In the opening scenes of the 1969 film Easy Rider , the character played by Peter Fonda removes his wristwatch, stares at it reflectively, then throws it into the dirt and sets off on a Harley Davidson down a long desert road.
What better image than this to engender the pathos of motorcycle riding?
For many people, riding a motorcycle is about freedom from the constraints of time, the stress of work, and the responsibilities of home life. For others, it is a practical and inexpensive mode of transportation. Regardless of your own motivation for riding a motorcycle, driving an open-air, two-wheeled vehicle at high speeds puts you at risk for serious personal injury.
Personally, I've heard many bikers say, "There are two types of bikers: those that have crashed and those that are going to crash."
Obviously, the statistics of motorcycle accidents don't reflect the above quote. But a 2012 report from the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirms that motorcycle drivers are at a higher risk for personal injury on the road than other automobile drivers.
The NHSTA's 2012 Motor Vehicle Crashes report shows that motorcycle rider fatalities have been increasing since 2010. In 2011, there were 4,630 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes, while in 2012 there were 4,957. The number of motorcyclists injured in crashes significantly jumped from 2011 to 2012, going from 81,000 to 93,000.
In total, motorcycle fatalities in 2012 accounted for 15% of total crash fatalities that year, which is startling when you consider that registered motorcycles only represented less than 5% of the total number of registered vehicles that year.
As a law firm that represents injured motorcyclists, we are eager to see what the NHTSA's reports for 2013 and 2014 reveal about motorcycle injuries. The NHTSA is deliberate in their compiling of statistics, so we will have to wait.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, then it is imperative that you contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in motorcycle-related injuries. The injuries associated with motorcycle accidents can range from minor to severe and can include loss of limb(s), brain damage, and spinal fractures.
Besides grievous bodily harm, motorcycle injuries can also result in lost wages and other devastating financial setbacks.
Quite often, motorcyclists are not at fault in accidents. A topic we will focus on in the future is the danger of being cut off by inattentive drivers while riding a motorcycle. According to another NHTSA report, in 2011, 38% of motorcycle fatalities were the result of another vehicle turning left in front of a motorcycle going straight, passing, or overtaking another vehicle.