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Motorcycle accidents are serious events that can change a person's life. Motorcycle accident injuries are often catastrophic, including brain injury, spinal cord injury and lost limbs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2006, motorcyclists made up 11 percent of total traffic fatalities, 13 percent of all occupant fatalities and four percent of all occupants injured.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
As with any vehicle, motorcycles can be hit by another vehicle from just about any direction. The NHTSA notes that in 2006, 51 percent of motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with another type of motor vehicle that was in transport. Of those, 79 percent of the accidents involved the motorcycle being hit in the front. Five percent of two-vehicle motorcycle accidents involved the motorcycle being struck from the rear.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the NHTSA, in 2007, 5,154 motorcyclists were killed in accidents; in 2006, 4,810 motorcyclists were killed in accidents, five percent more than were killed in 2005. Furthermore, there were 88,000 motorcyclists injured in accidents in 2006.
The NHTSA further notes that approximately 137,000 motorcyclists died in traffic crashes since the enactment of the Highway Safety and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Acts of 1966. The Highway Safety Act was designed to ensure that each state had a highway safety program to reduce traffic accidents. The National Traffic and motor Vehicle Safety Act created mandatory federal safety standards for motor vehicles.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Because motorcycles are less stable and less visible than passenger cars, they are more likely than cars to be involved in crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (2005). Furthermore, when they are involved in a crash, because they offer less protection than a car, their riders are more likely to be injured or killed.
Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries. A motorcycle accident injury can cause physical pain, long months of recuperation and escalating medical bills. Injuries associated with motorcycle crashes include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, lost limbs, chronic pain and emotional trauma.
People who survive a motorcycle accident may face long months of expensive medical care or rehabilitation, during which they are unable to work. Recuperation could involve surgery, medication and physical therapy.
The Hurt Report ("Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures")
A 1981 study conducted at the University of Southern California, with funding from the NHTSA, is widely recognized as being a thorough, groundbreaking report regarding the causes and effects of motorcycle accidents. Although the study is almost 20 years old, many of the conclusions are still considered relevant.
The report, authored by Harry Hurt, found that approximately 75 percent of motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle—usually a passenger vehicle—and approximately 66 percent of those accidents were caused by the driver of the other vehicle violating the motorcycle's right-of-way. The study also found that in the motorcycle crashes analyzed, 98 percent of multiple vehicle collisions and 96 percent of single vehicle collisions resulted in an injury to the motorcycle rider, with 45 percent resulting in an injury considered more serious than minor.
Although helmets are generally regarded as life-saving safety devices, not all states have laws that require motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Approximately 20 states have lawsuits requiring all riders to wear helmets, 27 states require some riders to wear helmets and three states have no motorcycle helmet law.
Motorcycle Accident Legal HelpIf you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, or a loved one has been killed in a motorcycle accident, please click the link below to send your story to a lawyer who will review your claim at no charge or obligation.
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