ride. However, speed limits are set for good reason. One reason is that you need enough time to react to obstacles or other accident scenarios, and when you are speeding you are reducing the amount of time you have to respond to dangerous situations. The most common type of motorcycles that get into accidents are high-performance, fast, light-weight ones, as they are designed for speed. Driving the speed limit may sound less fun to those who love seeing how fast their bike can go, but it’s a whole lot safer than speeding. What do you value more: a brief spike in adrenaline, or your safety?
#3: Lane Splitting
A major issue with motorcyclists is splitting the lane. This is where a motorcycle drives in between lines, riding the white line, usually as a way to bypass congested traffic. In some cases, it may be safer than stopping behind a stopped vehicle, but it also can easily lead to an accident, like if a car decides to merge lanes while you’re passing them by in-between lanes. Here in New Jersey, there is no explicit law that addresses lane splitting, however, it is not authorized and you may be cited for failure to keep right when doing it. It’s generally a good idea to avoid splitting lanes, unless for obvious safety reasons.
#4: Left-Turning Accidents
Almost half of all accidents involving cars and motorcycles occur due to a right of way error during a left-turn. When a car makes a left-hand turn in front of a motorcycle, the car may strike the motorcycle when the bike is:
- Passing the car
- Overtaking the car
- Going straight through an intersection
Due to the motorcycle’s relatively small size and lack of protection, it is more dangerous for a motorcycle to get in this kind of accident than it is for two cars. If you have been hit on your motorcycle when a vehicle is making a left-hand turn, the driver of the car will usually be found at fault for the accident, unless you were breaking some other law or driving in an unsafe manner. If you have suffered such an accident, reach out to Fredson Statmore Bitterman LLC in New Jersey to get the legal help you need to get the just compensation you deserve.
#5: Head-On Collision
A head-on collision between a car and a motorcycle can be fatal for the biker. Motorcyclists are about 28 times as likely to die as the result of a traffic crash than a driver in a car. When a head-on collision occurs, it is usually due to a motorcyclist speeding and not being able to respond quickly enough to emergency obstacles due to their reckless driving. It is common for drivers of motorcycles in head-on collisions to be catapulted through the air and then crash hard into the ground or another surface. While wearing a helmet can limit some of the damage, it’s still common for riders to suffer concussions and other types of brain injuries from head-on collisions, if not worse damage or death. This is one more reason for motorcyclists to take heed and DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT!
How to Avoid a Motorcycle Crash
Avoiding getting a motorcycle crash entails maximizing your awareness, ability to anticipate what other drivers are going to do, and wearing the right protective gear. Keep an eye out for things like:
- A car waiting to turn at an intersection — especially left-hand turns
- Drivers doing a quick “look both ways” head-maneuver, indicating that they are about to pull out
- A gap in traffic ahead of you and you see someone waiting to pull in
Your attentiveness is key to keeping you safe in these situations. Other safety tips besides staying alert on the road for avoiding a motorcycle accident are:
#1: Wear a Helmet
This one should be obvious, but many motorcyclists refuse to wear one! However, whether you’re simply going for a drive down the street or going cross country, it doesn’t matter — an accident can occur. In fact, most accidents occur within 5 miles of where you live! Wearing a helmet could just be the thing that makes the difference between a concussion and death. It is good practice to have a spare helmet with you on the motorcycle for potential passengers. It’s also a good idea to avoid buying used motorcycle gear, as it may be damaged already, which you don’t want to learn the hard way.
#2: Avoid Common Mistakes
Common mistakes to avoid include things such as:
- Going to fast around a corner on gravel
- Recklessly endangering your safety by doing unnecessary tricks
- Entering a corner too fast
- Hitting your brakes too quickly and getting rear-ended
- Not signaling
The best way to avoid these mistakes is to be aware of what they are and avoid doing them. Talk with other motorcyclists about what common mistakes new drivers make and ways of staying safe while on the road.
#3: Avoid Sharing Lanes
Just as you would never see two full-sized automobiles driving side-by-side down the interstate or in your neighborhood, it is not always acceptable to do so on a motorcycle either. Yes, your motorcycle is more compact, but it can be a dangerous way to ride. It also is illegal for more than two cycles to be side-by-side in one lane.
#4: Keep Your Motorcycle Well-Maintained
One of the less-talked-about causes of motorcycle accidents is a bike that has been poorly maintained. If the horn doesn’t work, your signal is broken, it doesn’t start up right away, or it turns off randomly while you drive it, this is not a safe motorcycle to take out on the road, and you should work on it or get a mechanic to fix it as soon as possible. Smaller problems can quickly become big ones — or even turn into a fatal accident. A quick walk-around the motorcycle examining the chains, belt, tires, breaks, etc. can be enough to give you the information you need to exercise good judgment and avoid a motorcycle accident.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in New Jersey
In part two of this blog series, we will be looking at five more common types of motorcycle accidents, followed by five more safety tips to help reduce your chances of this happening to you. However, if you do end up in a motorcycle accident, it is important that you understand your legal situation as well as your personal wellbeing.
Fredson Statmore Bitterman LLC is here for you when the worst happens. After you have been in a motorcycle accident, you may have lots of legal questions that you need answered as soon as possible. Our motorcycle accident attorneys are here for you — we offer your first consultation for free, so you can get the answers you need and determine the best course of legal action for your specific situation. Don’t let yourself get taken advantage of by your insurance company; make sure you have legal representation throughout your entire personal injury claim. When it comes to experienced personal injury lawyers, few teams are as experienced as ours at Fredson Statmore Bitterman LLC in New Jersey. We have over 50 years of experience helping people after motorcycle accidents and are confident we will at the very least be able to provide you answers to some very important legal questions surrounding your situation. If you want to learn more about what a motorcycle injury attorney can do to help you recover the funds you deserve, contact us today for your free, confidential consultation!