Cars and motorcycles must share the same road. It is your responsibility as the driver to look out for each other. You must learn to share the road and drive responsibly. Driving a motorcycle, however, places you at risk for more serious injuries because your entire body will absorb the impact from any form of collision.
Even if you wear proper gear, from helmets to a Kevlar vest, you can still face major injuries because a motorcycle leaves you exposed. Sadly, other drivers may fail to see motorcycles because they are smaller. On top of that, others engage in reckless behavior such as DUI or distracted driving.
A collision between a car and a motorcycle running at high speeds usually results in a catastrophe. If you find yourself in this situation because of another driver’s negligence, consider contacting a reputable accident attorney to help you find justice. Learn more about the most common causes of crashes between a car and motorcycle; and what you can do to mitigate it.
Types of Collisions Between Cars and Motorcycles
Knowledge is power, and it can help you stay safe as you ply the roads. Thus, it is vital to learn the most common causes of collision amongst cars and motorbikes. Check them out below:
Encountering a Negligent Driver
The culprit of most road accidents involving motorcycles versus cars is the car driver’s negligence. When a car driver fails to exercise caution on the road, everyone is at risk, especially motorcycle riders. According to the CDC’s study on motorcycle safety, other motorists are usually at fault in more than 50% of multi-vehicle accidents involving motorcycles.
Sadly, in these accidents, motorcycle riders are more vulnerable. They are more likely to die or experience a debilitating injury than car drivers and passengers. Remember, as a driver on the road, your license is a privilege but not a right. Those who drive larger cars have no right to ignore, bully, or engage in reckless behavior against smaller vehicles like a motorcycle. Without proper diligence, you can expect a crash to happen.
Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way
The NHTSA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that accidents between cars and motorcycles frequently occur in road intersections. Hence, all drivers must proceed with caution at an intersection, especially if you are behind handlebars because you are more at risk of sustaining severe injuries.
Usually, a collision happens because cars making a left turn at an intersection fail to yield the right-of-way. Many drivers usually say that they did not see the motorcycle coming. Sadly, this damaging mindset hinges on the fact that most car drivers do not expect a motorcycle to be there. These smaller, two-wheeled vehicles are usually not on their minds since they prioritize bigger vehicles. Unfortunately, a collision between a car and a motorcycle can be fatal for the latter.
Forgetting to Factor in a Blind Spot
A car is a big machine. Despite the rearview and side mirrors, there are too many blind spots in a vehicle. For example, a car driver may fail to see a smaller motorcycle near the car’s periphery. This makes changing lanes dangerous for the one on the bike.
Sadly, many drivers are prone to making sudden lane changes without turning on their signal lights. As a result, motorcycle riders have little time to react, such as:
- Honking the horn
- Shifting to another lane
- Slowing down to give way
As a driver on the road, it is your responsibility to use proper car signals to alert the people around you about what you plan to do. The presence of mind on the road and consideration for other drivers can make a big difference. No one should die or suffer from injuries because you failed to signal or adjust the vehicle’s mirrors.
Facing a Poor Speed or Distance Perception
It is common to incorrectly judge the distance or speed of a motorbike. As a result, many drivers pull out in front of the bike. Therefore, you should wait for any motorcycle to pass before entering any street.
Should you fail to wait before merging or pulling into an intersection, you place the bike rider at risk. The person may need to pull their emergency brakes, making the vulnerable drivers fly off the bike. Furthermore, the motorcyclist can lose control, resulting in a deadly slide. Once the body strikes a hard surface, whether it be another vehicle or the pavement, you can expect death or massive, multiple physical injuries.
Dealing with Distracted Drivers
Distracted driving is an endemic problem because drivers cannot resist looking at their smartphones while on the road. For this reason, you should avoid the following:
- Reading or replying to text messages
- Scrolling your playlist for music
- Glancing at social media
- Checking your emails
Using your smartphone while on the wheel is as dangerous as driving under the influence. Instead, focus your mind and attention on the road. This advice also goes for people who like to drink coffee or eat while driving. Anything that takes your eyes and hands off the wheel should be avoided.
away from the wheel if you are emotional. Keep yourself, your passengers, and other people safe by maintaining your focus. When distracted, you may not have the reflex to avoid an approaching vehicle. This is catastrophic if you bump into a motorcycle as it can result in a fatality.
Driving Under the Influence
Drinking and driving have been a problem since time immemorial. Unfortunately, despite the public safety advertisements and other campaigns, many irresponsible people keep drinking and driving. The negative effects of alcohol begin the moment you take the first sip. Alcohol can adversely impact your driving capability as it can result in the following:
- Impair your reflexes
- Slow down your reaction time
- Affect vision like blurry or double vision
- Influence color distinction, making it difficult to distinguish traffic light colors
Similarly, driving while on party drugs or even prescription medication can have similar results. Therefore, to maintain optimal health, to avoid liver cirrhosis, and to prevent vehicular accidents, it is in your best interest to avoid drugs and excessive alcohol consumption.
