Summer is here, and so are a lot more motorcycles. As the weather gets warmer, more motorcyclist hit the roads. Unfortunately, the more riders on the road, the more you hear about accidents, injuries and even deaths. In a motorcycle and automobile accident, the automobile is usually at fault. Drivers look out for cars and trucks, but often do not look for motorcycles. Always stop, look and listen before you proceed into the roadway. Motorcyclists can help themselves by keeping their high beams on during the daylight hours. Lastly, remember loud bikes save lives. If the driver does not see you, he may hear you coming before he or she pulls into your path.
Motorcycle riding has become more popular in recent years, appealing to a new group of enthusiasts consisting of older and more affluent riders. Sales of all types of two-wheelers reached about 1,158,000 in 2010, a level not seen in about 30 years. At the same time motorcycle fatalities have also been climbing, reaching their highest level in 2006 since 1981. There has been a dramatic jump in the number of deaths among motorcycle riders age 40 and older in recent years. Motorcycles are by their nature far less crashworthy than closed vehicles. They are also less visible to other drivers and pedestrians and less stable than four-wheel vehicles. Operating a motorcycle requires a different combination of physical and mental skills than those used in driving four-wheel vehicles. Motorcyclists and their passengers are more vulnerable to the hazards of weather and road conditions than drivers in closed vehicles. Motorcycle accident fatalities have increased every year for the past nine years. In 2006 there were 6.6 million motorcyclists on the road in the U.S., versus 3.0 million in 1996. There over 137.4 million automobiles on the road. Motorcycles account for 3 percent of all registered vehicles on the roads. As far as miles driven, motorcycles account for only .4 percent of the miles driven in 2005. However a motorcyclist in 2006 was 37 times more likely than a person in a car to die in a crash, and 8 times more likely to be injured. Per registered vehicle, in 2005, a motorcyclist is 5.4 times more likely than a person in a car to be killed in an accident. Some 104,000 motorcycles were in crashes in 2006.
Single vehicle motorcycle crashes account for about 45 percent of all motorcyclist fatalities. More than 38,000 motorcyclists have died in single vehicle motorcycle crashes between 1975 and 1999. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 100,000 motorcyclists have been killed in accidents in the last 40 years. Approximately three-quarters of all motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle, usually a car, and most of these were caused by failure of the driver to yield right-of-way. If you’re on a motorcycle and are hit by a car, you’re three times more likely to be seriously injured, and fourteen times more likely to be killed, than a person injured in an accident involving two cars. From 1990 through 1999, there were a total of 11,038 fatal single vehicle motorcycle crashes. During that same time period, there were an estimated 294,000 non-fatal single vehicle motorcycle crashes. Of these, an estimated 39,000 involved property damage only and 255,000 involved injuries. Motorcyclist fatalities in single vehicle motorcycle crashes decreased each year from 1990 to 1996, reaching a historic low of 937 in 1996 and again in 1997. In 1998, the fatalities increased to 1,042 (11.2 percent increase); in 1998 and in 1999 they increased to 1,140 (9.4 percent). The overall increase in motorcyclist fatalities from 1997 to 1999 was 203 (21.7 percent). A study evaluating the effectiveness of motorcycle helmets in accident situations concluded that (1) motorcycle helmets have no statistically significant effect on the probability of fatality; (2) helmets reduce the severity of head injuries; and (3) past a critical impact speed [13 MPH], helmets increase the severity of neck injuries.
