According to Tennessee government statistics, there were 3,119 motorcycle accidents in the state of Tennessee in 2016, and 2,989 motorcycle accidents in the state in 2017. Shelby County had the most motorcycle accidents per registered motorcycle in the entire state in 2018.
In 2016, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely than those in passenger vehicles to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled. By their very nature, motorcycles are simply much less safe than larger, closed vehicles. Motorcycles are also much less visible to other drivers, and less stable than vehicles with four wheels. Therefore when accidents occur the results can be devastating leading to the need for an experienced personal injury attorney.
How Motorcycle Accident Differ from Car Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are different from passenger car vehicle accidents primarily because of the level of injury often sustained by the motorcyclist. A motorcyclist simply has no protection in the event of an accident. Unlike a person inside a passenger vehicle, the motorcyclist has no steel and glass cage surrounding him or her, as well as no seat belts or airbags for protection. In fact, the only protection afforded a motorcyclist is a helmet if worn, and protective clothing, such as leathers, if worn. Motorcyclists are usually following the rules of the road properly when they are hit by a car who either did not see them or severely underestimated their speed.
Motorcycle accidents can also differ significantly from other types of accidents because jurors often have a skewered idea of who motorcyclists are, and how they act. In fact, many people (and juries are made up of people) mistakenly believe that motorcyclists are inherently reckless—that they drive too fast and take unnecessary risks. In truth, many motorcyclists are older professionals who drive their motorcycle as carefully as they drive their passenger vehicle. It can be extremely helpful to have an experienced motorcycle attorney who understands these misperceptions and can present the truth of the accident.
Typical Injuries Following a Motorcycle Accident
Injuries following a motorcycle accident are likely to be quite severe on the part of the motorcyclist. Often, motorcyclists suffer a traumatic brain injury or paralysis—either of which could result in the necessity of a lifetime of care, as well as an inability to work and make a living. Other common injuries following a motorcycle accident include road rash, broken bones, burns, disfigurement, and facial fractures. Road rash can lead to severe infection and months or years of medical procedures. The stress related to the injuries received during a motorcycle accident can cause depression and anxiety, making everyday life even more difficult.
Factors Involved in Motorcycle Accidents
While each motorcycle accident is unique in some way, there are certain factors involved in many motorcycle accidents, including:
- Cars or trucks making unsafe lane changes without ensuring there is no motorcyclist in the lane they are moving to;
- Parking lot accidents which involve a driver backing out of a parking space without looking behind for a motorcyclist;
- The driver of a car or truck opening their door into traffic without checking for an oncoming motorcyclist;
- Cars or trucks which are exceeding the speed limit, reducing the chance of seeing and reacting to a motorcyclist;
- The driver of a car or truck who is driving under the influence, further reducing the likelihood of failing to see the motorcyclist;
- A driver who suddenly stops, causing the motorcyclist to run into the back of the vehicle, or a driver who is following a motorcyclist too closely, hitting the motorcyclist when the motorcycle slows or stops;
- Inexperienced drivers who make unsafe moves on the road that could compromise the safety of other motorists;
- Left-turn accidents made by drivers who miscalculate the speed of an oncoming motorcyclist; or,
- Inclement weather or dangerous road conditions which cause the motorcyclist to lose control of the motorcycle;
Reducing the Number of Motorcycle Accidents
As noted, motorcyclists are at a particularly high risk of dying or receiving severe injuries when involved in a traffic accident. You may wonder how motorcyclists can cut down their chances of being involved in a serious accident. Below are some tips that can reduce a motorcyclist’s risk of being hit by a vehicle:
- Always wear appropriate gear, including a helmet and protective clothing. Those who wear an open-faced helmet should also wear goggles to protect the eyes. Gloves can protect your hands, and, at a minimum, you should wear jeans, even in the summer months, to protect your legs, along with a long-sleeved shirt.
- Make sure you are fully trained in riding your motorcycle before you hit the roadways. You should always be able to mount and dismount your motorcycle easily, your feet should be able to rest flat on the ground when you are seated, and your motorcycle should never feel too heavy for you to control. Spend riding your motorcycle in areas with little to no traffic prior to riding in traffic to ensure your skills are up to the task.
- Always make sure your motorcycle is properly maintained. Check your tire pressure, make sure your brakes are working properly, and ensure there are no leaks, loose bolts, or loose mirrors.
- Remaining alert is key to riding a motorcycle; you must be aware that other drivers may not be able to see you as easily as they see other drivers, so you must be extra vigilant. When you are on an unfamiliar road, extra vigilance is required—watch for animals, road debris, potholes, sharp curves, or newly-laid gravel.
- Whenever possible, avoid riding in bad weather. While driving a vehicle on icy or wet roads can be dangerous, it is even more so when you ride a motorcycle. A motorcycle is less stable than a vehicle, plus you have no windshield wipers to assist your visibility.
Why Having an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney is Crucial
If you suffer a Nashville motorcycle accident, it is imperative that you have a highly experienced motorcycle accident attorney by your side from start to finish. I have the necessary skills to find solutions for cases that other attorneys might not find worth the time or effort. I will take the necessary time to understand how your motorcycle accident occurred, how your life has been impacted by the accident, and will fully be apprised of the circumstances and facts surrounding your motorcycle accident. I will always focus on you and your story—you will never be a medical report or a case number to me. If you want a self-starter with years of foundational experience, contact The Law Offices of Kyle Peiter today.