People choose to ride motorcycles for various reasons. For some, they're an economical way to commute to work. For others, being in the open air on a bike is a fun way to enjoy the scenery and travel for pleasure.
Regardless of their purpose, riders deserve the same space, respect, and duty of care that other motorists get. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are often overlooked or, even worse, disregarded by other drivers, which can lead to a deadly crash for the rider. When these crashes happen, riders are at risk for suffering serious—and fatal—injuries.
How Many Riders Are Killed Each Year?
According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, motorcycle riders suffer fatalities at nearly six times the rate of occupants of passenger cars.
In 2017, approximately 10 drivers were killed in crashes for every 100,000 registered vehicles, but 60 riders were killed for every 100,000 registered motorcycles. In total, around 5,000 motorcyclists have been killed in crashes each year for the last 10 years.
Obviously, the primary reason for the difference in fatalities is the lack of protection offered by a motorcycle compared to a car or truck. However, another contributing factor is drivers don't pay to motorcycle riders as they pass them, turn out in front of them from side streets, and fail to yield to them in intersections. Even when a biker isn't killed in a collision, he or she often suffers serious and debilitating injuries.
Types of Injuries Most Often Sustained in Motorcycle Crashes
Massachusetts has a universal helmet law, which means that every biker riding in the state must wear a DOT-approved helmet. While there's no doubt that helmets save lives, riders can still sustain severe injuries—including head injuries—despite wearing a helmet.
Some of the most common medical conditions riders suffer in crashes include:
- Lower-extremity injuries. Leg fractures and crushed feet are the most frequent injuries sustained by riders in crashes. When a bike goes over, the rider's legs are often trapped underneath.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 8.1 percent of riders who weren't wearing a helmet suffered a head injury, compared to 5.3 percent of helmeted riders. This means that while helmets are about 35 percent effective at preventing TBI, riders are still at significant risk of head injuries even while wearing a helmet.
- Spinal cord damage. When a rider lands on his back on the pavement or is run over by another vehicle after a crash, he can sustain a fracture of his vertebrae that damages the spinal cord, leading to paralysis.
- Internal injuries. Internal organ injury and internal bleeding can be caused by either the blunt force trauma of a collision or by a penetrating injury from debris created by the crash. Damaged organs can fail, resulting in a need for extreme life-saving measures.
- Broken arms and wrists. When a motorcycle is hit, the rider will instinctively put out a hand to brace the fall. However, the force of the crash will likely cause a fracture in the hand, wrist, or arm. These fractures might result in permanent disabilities.
- Road rash. When bare skin hits pavement and layers of flesh are torn off, the rider experiences what's known as road rash. Although usually less serious than other injuries, the risk of infection is high, and skin grafts could be required.
When the crash that caused these devastating injuries was caused by a driver who failed to follow traffic laws and provide the duty of care you deserved, you can hold him responsible for the financial burden of medical bills and lost wages you now face.
How the Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP Can Help
If you're a motorcyclist who was injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver, the lawyers at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP will review the crash and determine the best course of action for pursuing damages. We'll fight to protect your rights as an injured victim and secure the compensation you need and deserve to recover from your injuries. Fill out the contact form on this page right now, or call our Framingham office to speak to someone today about your accident.