William W. Hurst
Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC
50 S. Meridian St., Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204
There are over four (4) million motorcycles registered in the United States. Motorcycle fatalities represent approximately five percent (5%) of all highway fatalities each year. Yet, motorcycles represent just 2 percent of all registered motor vehicles. Almost eighty percent (80%) of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, a comparable figure for motor vehicles is 20%.
In 2006, almost 5,000 people were killed while riding motorcycles. A study contacted by the University of Southern California with funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated 900 motorcycle accidents in the L.A. area. They also analyzed 3,600 motorcycle accidents involved collisions with another vehicle, which was usually a passenger vehicle. Only 1/4 of these motorcycle accidents were single-vehicle accidents involving the motorcyle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object. Vehicular failure accounted for less than 3% of the motorcycle accidents. Road way defects were the cause of the accident in about 2% of the accidents, and animal involvement was 1%. In 2/3 of the vehicular accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle’ right of way and caused the accident. The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the dominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The actual deliberate, hostile action of the motorist against the motorcycle is a rare accident cause.
Intersections are the most likely place for motorcycle accidents and most accidents occur during short trips associated with shopping, errands or going to see friends, and are likely to happen in a very short time close to the trip’s origin. the medium pre-cashed speed of the motorcycle was 29.8 mph. Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly overrepresented in the accidents, and the riders between the ages of 30 to 50 are significantly less. The motorcycle riders who have previous traffic violations and accidents predominate in the accident data. More than 1/2 of the accidents involve motorcycle riders with less than five months experience. Almost 1/2 the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement. The typical motorcycle accident only allows the motorcyclist less than 2 seconds to engage in collision avoidance.
Half of the injuries are to the ankle, lower leg, knee and upper thigh area. Groin injuries were sustained by the motorcyclist at least 13% of the accident, which is typical in the frontal impact at a higher than average speed. Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement, and motorcycle size. Approximately 50% of the motorcycle riders in traffic were using safety helmets, but only 40% of the riders were wearing helmets at the time of the accident. The most deadly injuries to motorcyclist were injuries to the chest and head. The use of a safety helmet is the single critical factor in prevention and/or reduction of head injuries. Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injuries for all type of injuries and at all levels of injury severity. It is noteworthy that less than 10% of the motorcycle riders involved in the accidents had insurance of any kind to provide medical care or replace their property.
Watch this accident happen in the blink of an eye: Motorcycle Crash: Rider Hit from Behind
Compared with other operators, it is clear that motorcyclists are at a much greater risk for injury. Statistically over the last 10 years the number of motorcycle accidents has escalated throughout the country. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, it shows that since 1997 motorcycle rider fatalities have increased by 89% from 2,116 in 2000 to 4,008 in 2004.
In 2000, there were 113 fatal motorcycle crashed in Indiana, 20% of which were helmeted and 39% which involved alcohol at the time of the crash. There were 5,000 fatal motorcycle crashes in Indiana in 2006, but there are currently no recent statistics. It would appear from the statistics that the mostl likely person to die in an Indiana motorcycle accident is a 40 to 50 year old man riding alone on the weekends. By the very nature of the motorcycles, they are much less safe than passenger vehicles. There is no safety cage as there is in an automobile. A rider and a passenger is likely to come into direct contact with obstacles in the road. Only 2 to 4% of all drivers on the road are motorcycles. While this is a relatively small percentage motorcycle accidents make up 9 to 11% of the total fatalities on the road every year. Recently in March, in Parkersburg Indiana, on US 231, a collision occured between a dirt bike and a motorcycle, claiming the life of a 27 year old Lafayette man. A motorcycle operator was killed on July 15, 2010 on County Road 700 when he lost control of his bike and crashed. The motorcyclist was air-lifted to the hospital in Fort Wayne, but he died in route. A Wabash County sheriff indicated that the bike had left the road and flipped several times. In August of 2009, in Johnson County, a Greenwood man was killed in a motorcycle accident. the investigation showed that the motorcyclist had been traveling West on Travis Road when it left the roadway and struck a pole. The cause of the crash was not immediately determined. Paramedics determined that the motorcyclist was dead at the scene, which was only a short distance from the victim’s home. He was not wearing a safety helmet, and received apparent head injuries.
In 2009, a West Harrison man died after his motorcycle crashed east of New Trenton, Indiana. A police officer noticed the motorcycle on New Trenton road and started to turn around to pull over the motorcycle, only to find the bike crashed on the side of the road a short distance away. The trooper noted that the bike was going fast for the curve in the road, and the motorcyclist had veered off the road and hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. While this list of accidents with serious injuries is endless, a very recent one typifies the seriousness of the injuries resulting when a vehicle strikes a motorcyclist in a head on collision. On June 17, 2010 a Rennselaer couple was involved in a head on collision with a pick up truck near Dumont, Indiana. The wife of the couple was pronounced dead at the Methodist Hospital in Merriville. The cause of the injury was multiple blunt-force trauma. Her husband was 56 years old from Rensselaer and was pronounced dead at the scene according to the Jasper County Sheriff’s department. The couple was driving a 2001 Honda motorcycle westbound on County Road 1200 North near east county road 900 west when a grey 2007 Ford Ranger drive
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and are seeking an experienced, top rated lawyer contact Bill Hurst today for a free consultation and case evaluation. For tips on motorcycle safety, click on this link.
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