Motorcycle accidents can be devastating to motorcycle riders because unlike motor vehicles, motorcycles have no bumpers, no seatbelts and no airbags. Personal injuries from a motorcycle accident are generally much more severe to both riders and passengers than those experienced by the occupants of cars. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in an accident compared to people in a car. Therefore, it is important for both car drivers and motorcyclists to watch out for each other in order to prevent accidents.
The most common motorcycle collision is caused by a driver making a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle. In Massachusetts, motorcycles are not as prevalent as in other states, and a motorcycle can be easy to miss because a driver is not expecting it to be there. When driving a car, always check twice when making a turn. Keep in mind the expression, “Check twice, save a life.” If driving behind a motorcycle, keep your distance and give it as much room as you would a car.
Safety Precautions to Avoid Motorcycle Collisions
As the minority on the road, motorcycle riders need to take the initiative for their own safety, including the following standard safety precautions:
- Wear a helmet. Riders without a helmet are 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in an accident and three times more likely to suffer brain injuries than those who wear a helmet. Also, wear the right gear to protect yourself from wind, flying bugs, debris and road rash. Because car drivers who have hit a motorcycle often say they just didn’t see them, consider wearing bright colors to stand out.
- Watch your speed and stay alert. Based on past IIHS data, about 48% of yearly motorcycle fatalities involved excessive speed, and alcohol or drugs were a factor in about 42% of such accidents. Nearly half of all motorcycle fatalities were the result of single-vehicle accidents.
- Ride defensively. Research has found that in collisions involving a motorcycle and a car, car drivers were at fault 60% of the time. Be aware of cars suddenly changing lanes, pulling out from side streets, and at intersections where left-turn accidents most often happen. Keep your distance from other vehicles to ensure enough room to stop and for reaction time to unforeseen conditions. Avoid another driver’s blind spots and stay to the left or right of a car in front of you so you can be seen. Keep your headlights on day or night to stay visible.
- Invest in antilock brakes. According to the IIHS, motorcycles with antilock brakes are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than motorcycles without them. ABS helps riders retain steering control during an emergency stop and in slippery conditions.
- Check your motorcycle before each ride. Improperly inflated tires greatly increase safety risks. When tires are underinflated, steering gets hard and the motorcycle may not lean or react as expected.
Personal Injury Coverage in Massachusetts
Finally, in Massachusetts, Personal Injury Protection (PIP)—the no-fault insurance available to persons injured in motor vehicle accidents to cover lost wages and medical expenses—does not apply to motorcycle riders or passengers. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider purchasing optional Medical Payments coverage available through your motor vehicle insurer. This additional coverage acts as private accident insurance and provides payments directly to you in the amount of your medical expenses, even when health insurance has already paid your medical bills.
Call Now for a Free Consultation
If you want more information about motorcycle accident injury claims, contact Attorney Bob Allison today by calling 978-740-9433 or by filling out our online form. You will receive a free consultation to review your case.