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What Are the Odds of Surviving a High-Speed Motorcycle Crash?

A biker in a black leather jacket puts on gloves before taking a ride.

Common sense tells us the faster a person is traveling, the more likely they will suffer a serious or fatal injury. With motorcycles, it doesn’t take much force for a rider (especially if they are not wearing a helmet or protective gear) to become injured in a crash.

Between 2010 and 2020, motorcycle rider and passenger deaths increased by 20%. Surprisingly, most motorcycle accidents involve lower speeds (around 30 mph, according to the NHTSA) and left turns. In fact, 42% of motorcycle accidents with a car involve left-hand turns.

Due to how vulnerable riders are when compared to vehicle passengers, fatal motorcycle accidents can happen at any speed. However, the greater a motorcycle's speed, the more likely the rider will suffer severe injuries in a crash.

Unlike pedestrian accidents, there is no hard data about what happens to a motorcyclist at specific speeds. Angle, speed, terrain, weather, gear, and the size of the other vehicle involved can all influence crash outcomes.

Here are some facts about what we know regarding survival rates for motorcycle accidents:

  • Motorcycle accidents occur more than 100,000 times per year, with more than 5,000 recorded as fatal.
  • This means that roughly 95% of motorcycle accidents are survived.
  • However, survivable accidents do not mean motorcycle riders walk away unscathed.
  • About 80% of motorcycle riders involved in a crash suffer serious injuries.
  • In other words, only 1 in 5 motorcyclists escapes a crash without suffering serious or fatal injuries.

Motorcycle accident injuries can take months or years to heal, often involving multiple surgeries, months of physical therapy, and lifelong consequences. Impacts with a vehicle or road often mean broken bones and road rash. Lack of proper gear or helmet can cause internal organ damage or traumatic brain injuries.

The fatality rate for motorcycle riders is 29 times higher than that of passengers inside covered vehicles. While there isn’t much riders can do about reckless or negligent drivers, they can wear protective gear and ride defensively while on the road.

How to Increase Your Odds of Survival

Riding a motorcycle exposes you to more risks than a person in a car. Therefore, riders must exercise greater caution.

There are several ways to protect yourself and reduce the chance of injury while riding:

Don’t Ride Impaired - 27% of motorcycle riders killed in 2020 were riding while drunk or slightly impaired. Always ride sober for better reaction time and concentration.

Mind the Speed Limit - About one-third of motorcycle deaths are caused by speeding. Any speed above 30 mph is potentially fatal. Don’t let nice weather and low traffic trick you into riding recklessly.

Wear a Helmet - Helmet use reduces fatalities by 37% for riders. Helmets also significantly reduce the chance and severity of traumatic brain injuries and concussions. Choose a helmet that both fits and is approved by the Department of Transportation.

Wear Body Gear - A helmet may keep you alive in a motorcycle crash, but it can’t protect the rest of your body from serious injuries. Nearly all riders are thrown from their bike, causing them to strike and skid across asphalt, concrete, and any debris on the road. Riding jackets, boots, gloves, and joint pads can prevent severe road rash, a painful condition in which the skin is stripped from the body as it scrapes across the ground.

Be Predictable and Visible - Due to a bike’s size and maneuverability, it's tempting for riders to weave in and around traffic, cutting between cars and lanes. Lane splitting, however, is only allowed in California. A driver in a car often doesn’t expect a motorcyclist to be so close to them, and they may make a sudden maneuver or turn, causing a crash. Keep your distance from larger vehicles and ensure you are highly visible at twilight and night with reflectors and lights.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

Even the most responsible riders can’t eliminate the risk of an accident. In such cases, you need a lawyer who understands the challenges of filing a motorcycle accident claim.

The Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates can hold the at-fault driver or automotive/motorcycle manufacturer accountable for their negligent actions. We investigate all details of a motorcycle accident to determine how it happened and the rightful damages you should be compensated for.

If you have suffered a severe injury in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you may have the right to pursue financial compensation. A motorcycle accident settlement covers medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other costs. Insurance companies often blame riders for an accident, so it’s imperative you speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer at the earliest opportunity.

Our law firm provides free consultations for motorcycle accident victims and their families. We provide compassionate, quick assistance at every phase of a case. For fair compensation and a strong law firm to back up your personal injury claim, contact us today.

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