The majority of motorcycle crashes are caused by other drivers who are in either cars, trucks, or SUV’s. Because motorcyclists are directly exposed to other vehicles, over 80% of all motorcycle crashes incur a significant injury or fatality. Over the past few decades, while other kinds of motor fatalities have decreased, motorcyclist fatalities have doubled.
Nationwide, last year there were 4,798 motorcycle fatalities and 64 of them came from Washington State. This is a slight decline, both nationwide and statewide, but motorcycles still remain very dangerous people who ride them. Being struck while riding on a motorcycle in Seattle, Kirkland, Bellingham, Olympia or anywhere in Washington State can be life-altering.
While there are many laws that protect motorcyclists in the state, there is still the opportunity for significant harm to riders.Motorcycle Laws in Washington State
There are many laws in Washington State that are designed to help protect motorcyclists. Protection in the form of the right clothing and equipment are essential, but having proper visibility is also important as a ride must be able to maintain their whereabouts wherever they are.
It is the law in Washington State to wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle. The rider, should he or she be in an accident, is much more likely to survive and avoid serious brain injuries if the rider is wearing a helmet. It also the law in Washington that riders have eye protection.
Wearing the appropriate riding gear is also extremely important. This means wearing the appropriate boots or close-toed shoes, gloves, goggles and hearing protection to keep the motorcyclist safe on the road. The percentage chance of a crash diminish significantly if a rider is able to spot potential problems either on the road or the behavior of a driver who does not appear attentive, making sure there is plenty of space between the other cars on the road and the motorcycle, using proper signals and making sure brake signals and taillights are working properly, but most of all, making sure the motorcycle is visible and noticeable to other drivers who may easily miss the bike in the fast pace lanes of traffic.
Braking is an important aspect of preventing motorcycle accidents. If a motorcyclist is traveling at 60 miles per hour and brakes suddenly, it can take up to 360 feet to fully stop. If the biker is distracted or has a delayed reaction, it can take even longer. Following too closely to another car or being followed too closely is another common cause that a motorcyclist can remedy by adjusting their speed and position on a motorcycle.
Statistics prove that the vast majority of motorcycle accidents take place at intersections. A driver’s left turn is the most common form of an accident. A motorcyclist most use extreme caution around vehicles who may be attempting to make a left turn to make sure they are visible to the other driver.
Surface hazards are another common reason why motorcycle accidents occur. Oil spots, debris, construction plate, manhole covers, gravel and rocks can all pose serious hazards to a motorcyclist. Combine that with an inattentive driver in a car nearby and you have what could be a deadly combination.
If you ride a motorcycle at night, the visibility of the driver is greatly diminished, which greatly increases the chance for an accident. Many of the more serious crashes occur at night because other drivers on the road simply cannot see the motorcyclist. It is critically important for a motorcyclist to make sure they are visible to others on the road while riding at night and make sure that their headlamps are working properly and their taillights are also working to be as visible as possible for others on the road.
Group riding can make riding on a motorcycle much safer because there is more visibility for other motorists on the road. However, there are some very particular laws that apply to riding in groups in Washington State. For instance, it is illegal for more than two riders to ride side by side. Even side by side riding poses risks and hazards, however, because riders do not have the same space and opportunity to move on the road to avoid potential debris or roadblocks that could cause a crash. A more staggered formation is the best approach.Common Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
Given how vulnerable and exposed a motorcyclist is to other, larger vehicles such as cars and trucks on the road, the injuries from a motorcycle crash can be very serious and even deadly. Even if a motorcyclist wears all of the proper gear, such as boots and a riding jacket, the chances are high that they can be harmed. The most common injuries from a motorcycle accident are:
- Head injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Burns, including road burn
- Broken bones
These kinds of injuries rarely just heal on their own. Rather, they take extensive medical
care to treat. If you are suffering from one of these injuries, you also need to see the appropriate medical professional. This could be any number of healthcare professionals. This could range from a doctor, a chiropractor, an osteopath, a physiatrist, or even a physical therapist. These healthcare providers have the knowledge and experience to return you to health.Common Reasons Motorcycle Accidents Happen
Unfortunately, even if a motorcyclist obeys the rules of the road, follows all laws and drives safely, there is still the possibility for a serious or fatal crash with an inattentive drive who is operating a car, truck, or SUV. Most crashes occur because the driver of the vehicle simply was not paying close enough attention and failed to see the motorcyclist. Other reasons include:
- Texting while driving
- Driving while intoxicated or high
- Talking on the phone while driving
- Making a left turn suddenly
- Failing to yield
- Distracted by GPS or technology on the dash
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. There are other reasons motorcycle accidents
happen as well. Regardless of how the accident happen, the important thing is to be able to show that you were fault-free and the crash happened because of the other driver’s negligence.Common Motorcycle Brands on The Road
While Harley Davidson might be the most well-known motorcycle on the road, there are many other motorcycles that populate the streets and highways in Seattle, Kirkland, Bellingham, and Olympia as well as Washington State. They are:
As a whole, motorcycle sales have declined over time. In 2017, 472,000 motorcycles
were sold, which is down from one million motorcycles that were purchased in 2007. Measured by market-size, Harley Davidson has 35% of the market, with Honda coming in at second with 15%, Yamaha at 13%, and Kawasaki at 9%.How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, you have legal rights against the driver who harmed you. You may be able to recover the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Future wages from work
- Out of pocket expenses such as repayment for a cane, brace, or wheelchair
In motorcycle crash cases, even if it seems as though it is very obvious that the fault belongs on the driver who hit you, you still have to prove your damages. This is because in every negligence case the burden of proof is on the harmed person. Possible ways to prove the negligence of the at-fault driver include obtaining the police report, if there is one, or hiring an accident reconstructionist to come to the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, inspect photographs and repair estimates, and come up with a report showing how the collision occurred and the forces of impact the collision likely had on the driver.
The Jackman Law Firm can successfully negotiate with the insurance company for the driver who struck you. We have worked with hundreds of insurance companies and insurance adjusters over the years and we know how to get them to come to the table with money that is equal to what you have gone through. Sometimes, however, negotiations just fall apart, and because of that we have to file a lawsuit. If this comes to pass, we have the know-how and experience to successfully prove your case in court and obtain a favorable result for you.
Why go through this difficult process alone? The Jackman Law Firm has helped many motorcyclists obtain compensation for their injuries. Call for a free consultation.