Car vs. Motorcycle Accidents: Similarities and Differences
When comparing motorcycle accidents vs. car accidents, motorcycle wrecks are in a different, usually more devastating category. Although some similarities to auto accidents exist, motorcycle accidents differ due to the risks involved with operating a motorcycle, the causes of accidents, injuries sustained, and liability issues.
Since motorcycles only have two wheels, no seatbelts or airbags, and of course, are much smaller than other vehicles, they are inherently more dangerous. Furthermore, motorcycles lack the protection of being enclosed and shielded by metal. As opposed to car drivers, some of the major risks that motorcyclists face include limited visibility to car drivers, road hazards such as debris, rocks, and mud, and less stability. Motorcycle accidents often result in injury and are more challenging to resolve than car accidents.
How Motorcycle vs. Car Accidents Are Different
In general, motorcycle crashes are more life-altering, expensive, and traumatic. Some critical distinctions include:
- Motorcyclists often suffer more severe and permanent injuries due to their vulnerability on the road
- Motorcyclists may need additional long-term financial support to pay for medical care after permanent spinal cord or brain injury
- Victims of motorcycle accidents will often face additional challenges in court from jurors who see bikers as inherently “reckless” or risky
- Many victims of motorcycle accidents need additional compensation for lost long-term wages and medical expenses
- Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents result in the wrongful death of the motorcycle rider and/or their passengers.
Motorcycle vs. Car Accident Statistics
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Studies and statistics regarding motorcycle accidents have proven:
- Deaths in motorcycle accidents are approximately 30 times higher than fatalities in car accidents
- Motorcycle riders over the age of 40 are approximately 20 times more likely to be injured in an accident than car drivers of the same age
- Motorcycle riders under the age of 40 are approximately 36 times more likely to be fatally injured in an accident than drivers that are the same age
- Motorcycle accidents result in injury or death 80 percent of the time
- Motorcycles represent approximately 2 percent of registered vehicles, but approximately 5 percent of all highway fatalities
Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics
Car accident statistics and studies differ from those regarding motorcycle accidents. However, there are still large numbers of injured and fatally injured car accident victims. Here are some scary data:
- The US Department of Transportation estimates that the average driver will be involved in some type of vehicle accident every 6 years and that drivers will have a close call at least once or twice a month
- In one recent year, there were 39,189 vehicle crash fatalities nationwide. Included in this number were 27,472 drivers and 10,036 passengers that were fatally injured
- According to the National Safety Council, there are over 12 million motor vehicle accidents annually, which includes over 20 million vehicles
- Statistics show that there are over 2 million disabling injuries from vehicle accidents annually
- Studies show that as many as 75 percent of car accident injury victims still have symptoms as long as 6 months after the crash
- According to a National Highway Traffic Administration study, approximately 28 percent of occupants in motor vehicle accidents suffer minor to moderate injuries, and about 6 percent sustain severe or fatal injuries
While most motorcycle accident lawyers also handle car accident cases, not all car accident attorneys accept motorcycle crash claims. With different insurance requirements and other complicating factors, motorcycle cases are usually more complex and can be more difficult to resolve successfully than a standard car collision claim. If you've been in a motorcycle collision, look for a personal injury lawyer who has experience protecting riders and not just drivers.
Motorcycle Rider Safety Tips
Car and motorcycle accidents occur every day, and while this is not going to stop, there are certain measures that can help reduce injuries and fatalities in motorcycle crashes. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road and are often not seen by other drivers until it is too late to avoid a collision. Riders should wear bright colors or leathers for protection and should always wear a helmet. If the helmet does not have a face shield, riders should consider wearing protective goggles. Additionally, motorcyclists should avoid riding at night as much as possible; it is more difficult for other drivers to see them, therefore increasing the risk of collision.
Tips for staying safe include:
- Helmet Use: Wearing a helmet can protect your body and your legal rights. A helmet that fits properly may not prevent injury completely, but it will protect your head, face, and eyes. Head injuries are the leading cause of death for motorcycle riders. Also, proving your accident claim and the injuries you suffered can be easier if you were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
- Get the Right Gear: Leather and other specialized or armored motorcycle gear can help protect you from sliding across asphalt or from other road hazards like small rocks. Motorcycle boots are also a good idea to protect your feet not only from the asphalt in the event of a crash but from the heat of the engine as well. Bright colors or reflective material help increase your visibility to other drivers on the road.
- Riding within Your Skills: Make sure you always ride within your skill level. Do not attempt to travel at high speeds or in traffic if you are incapable.
- Leave Enough Space: While motorcycles may take less space to stop and maneuver, they still need more room than you might think. Practice stops in a safe space on your bike so you know how much space to give yourself in traffic and leave generous following distance between yourself and the car in front of you.
- Avoid Distraction: Distracted driving is a bad idea in the first place, but it is worsened when riding a bike. If you are fiddling with your phone, your reaction time is cut, putting you at higher risk for collision.
- Look Twice: Never assume the driver sees you; ride defensively and take responsibility for staying safe around cars.
- Watch the Weather: Motorcycles are not as stable as cars, and riding in the rain is much riskier on a bike. Two wheels only give you half the traction of a car. Additionally, without windshield wipers, your visibility is compromised.
Common Motorcycle-Car Accident Injuries
While injuries from car and motorcycle accidents vary in severity, there are several common injuries. Some are minor and will heal in only a few days, and others are permanent and may result in disability. In both accidents, there is a risk for lacerations, broken bones, spine, back, and neck injuries, internal injuries, and concussion or traumatic brain injury. It is important to remember that victims of car accidents, unlike motorcycles, have the added safety of enclosure, airbags, and seatbelts. Furthermore, motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car and 5 times more likely to be injured.
Motorcycle accidents have a tendency to cause injuries very similar to car accident injuries, although there are several injuries that are unique to motorcycle accidents. For example, motorcycle accidents tend to cause what is known as road burns or road rash. This injury involves motorcyclists suffering friction burns that shear away skin and tissue when they are dragged along the asphalt at high speed because of an accident. Biker's arm is another unique motorcycle injury where motorcyclists suffer severe damage to their arm's bones and tissue when they absorb the impact of a collision in an accident with another motor vehicle.
Seek an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident and sustained serious bodily or head injuries, you should consult a motorcycle accident attorney who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Many victims of motorcycle accidents are left permanently disabled or unable to work. The personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group understand the medical and personal costs suffered by accident victims and their families, and it's our mission to fight for you and protect your legal rights.
We will take every step necessary to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation, and long-term care, depending on your unique circumstances.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765