Bikers know the joy of hitting the open road. There’s nothing quite like climbing on your motorcycle and going for a ride to get a taste of freedom.
If you feel this way when you ride, you’re not alone. Over the past couple of decades, motorcycle riding has increased in popularity. The total vehicle miles traveled on bikes has nearly doubled in that time. Registration for motorcycles has also doubled in the same period.
Motorcycle Injuries Are on the Rise
Sadly, the pleasure of motorcycle riding comes with some sobering facts. Bikers are more prone to injury and death in an accident than people in passenger vehicles. In the state of New York, more than 3,400 people were injured in motorcycle accidents in 2020.
According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle injuries have increased by 66% in recent years. Why are injuries on the rise? It is partly because more people are riding motorcycles. However, a number of factors can play a part in bike injuries.
Why a Motorcycle Is More Dangerous Than a Car
If you ride a motorcycle, you are six times more likely to experience an accident than those driving a car. There are several reasons for this statistic.
Because a motorcycle or a moped is smaller than a passenger vehicle, it can be more challenging for drivers to see you. Drivers may be looking for cars without thinking of other vehicle types. They may pull out into the street or turn in front of you before spotting you — and by then, it may be too late to avoid a collision.
Riding on two wheels is part of the fun of biking. However, it means your vehicle is less stable than its four-wheeled counterparts. You are more susceptible to road hazards on a motorcycle. Puddles, icy patches, snowy roads and debris can cause your tires to slip or affect your braking ability.
The Need for Speed
Most motorcyclists are careful riders. However, the temptation to speed is irresistible for some. Bikes can accelerate rapidly, and you may find yourself going much faster than the speed limit. Increasing your speed can lead to a loss of control.
Lack of Protective Gear
The state of New York requires all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear helmets. Other gear you can wear includes boots, thick pants, gloves and a jacket. Without protective clothing, riders are more susceptible to injury.
Types of Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle accidents fall into four general categories: lowside, highside, topside and collision.
They can lead to different kinds of injuries.
When a rider falls toward the low side of an angular crash, it is a lowside crash. Riders instinctively put their leg out in an attempt to stabilize the bike. If they fall, the leg, foot and ankle on the low side can sustain injuries as the bike’s weight falls on them.
Riders may automatically extend their arms to brace the fall. This instinctive movement can lead to injuries in the arm, elbow, wrist and hand.
A topside crash is when a rider flies over the motorcycle’s handlebars. Riders usually put their arms out to break the fall, causing injuries to the upper extremities. Topside crashes also lead to head and face injuries.
A highside crash takes place when a rider flies off the bike in the opposite direction. This type of crash can lead to the same kinds of injuries as a topside crash, but they often affect the side of the body.
When a motorcycle and rider collide with another object, it is a collision crash. This type of crash can result in:
- Head injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Pelvic fractures as the rider hits the fuel tank
- Cervical spine trauma
- Brain injuries
Another common injury in collision crashes is trauma to the thumb. As riders brace against an impending crash, they tighten their grip on the handlebars. The force of the collision strains the joints, muscles and tendons in the thumb area.
Minor Injuries in a Motorcycle Crash
Fortunately, not all injuries in motorcycle crashes are severe or fatal. Sometimes riders are lucky enough to sustain only minor injuries. According to research, though, if you’re in a motorcycle accident, you almost certainly will be injured — 98% of multi-vehicle collisions and 96% of single-vehicle accidents result in the rider getting hurt.
Minor injuries might not feel so small when they happen to you. Sprains, strains, road rash, cuts, bruises and broken bones can cause you to rack up medical bills and doctor visits. You may require therapy or need medical equipment. You may also miss time at work.
Hiring an Attorney After a Minor Crash
You may wonder if you need an attorney in the aftermath of a minor motorcycle accident. It’s not always easy to tell at first. When the adrenaline is coursing through your body, you might not feel pain or be aware of injuries. Sometimes they show up later, after you’ve calmed down and had time to process everything. You may experience a delayed onset of pain or find out later that you sprained an ankle or thumb.
Seeking medical help after an accident is a smart move. Even if you feel fine, you may have injuries of which you aren’t immediately aware. Seeing a doctor right away helps you find out if you sustained trauma. It also protects you in case your insurance company tries to challenge a medical claim. Your doctor visit is proof that you sought medical attention after the accident.
You may be left with many questions after an accident, such as wondering how it happened. The NHTSA reports that the majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents take place because the other driver didn’t see the biker. Maybe the driver made a left turn in front of the motorcycle, or pulled into traffic without noticing the bike. A driver exiting from a parked car may open the door in the path of an oncoming motorcycle, causing the rider to brake suddenly or collide with the car door.
Accidents can also happen due to faulty roads. Construction zones, uneven pavement, potholes and similar conditions can cause a motorcycle’s tires to slip or cause the rider to lose balance. Oil spots or grass trimmings can be big slip hazards for bikers.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can answer questions for you. You may have a claim without realizing it. If you do, it’s a good idea to pursue it right away. The state of New York’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years following the date of the crash. After that time, your claim is considered void and you will not be able to pursue compensation.
Call Cellino Law After a Minor Motorcycle Accident
Cellino Law offers free consultations to potential clients. It means that you can get answers to your questions at no risk to you. Our professionals will review your case and advise you on a course of action. You only pay us if you win your case, so you won’t lose any money by talking to us.
Even a minor crash can leave you with medical bills and lost wages. Call our office today to get information following your motorcycle accident and see how we can help you.
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