As sun and warmer weather arrive, motorcyclists start hitting the roads. In 2016, more than 8.6 million motorcycle owners registered their bikes in the U.S. That same year, 5,286 riders were killed, which accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities. The total injuries have been released yet, but there were 88,000 injuries in 2015.
Almost one-quarter of all motorcycle accidents involve the bike hitting a fixed object like a tree. The remainder of these accidents involves a collision with a vehicle, road conditions, or some other obstacle that’s unexpected and moves into your path. If you’re on the roads this summer and are in a motorcycle accident, what do you need to do?
Always Wear an Approved Helmet
Before you even head out, make sure you’re properly equipped to be out on your bike. Motorcycle helmets must be able to handle the impact that occurs when a head an object at high speeds. DOT Standards prove a helmet design has been tested and can handle that impact. It does that by dropping the helmet from different heights onto steel anvils.
Snell is the other set of standards used. Snell tests are a little more advanced by working in angular drops, too. It’s designed to replicate a crash where motorcyclist’s head hits the edge of a signpost or guardrail.
Your helmet needs to have a sticker stating it passed DOT testing. If the helmet also has Snell certification, that’s even better.
The helmet must fit correctly. The helmet has to fit your head and not move around. The chin strap should also fit snug and not move. Remember that the top edge of the opening for your visor is going to sit below the forehead. It should line up with your eyebrows.
Dress to Protect Yourself
A short trip across pavement or gravel will tear apart your flesh. It’s a horrifying thought, but it’s an important reason why proper attire is important. A leather jacket with protection on the elbows is one thing you should wear. Jeans or leather pants and leather boots rather than sneakers are equally important when you’re riding.
You’ve dressed appropriately and have your helmet. You set off never expecting to be in a crash, but that’s happened.
Common Motorcycle Crashes
One of the most common motorcycle crashes occurs when a car is taking a left and doesn’t see you. The car pulls in front of you. Your options are to swerve, get ready for the collision, or hit the brakes hard. If you hit the brakes, there is the chance that the sudden stop will cause you to flip.
Lane changes are another common cause of an accident. The driver of a car is pulling into the lane and doesn’t notice you in the blind spot. It’s hard to avoid these accidents. Staying as visible as possible is your only defense.
Finally, there are road hazards. Someone is doing spring clean-up and blows all the leaves in their front yard into the road. You come around the corner, lose traction on the leaves, and crash. Gravel in the road following a rainstorm, fallen tree branches, and grass clippings are other road hazards.
Your Injuries Dictate What Happens Next
For whatever reason, you’ve crashed. You may be shaken. You could be seriously injured. You might be alert, but you could be unconscious. Your injuries dictate a lot of what happens next.
If you’re badly injured, you won’t probably remember the police arriving. Focus is on getting you to the hospital quickly for tests and treatments. Broken bones need to be set. Internal bleeding must be stopped. You could need surgery or a CT scan. This is a priority. Let doctors do what’s necessary to get you on the road to recovery.
If you’re okay, you can get your bike out of the road. Witnesses and bystanders will offer to help, and you should allow them to help. You may feel okay, but you could still have injuries that you don’t currently notice because you’re in shock and have adrenaline surging.
Talk to the police and give your contact information. You want a copy of the accident report for your insurance claim. Get the officer’s name, contact information, and case number.
When you’re able, call your motorcycle insurance company. They’ll help you through the rest of the claim. They may deal with the other driver’s insurance, or you might have to make that call. This starts the insurance company’s investigation into what happened, who was at fault, how much it will cost to repair or replace your bike, and what your medical bills and lost income come to.
Have You Talked to a Motorcycle Accident Attorney for Advice?
If you’re in a motorcycle accident, take care of yourself first. Once you’re home or recuperated enough to make a call, put CZR Law on your to-do list. Negligence is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. If another car failed to see you and you’d taken every precaution to drive safely, you need to know your rights.
The attorneys at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley provide free consultations. Let our attorneys look at your accident report and see if the settlement offer you’ve received is fair. Call 1-888-CZR-FIRST to learn more about your legal options.