Basic Overview of Motorcycle Accidents and Laws in DC

The biggest difference between car and motorcycle accidents is the fatality rate. With motorcycle accidents the statistics are very high in terms of fatal crashes, as opposed to cars. There’s a significantly higher fatality rate per unit of distance traveled as well, where some statistics say that the risk of a fatal crash is 35 times greater for a motorcyclist than for a passenger in a car.  The motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash, and statistics indicate that 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, whereas a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20%. So, when a motorcycle is involved, the distinct difference is in the severity of injury which makes it important that the injured party consults with a DC motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

An attorney will be able to look at the facts regarding the accident and advise the injured party on how to go about filing a claim. If you have been injured call today and schedule a free consultation.

Laws Governing Motorcycle Riders

Motorcycle drivers are governed by the same motor vehicle laws that car drivers have to adhere to, although there are some differences. You get a special license for operating a motorcycle as opposed to a vehicle, and there are certain equipment and safety issues that are different with a motorcycle. 75% of motorcycle accidents involved a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle, whereas the other 25% were single motorcycle accidents. In the vast majority of motorcycle accidents, motorcyclists are involved with other vehicles.

In two-thirds of those accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle’s right of way and caused the accident. So, motorcycle accidents are largely the result of vehicle motorists failing to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic. Cars usually win out even when they don’t yield the right of way, or when they don’t see the motorcyclist and make an unsafe lane change. They don’t see the motorcycle. It’s a perception failure on the part of the car operator, because if they don’t hear the motorcycle they may not be looking out for it, and when they are looking, they’re more likely to be looking for another car than a motorcycle.

Damages in Motorcycle Accidents

Well, just by sheer size of the vehicle versus the motorcycle, the motorcycle itself and the motorcyclist are not going to fare well in an accident. In terms of injuries sustained, clearly fatality is much higher in motorcycle accidents than vehicle accidents. Where fatality is not involved, the injuries are much more serious, usually resulting in concussions and brain damage, breaking of bones, injury to joints, particularly in the shoulder and pelvic areas, and skin and muscle damage from road rash caused by the body sliding across the surface of the road, since there’s nothing to protect the motorcyclist once they’re thrown off the bike. There’s also an injury known as the biker’s arm where nerves in the arm are damaged and can cause paralysis.

Because there is little to no protection offered by the motorcycle itself, any collision is a much more serious situation for a motorcyclist. Things that motorcyclists can do to try to avoid being struck by a car include using headlamps to help vehicles see them, wearing high visibility jackets that are bright in color like orange or yellow, and of course very defensive driving by the motorcyclist to keep enough distance from vehicles, and being aware of the sight problem that car operators can experience when on the highway with motorcycles.

Therefore if injured in an accident it is important to consult with a DC motorcycle injury lawyer as no one should have to face these serious injuries alone. Call today.