Summertime is just around the corner! For many people, this is a fun-filled time of year full of barbecues, backyard get-togethers, and time spent outdoors. However, as more people hit the road for summer vacations and camping trips, another danger awaits the summer season: an increased risk of traffic accidents, including motorcycle accidents.
By their nature, motorcycles present a far greater risk of serious injury and death to their operators than closed vehicles. Because they are less stable and less visible to pedestrians and other drivers on the road, motorcycles are about 27 times more deadly to drivers and passengers than other types of vehicles. More than 5,100 motorcycle riders were killed in crashes in 2017, a number that actually decreased by 3 percent from the previous year—but one that remains tragically high.
Despite the well-known risks, the Insurance Information Institute found that the percentage of motorcyclists who wear helmets actually decreased between the years 2000 and 2017, from 71 percent to 65 percent.
Needless to say, wearing a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation is critical to keeping yourself safe while riding a motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, also urges motorcyclists to have the proper training and licensing to operate this special type of vehicle. Motorcycles require different skills and knowledge to operate, and every state requires motorcyclists to obtain a special license as a supplement to their valid driver’s license. Some states require a special driver education course on how to safely operate a motorcycle, while others waive these courses for drivers who have already passed a written test. If you’re unsure of your state’s laws regarding motorcyclist licensing, contact your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
In addition to being properly licensed and trained, the NHTSA reminds motorcyclists to obey all traffic laws—and never take risks. Because motorcycles are already 27 times more deadly than other types of vehicles, the decision to speed or run red lights can have catastrophic consequences to the rider, as well as pedestrians and other drivers on the road. Before every ride, the motorcyclist should check the tire pressure and depth as well as fluid levels, and test the headlights, brakes, and signal indicators. Cargo should be properly secured before the ride. If the motorcyclist is carrying a passenger, they should wear a DOT-approved helmet and sit as far forward as possible and keep both feet on the designated foot rests. It is also important to remain sober and drug-free any time you are riding a motorcycle.
However, sometimes motorcyclists who take all proper precautions and obey the rules of the road become involved in wrecks anyway, through no fault of their own. Because they are less visible to other drivers on the road, motorcyclists can easily fall victim to impaired or distracted drivers, or drivers who are speeding or otherwise behaving recklessly. Motorcycle accidents are often fatal for both the operator and passenger—but even motorcyclists who survive can be left with catastrophic injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis are all too common. But even injuries that sound less serious—like “road rash,” damaged teeth, and lacerations—can cause serious pain and suffering for the motorcyclist. A precautionary trip to the emergency room following a motorcycle crash can lead to astronomically high medical bills for the rider—all for an accident that occurred through no fault of his or her own.
If you were injured in a motorcycle collision as the result of another driver’s negligence, a dedicated personal injury attorney at Tittle & Perlmuter might be able to help. Contrary to the themes in popular culture, which often unfairly stereotype motorcyclists as ‘risk-takers’, it is actually the operators of standard-sized automobiles who are more likely to be at fault for the collisions that involve motorcycles. Negligent drivers must be held liable for their misconduct. Ohio is an ‘at fault’ motor vehicle accident state. As such, you must prove that your accident was caused by the improper conduct of another party in order to hold that party legally liable for your damages. In many cases, drivers will refuse to admit fault, or will try to cast aspersions on the victim. You need to consult with legal counsel.
If you obeyed the rules of the road and were injured by another driver, an attorney at Tittle & Perlmuter can help you recover the cost of damages from your motorcycle accident. Don’t hesitate, as there is a strict time frame in which you can file a claim. You have nothing to lose by consulting with Tittle & Perlmuter to learn whether we can take on your case—and win!