Motorcycle Accidents

The popularity of motorcycles in the United States has steadily increased over the years, and there are now more than 8.5 million of the vehicles nationwide. Motorcycles have become more common in urban areas as well as on dirt trails, and while there are perils associated with driving or riding on a motorcycle regardless of the location, the potential for serious injury or death is much greater in our metropolitan centers. Motorcycles enjoy the same rights and privileges on our roadways as any other motor vehicle, but motorcycle drivers and their passengers do not usually enjoy the same odds for survival or avoiding injury when they are involved in a crash with much heavier passenger vehicles, trucks, buses and other larger and better-fortified motor vehicles.

As a result of the unequal risks associated with driving a motorcycle compared with any other motor vehicle, particularly when there is a collision involving at least one of each type of vehicle, traffic safety advocacy groups strongly encourage helmet use as a means of improving a motorcycle driver or rider’s chances of survival or avoiding serious injury from a crash. However, not every state mandates use of U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmets. Indeed, as of 2012, only 19 states, including California, and the District of Columbia had universal helmet laws, 28 states had a partial helmet law, and three states had no helmet law at all. The use of DOT-compliant helmets in the United States stood at 60 percent in 2013, a figure unchanged from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The toll from motorcycle accidents across the United States over the years has been steep, including deaths and injuries as reflected in the following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed and an estimated 1,222,000 people were treated in an emergency room of a hospital for a nonfatal accident involving a motorcycle in the United States.
  • Death and injury rates were highest among 20- to 24-year-olds, followed by 25- to 29-year-olds.
  • More than half of all nonfatal injuries treated in an ER were to the leg or foot (30 percent) or head or neck (22 percent).

While the numbers of motor vehicle crash-related deaths involving automobiles and trucks and the number of deaths from crashes involving motorcycles were going in opposite directions leading up to 2008 -- the figure for the former reached an all-time low in the United States that year, while the figure for the later reached an all-time high the same year, more than doubling since 1999 -- in recent years there has been a significant drop in the number of motorcycle fatalities. Indeed, the Governors Highway Safety Association projected that motorcycle fatalities were projected to have dropped 7 percent nationwide and fallen 13 percent in California from 2012 levels. The drop in the number of fatalities among motorcyclists in the United States in 2013 has been attributed to more inclement weather that year, which tended to keep motorcyclists off the road and out of harm’s way.

Since a collision between a motorcycle and another, bigger and heavier motor vehicle will almost always result in more serious injuries to the pilot of the former, such as spinal injury or traumatic brain injury, it is critical that a motorcyclist who has been injured receive medical attention as soon as possible. But it is also important for the motorcyclist who has been involved in a collision, or his or her loved ones in the case of motorcyclists who have died in a collision, to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. At the Brod Law Firm, we handle motorcycle injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that no legal fees are owed if we do not obtain compensation on your behalf. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, please call us for a free consultation right away.   

Contact us online or call us today at (800) 427-7020 for a FREE consultation.

San Francisco Injury Lawyer Blog - Motorcycle Accidents
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