For motorcycle riders in Virginia, 2017 was a dangerous year. NBC 12 reports that motorcycle fatalities spiked by nearly 50 percent between 2016 and 2017. This left the 2017 fatality rate at the highest it has been in a decade. The statistic is even more alarming when one considers that there were actually fewer motorcycles on the road in 2017 than 2016. The DMV reported a drop of about 2,000 registered motorcycles during that time.
All of these facts raise important safety questions for motorcycle riders in Virginia. It is important to understand the causes of motorcycle accidents in order to improve your ability to effectively avoid them.
Understanding the Problem
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents in the United States result in injury or death. Motorcycle accidents tend to be far more harmful than passenger vehicle accidents due to the lack of protection for drivers and passengers. This is why it is so important for motorcycle riders - perhaps even more so than passenger vehicle drivers - to avoid collisions altogether.
Many of the causes of motorcycle accidents are attributable to the basic differences between a motorcycle and a larger car or truck. Motorcycles, being smaller, are more difficult for other drivers to see and avoid. It is therefore important that motorcycle operators use their horns and lights as necessary to alert other drivers of their presence. Ride defensively, and never assume that another driver can see you or will yield the right of way.
The basic differences between motorcycles and passenger vehicles can also make it difficult for riders to safely operate a motorcycle. New riders especially may be unfamiliar with the different controls and riding skills required. Even experienced riders can be placed in a dangerous situation, especially if they are riding a bike that is new, borrowed, or otherwise unfamiliar. Take the time to get to know your vehicle. Spend time riding in a parking lot or other open space before entering heavy traffic. Be sure that you are comfortable with the horsepower of the particular motorcycle you are operating.
NHTSA also reports that alcohol is a factor in about 43 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents. Because motorcycles require greater physical control than cars or trucks, alcohol can be even more dangerous to a motorcycle operator than the operator of a passenger vehicle. This is an avoidable problem. In the age of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing apps, it is easier than ever to get a ride exactly when and where you need it.
Of course, even the safest motorcycle operator will not always be able to avoid accidents. A negligent driver who causes an accident has a legal obligation to compensate all the financial losses he or she causes. Our motorcycle accident attorneys know just how devastating the losses suffered in an accident can be. Motorcycle accident injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for all of their losses.