Moreover, make it a point to read the potential side effects of any over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication. When you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you become a road menace. Therefore, the risk of injuring a motorcycle rider or others who share the same road increases.
Driving When Drowsy or Exhausted
Driving when you are sleepy, drowsy, and exhausted is irresponsible. It is akin to driving under the influence. When you are sleepy, your judgment is impaired. As a result, you may reduce your reaction time, or you can drift into another lane and hit a motorbike. Drowsy driving will happen if you are tired. It can also be due to an undiagnosed medical condition or a sleep disorder like apnea or bruxism.
Every time you ride your motorcycle, you must be extra vigilant and stay mindful of your surroundings at all times. Although you have no way of knowing if the driver next to you is tired or had a few shots, staying alert can help you react to situations and avoid accidents.
It only takes a split second to change your life. Remember, reckless drivers, are everywhere. Even if you are the most cautious motorcycle rider who practices defensive driving, you can still encounter a negligent car driver on the road. But, like the one at the helm of the handlebars, taking a second look and remaining cautious can make a difference in mitigating accidents.
Common Motorcycle Injuries Post-Collision
Motorcycles do not have airbags for extra protection against collisions. There are also no sturdy side frames or a roof to take the impact. There are no seatbelts on a bike, so ejection during a sudden brake or collision is a possibility. Even if you have protective gear like a full-face helmet, Kevlar vest, boots, or gloves, they can only do so much.
If you are going at high speeds and run into a big vehicle, catastrophic injuries will likely happen. After all, the human body cannot handle excessive force. So, when your body strikes a hard surface, you can expect the following injuries:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Even with a helmet, you can experience TBI as long as there is a blow, bump, or jolt to your head, impeding normal brain function. It can also be due to a penetrating injury that pierces the skull. A helmet will reduce the extent of the injury. However, the force of a collision can still result in brain bleeding and swelling. Brain injury is catastrophic because it can lead to:
- Memory loss
- Inability to speak
- Vegetative state
Never drive your bike without a helmet. Injury to your brain can drastically change your life. In addition, it will cost millions to treat your condition.
Spinal Cord Injury
The spine supports your whole upper body and contains a lot of nerve endings responsible for movement. If you damage your spinal cord, you can get paralyzed. Most patients who suffer from a severe blow to the spine end up disabled and reliant on a power chair. As a result, there is a need to modify the lifestyle and rely on personal caregivers to perform basic necessities. Like a brain injury, the cost of a spinal cord injury can cost millions.
A motorcycle rider’s bones can break during a crash. This fracture can occur anywhere in your body, like your arms, legs, back, collarbones, neck, and skull. Fractures vary based on severity. A simple fracture may only need a simple arm cast. However, compound fractures in different areas may need multiple surgeries and even bone re-pinning to set the bone back into place. After surgery, the patient may need rehabilitation to regain muscle memory and functionality.
Experiencing these injuries due to driver negligence is a life-altering experience. You may no longer perform your favorite activities or recognize your family members. Daily tasks like bathing and dressing can become a challenge. If you are a victim of this kind of accident, you can bring a civil action against the offender and receive compensation, especially since you may lose wages and need expensive medical treatments for the long haul.
Seek the Help of a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Though riding the open road feels liberating, engaging in this activity comes with certain risks. Thus, it is vital to be aware of the most common reasons for collisions so you can do your best to mitigate them. Your passion for riding should not end abruptly because of a car driver’s poor decisions. Wear your safety gear at all times and practice defensive driving. And if a collision happens, seek legal advice.
The laws revolving around vehicular accidents are complex, so you need the expert help of a reputable personal injury attorney. A motorcycle accident due to an errant car driver is a grievous matter that necessitates legal representation.
When you face serious injuries because of a distracted, drunk, drowsy, or rushing driver, you will face treatments, surgeries, and missed time from work. As a result, you will not only face heavy financial burdens, but the deep trauma may result in mental and emotional scars.
Typically, insurance companies prefer a quick settlement after the accidents to close the case. Sadly, the initial offer is a paltry sum that cannot even cover your future medical needs. Most insurance companies will give a lowball offer because they look out for their pockets and not your needs, so be wary about speaking with them without representation.
It is in your best interest to consult with a motorcycle accident and personal injury attorney. This smart move will allow you to discuss and dissect the details of the case. Never sign anything without an attorney’s guidance. If you need an ally to help you fight for justice and fair compensation, call us at Breakstone, White & Gluck.