Motorcycle accidents are some of the worst on the roads of Baltimore and the state of Maryland, in large part because the increased vulnerability of motorcyclists frequently leads to injuries that are far more serious than if they were in a car. However, studies have found that the majority of multiple-vehicle motorcycle accidents were caused by the driver of the car involved, not by the motorcyclist. These accidents can happen in a variety of ways, each of which can cause severe personal injuries to the biker that they did not deserve.
When these accidents happen and it is you or a loved one who gets hurt, you need the legal representation of the personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian.
Motorcycle Accidents are Common and Costly
The toll of motorcycle accidents on the roads of America has been significant over the years.
Numbers provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III) show that there were over 102,000 motorcycle accidents in America in 2015, alone. That is more than 500 motorcycle accidents for every 100 million miles traveled on a bike.
Worse, many of these accidents result in injuries to the motorcyclist. While over 70% of the car accidents that happened in 2015 only resulted in property damage, the NHTSA estimates that fewer than 15% of motorcycle accidents did not lead to someone getting hurt. Instead, out of the approximately 102,000 motorcycle crashes that happen every year, around 90,000 of them end with injuries, and around 5,000 of those injury-producing crashes involve a fatality. That made motorcyclist fatalities nearly 28 times more likely than car-occupant fatalities.
In fact, while motorcycles only make up 3% of the registered vehicles on the road and only 0.6% of the miles traveled in the U.S. every year, motorcyclists made up 14% of all of the traffic fatalities in 2016.
Most Motorcycle Crashes are Caused by Car Drivers
Unfortunately, studies have found that most of the motorcycle accidents that happen are the fault not of the biker, but the car that they collide with. According to one such study done by the Center for Urban Transportation Research, six out of ten motorcycle crashes involving more than one vehicle was caused by the driver of a car, not the motorcyclist.
While these accidents can happen in a variety of ways, there are some causes that come up more than others.
One of the increasingly prominent factors in crashes on the roads, today, is a distracted driver. More and more people try multitasking while behind the wheel, splitting their attention between driving and something else like texting, adjusting their GPS, or playing with their smartphone. The attention that they take away from the task of driving, though, can prevent them from noticing an important road hazard or crucial fact that would avoid a potential accident.
This split attention can be the underlying cause for many of the following situations.
Left Turn Crashes
Some of the worst motorcycle accidents—particularly in urban or suburban settings like those that surround Baltimore—happen on multilane divided highways when a car is trying to make a left turn at an intersection or stop light. Frequently, the driver of the car will fail to see an oncoming motorcycle or will misjudge the biker's oncoming speed, turning left and directly into their path.
These crashes can be deadly because the motorcyclist rarely has the time to swerve to avoid the crash, and will almost always collide directly into the car with the front of their bike.
Crashes Involving Opening Car Doors
Another common source of motorcycle accidents is when a car driver swings open their door into oncoming traffic. When motorcyclists are approaching the vehicle from behind, the opening car door can pose a sudden obstacle that either requires immediate braking or a sudden swerve towards the middle of the road, especially when the roadway is narrow or when there are lots of cars parallel parked.
Road Sharing Failures
When cars drive alongside motorcycles, there are some things that drivers need to keep in mind. Among them is the fact that motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars can, and the fact that motorcycles are smaller than cars are and so are more difficult to see in blind spots.
Unfortunately, drivers rarely take these factors into account, and that negligence creates the types of situations that frequently leads to severe motorcycle crashes.
A common example is when a car is driving behind a motorcyclist. Because the bike can stop quicker than a car can, the car driver should stay further away from the motorcycle, increasing the following distance to ensure that the driver can react effectively and prevent a rear-end accident. Most drivers, however, fail to take these precautionary measures, creating dangerous situations on the road for bikers, every day.
One cause of motorcycle accidents that is not the fault of other drivers on the road, though, is when a motorcycle is defectively made. If those defects show themselves while on the highway, it can cause the motorcyclist to lose control of the bike and send it careening into danger without any warning at all.
Defective parts are especially problematic on motorcycles that have been built from scratch or assembled in a biker's garage. Just because the bike was put together, though, does not mean that a products liability claim cannot be made: the parts that were used could still be defective and the ultimate cause of the motorcycle crash.
Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
The personal injury attorneys at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian represent people who have been hurt in motorcycle accidents every day. We fight for the rights and interests of victims and ensure that they get the compensation that they need to make the full recovery that they deserve. Contact us online for the legal representation you need if you or a loved one has been severely hurt near Baltimore while riding a motorcycle.