By David Peel
As an injury lawyer who handles accidents involving motorcycles, cars and trucks, I am often asked about the crashes I investigate. If you see what I see every week, you would buy a big, heavy SUV, carry a ton of uninsured motorists insurance and never ever let your children ride a motorcycle on the road.
Why am I picking on motorcycles?
Well, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists’ risk of a fatal crash is a whopping 35 times greater than a car, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Usually the wreck happens one of two main ways: First, the rider simply loses control in a turn, or secondly, the rider strikes the side of a car that pulls out without seeing the bike.
In the first case, a loss of control, the bike is often laid down and then the rider and bike usually separate. Often, the knee or lower leg is broken up badly as the bike and the leg head in different directions. Once the rider is off the bike, usually already injuring a leg, shoulder and elbow, they also can hit other things like fences, wires, lampposts, signs, cars, embankments and ditches. Sometimes they are run over by other cars. “Road rash” can be expected as the body slides across the rough surface of the road.
The second kind of crash involves the at-fault car driver just pulling out to make a left turn and just not seeing the bike until it is too late. 62 percent of motorcycle accidents in the U.S. are frontal collisions. The rider in these cases is usually either thrown over the front of the car or goes somewhat under it, which will sometimes crush them. In either event, about 35 percent of all crashes show major impact to the chin or jaw area. Again, road rash is expected. The impact of the head on the side or the hood of the offending car, or on the pavement beyond the scene of the collision, will cause head injuries, regardless of helmet use. Unfortunately, being run over by others is a real possibility. Amputations often result from bike wrecks.
The injury rate might be reduced with air bags. Yes, air bags for motorcycles. Fuel tank mounted airbags helps stop the person from traveling into the vehicle.
This significantly reduced the head trauma by 83 percent that otherwise would have occurred according to the data from the crash test dummy in one test.
The bottom line, if you have any wreck at all on a bike, you have a 96 percent or better chance of some kind of injury and almost half are quite serious. They turn small accidents into life changing moments. So, no Son, no motorcycle for you!
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.