There many reasons for motorcyclist fatalities in single vehicle motorcycle crashes. Helmet use among fatally injured motorcyclists is below 50 percent. More motorcyclist fatalities are occurring on rural roads. High blood alcohol levels are a major problem among motorcycle operators. Half of the fatalities are related to negotiating a curve prior to the crash. Over 80 percent of the fatalities occur off roadway. Undivided roadways account for a majority of the fatalities. Almost two thirds of the fatalities were associated with speeding as an operator contributing factor in the crash. Almost 60 percent of motorcyclist fatalities occur at night. Collision with a fixed object is a significant factor in over half of the fatalities. Braking and steering maneuvers possibly contribute for almost 25 percent of the fatalities. More riders age 40 and over are getting killed. Almost one third of the fatally injured operators did not have a proper license. Older motorcycle riders, who account for an increasingly larger proportion of all motorcyclists, now account for about half of all motorcycle rider fatalities. NHTSA data show that in 2006, 47 percent of motorcycle riders killed in crashes were age 40 or over, compared with 30 percent ten years earlier. Motorcycle operators have high incidences of alcohol use. NHTSA says that in 2006, 27 percent of motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08 grams per deciliter (the national definition of drunk driving), compared with 23 percent of drivers of passenger cars, 24 percent of light truck drivers and 1 percent of large truck drivers in fatal crashes. These figures take into account fatally injured operators, passengers and/or pedestrians. In 2006, 37 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with 23 percent for drivers of passenger cars, 19 percent for light truck drivers and 8 percent for large truck drivers, according to NHTSA.
Motorcycle drivers in Alabama are required to know the rules of the road, and they are required to abide by these rules while operating a motor vehicle. Motorcycle accidents and injuries caused by the failure to follow these rules can, in a split second, cause lasting damage, including injury and property damage to your motorcycle and can result in medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. In motorcycle accidents, serious injuries or death are common place. Automobile drivers often do not see a motorcycle or intentionally try to beat the motorcycle into a lane knowing that they are less likely to be injured than the motorcycle driver. Motorcycle accidents, truck accidents and car accidents can often be avoided. Reporting an accident to the insurance company is a good first step, but much more must be done to stop the harm and start the healing. The next step is usually to hire an motorcycle accident lawyer.
Every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is involved in a car accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Further, NHTSA accident statistics for 2002 show 42,815, people were killed and 1.29 million were injured in an estimated 1.31 million motor vehicle traffic accidents reported to police. Many accidents in Alabama happen on two lane country roads. Cullman, Morgan and Madison counties have numerous two lane roads with narrow bridges. Motorcycle accidents can be caused by many different factors. For example, some motorcycle accidents in Alabama are caused by driver error, aggressive driving tactics or drunken driving. Other motorcycle accidents are caused, for example, by defects in the motorcycle itself, such as when a motorcycle has defective tires or defective brakes.
Motorcycle accident claims are typically governed by the law of negligence. As with other types of accidents, figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was negligent. In many cases, your instincts will tell you that a driver, cyclist or pedestrian acted carelessly, but not what rule or rules that person violated. Fault issues can be complicated, and our experienced attorneys will look to a number of sources, such as police reports, state traffic laws, and witnesses, to help you determine who was at fault for your accident.
Ferguson & Ferguson, located in Huntsville and Decatur, Alabama are motorcycle accident attorneys who aggressively pursue legal rights for accident victims with significant physical or psychological injuries. Our Alabama motorcycle accident lawyers are skilled at handling motorcycle accidents, including fatal accidents. A motorcycle injury attorney must know the personal injury laws of Alabama, and every other state. Driving accidents often deal with laws of different states. Our motorcycle accident lawyers understand how a fatal accident can impact your family. When you need a motorcycle accident lawyer in Decatur, Cullman or Huntsville, Alabama who knows the accident claims process, call us immediately. If we can not settle your case, we will not hesitate to take your accident case to trial. Our extensive preparation of your accident claim in anticipation of a jury trial tends to increase the amount an insurance company offers to settle it. We work with experienced accident investigators, engineers, medical professionals and others who assist in creating a winning posture for trial. When you need a Huntsville, Alabama lawyer who knows accident law, call us first to find out your rights.
No matter the type of motorcycle accident, it is essential to take prompt measures to preserve evidence, investigate the accident, and have physicians or other expert witnesses thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you have been a victim of an motorcycle accident in Huntsville, Decatur, Cullman or Birmingham, Alabama, do not hesitate to call our skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys for a free assessment of your situation. Call now. We are here to help. Call 256-534-3435