Drivers are reminded to share the road to avoid causing motorcycle accidents
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about sharing the road with motorcyclists across the United States. In the spring and summer months, more motorcyclists will be hitting the roads, making it crucial to remind everyone about the dangers bikers face when other drivers are negligent. Louisiana, in particular, has seen an alarming number of motorcycle accidents in recent years, making the need for awareness and accountability even more critical.
In 2020, motorcyclists were involved in 1,543 crashes on Louisiana's roads, including 82 fatalities, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data published by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. These staggering numbers serve as a stark reminder of the risks motorcyclists face every time they hit the road. Despite accounting for only a small percentage of overall traffic, motorcyclists are overrepresented in crashes and fatalities.
The Importance of Motorcycle Safety
Motorcycle safety is critical, not just for motorcyclists but for all road users. It's important to remember that the safety of motorcyclists is a shared responsibility.
The risks associated with motorcycle accidents are often severe, leading to life-altering consequences. For example, research by the NHTSA has shown that motorcycle accidents result in injury or death about 80 percent of the time. That means if you're involved in a wreck as a biker, you are four times more likely to get injured or die when compared to being in a passenger car.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Negligence by other drivers is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, including:
- Failing to yield the right of way: Many drivers fail to notice or give adequate space to motorcycles on the road, leading to collisions and other dangerous situations. Drivers turning left may not see a smaller motorcycle (or misjudge its speed) and make a turn in its path. Similarly, drivers making a right turn at an intersection may not notice a motorcycle in their blind spot and make an unsafe turn, causing a collision. Drivers need to use caution when turning and going through intersections, check their blind spots, and always yield to oncoming traffic, including motorcycles.
- Speeding: Excessive speed is a significant factor in many motorcycle accidents, as it reduces a driver's ability to react to sudden changes in traffic and increases the likelihood of losing control of the vehicle. Motorcycles require less time to stop than larger vehicles due to their lighter weight and shorter wheelbase. To avoid causing a rear-end motorcycle accident, drivers should obey the speed limit and keep a safe following distance when traveling behind a motorcyclist.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving contributes to many motorcycle accidents. When drivers are distracted, they are less likely to notice and give adequate space to motorcycles on the road. This can lead to collisions, swerving, or other dangerous situations that put the safety of motorcyclists at risk. Distracted drivers may also fail to signal properly, making it difficult for motorcyclists to anticipate their movements and take evasive action when necessary.
- Impaired driving: Impaired drivers have reduced reaction times and impaired judgment, making it more difficult for them to respond to sudden changes in traffic or to recognize and avoid hazards on the road. When impaired, drivers are also more likely to engage in reckless behaviors, such as speeding, swerving, or failing to signal properly. This can put the safety of motorcyclists at risk, as they may not have enough time to react to avoid collisions.
Drivers should give motorcycles plenty of space, be aware of blind spots, and always check their mirrors and surroundings before changing lanes. By staying alert and avoiding reckless behaviors, drivers can help ensure the safety of motorcyclists and reduce the number of accidents on our roads.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Recovery
Motorcycle wrecks are often more severe than other types of accidents due to the lack of protection a motorcycle offers. As a result, the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident are typically more severe and require longer recovery periods. The most common injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and road rash.
Concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries can have long-lasting effects on a person's life, including memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and personality changes. Spinal cord injuries can result in permanent paralysis, leaving the victim with a lifetime of medical expenses and a reduced quality of life. Broken bones can be painful and may require extensive medical treatment, including surgeries and physical therapy. Road rash can cause infection, permanent scarring, and disfigurement.
In addition to the physical injuries, motorcycle accidents also come with significant financial burdens. Medical bills can quickly add up, especially for those who require long-term care or rehabilitation. In addition, lost wages due to missed work can make it difficult to pay bills and cover expenses.
For those involved in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver, seeking legal representation is crucial. An experienced attorney can help victims recover compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They can also help negotiate with insurance companies and advocate for the victim's rights in court.
Contact a New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyer
Insurance adjusters often try to pay injured motorcyclists less than they deserve or deny their claims altogether. When dealing with insurance companies, it's important to remember that their primary goal is to protect their bottom line, not to help you. As a result, they may use various tactics to try to minimize the amount they pay out, such as arguing that your injuries are not as severe as you claim or suggesting that you were partially at fault for the accident. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you navigate these challenges, answer your questions, aggressively advocate for your best interests, and ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver's negligence, it's important to understand your potential legal options. At The Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC, our dedicated legal team has helped countless injured bikers obtain the compensation they're entitled to under Louisiana law. To learn more about how we can help with your potential case, contact us today for a free consultation.