At Kiley Law Group, many of our team members own motorcycles and understand the joy of being out on the open road. We want all riders throughout Massachusetts to enjoy riding their motorcycles. However, we want everyone to be safe.
One way to protect yourself from a motorcycle accident is to understand when and where collisions tend to occur. While a motorcycle accident can occur at any time or location, reports show that the majority of severe motorcycle collisions occur in urban areas and at intersections.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you do not have to go through this difficult time alone. The compassionate legal team at Kiley Law Group is here to help you. Contact our law office today at (888) 435-1321 or fill out the online evaluation form to schedule your free consultation.
Why Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur in Urban Areas?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 60 percent of motorcycle fatalities occur in urban areas compared to 40 percent occurring in rural areas. In fact, the number of fatal accidents for all vehicles, including motorcycles, has recently shifted.
Statistics from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) show that there were more fatal accidents on rural highways than in urban areas between 1977 and 2015. However, urban accidents have accounted for around 55 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents since 2016.
What factors have contributed to the increase in accidents in urban locations?
For one thing, urban areas have significantly more traffic than rural areas. Anywhere motorcycle riders are more likely to be surrounded by heavy levels of traffic is going to present safety hazards and see more accidents.
Also, stop-and-go traffic is especially dangerous for motorcyclists. Many riders have sustained severe injuries as a result of being rear-ended by another vehicle.
Another factor that can contribute to motorcycle accidents in urban areas is road conditions. Potholes, construction, and debris are especially hazardous to motorcyclists and may be more prevalent in urban areas.
In addition, ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles tend to be more common in urban areas. A motorcycle collision with one of these large vehicles traveling at a high speed can result in catastrophic injuries.
Motorcycle Accidents and Intersections
Intersections are a common location for motorcycle accidents. Many accidents at intersections are side-impact or T-bone collisions.
Actions that commonly result in motorcycle accidents at intersections include:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Incorrectly assuming the motorcyclist’s action
- Misjudging the motorcyclist’s speed
- Failure to look before turning or crossing
- Turning with an obstructed view
Collisions commonly occur at intersections when a motorist or motorcyclist:
- Executes a left-hand turn without looking, resulting in a side-impact collision
- Fails to maintain a safe following distance and rear-ends the vehicle in front
- Fails to notice a stopped vehicle or motorcycle and causes a rear-end collision at a stop sign or red light
- Loses control due to unsafe road conditions such as potholes, standing water, construction, crumbing asphalt, or other hazards
Tips for Motorcycles to Stay Safe at Intersections
According to the NHTSA, around 35 percent of motorcycle fatalities occurred at intersections.
Applying the following safety suggestions could rescue the risk of a motorcycle accident at an intersection:
- Be visible. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and select a lane position that puts you in open view. Wearing brightly colored riding gear can help make yourself more visible.
- Do not assume other drivers see you. Even if you are in plain sight, never assume other drivers see you. They may be driving while distracted or you may be in their blind spots.
- Move within your lane. Approaching a vehicle straight on can cause you to appear stationary, making it difficult for motorists to judge your distance and speed. Moving slightly or slowly weaving across your lane as you approach an intersection can prevent this Motion Induced Blindness (MIB).
- Reduce your speed. Collisions often occur when motorists and motorcyclists are driving too fast through an intersection. As you are approaching the intersection, be sure to slow down to a safe speed.
- Ride defensively. Unfortunately, even if you are doing everything you can to be safe while riding, you will likely still have to share the roadway with others who do not prioritize safety. So ride defensively and actively be on the lookout for potential hazards.
The Dangers of Two-Lane Roads
Some of the most scenic routes in Massachusetts are along two-lane roads. Two-lane highways are dangerous because they place motorcyclists in close proximity to oncoming traffic. If other motorists are distracted on the road, they may veer into the adjacent lane and collide with the oncoming motorcycle rider.
Motorcycle accidents on two-lane roads are usually head-on collisions. While head-on collisions are dangerous for any driver, they are especially catastrophic for motorcyclists who do not have the safety protections provided by a car. These types of crashes frequently end in life-altering injuries or fatalities.
Why Are There Fewer Motorcycle Accidents on Highways?
Data from the same NHTSA report quoted earlier also reveals that 92 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents occurred on non-interstate roads compared to 8 percent on interstates. This means that, despite the higher speed limits, interstates are typically safer for motorcyclists than city roads.
Consider some reasons why it makes sense that interstates are safer:
- Interstates and highways do not just have painted road markings, but physical dividers that separate traffic flowing in opposite directions; this practically eliminates the risk of a head-on collision from occurring
- Connecting and merging lanes are generally well-marked with road signs, reducing the risk of a side-impact collision
- Unlike the stop-and-go traffic common in city streets, vehicles on the highway typically flow at a consistent and steady pace
- Typically, interstates have more lanes than city roadways, providing motorcyclists with more space to pass when needed and avoid hazards
What If a Negligent Motorist Flees the Accident Scene?
Sadly, many motorcycle accidents are hit-and-runs. The negligent driver may have run away due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, having outstanding tickets, or even having a warrant out for his or her arrest.
Regardless of the reason, fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal. If the collision only resulted in property damage, then it is a misdemeanor. However, if there were injuries or a fatality, fleeing the accident scene could constitute a felony.
Needless to say, your top priority after being injured in a motorcycle accident should be to seek medical attention. When your health allows you to do so, following the suggestions below could help you locate and recover compensation from the negligent driver.
Make sure to:
- Get the vehicle information. If possible, take a photo of the vehicle that hit you or try to remember the make, model, and license plate number.
- Document the scene. Take photos or videos of your injuries, damage to the motorcycle, and the location of the accident.
- Speak with eyewitnesses. Exchange contact information with any eyewitnesses to the accident. They may have seen the license plate number of the vehicle that hit you or provide other valuable information.
- Check the area for CCTVs. Traffic cameras or security cameras from businesses in the area may have captured the accident and the license plate number of the vehicle that hit you.
- File a police report. Contact law enforcement and inform them of the accident. They may be able to investigate the accident and identify the negligent driver.
- Inform your insurance company. Even if the negligent driver is not caught, you may still be able to collect compensation from your insurance company depending on your policy and coverage.
- Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer. An attorney can help you to navigate the legal system and explore all options for recovering compensation.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Regardless of where your motorcycle accident occurred, you should not have to pay for the cost of someone else’s negligence. A personal injury lawyer can investigate your accident, identify all liable parties, file all necessary paperwork, negotiate with the insurance company, and help you recover the compensation that you deserve.
Depending on the extent of your injuries and who is responsible for the accident you may be entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Your motorcycle accident attorney can calculate the value of your claim.
At Kiley Law Group, we feel strongly that everyone has the right to excellent legal representation regardless of his or her current financial situation. For this reason, we take motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. So unless we win your case and you get paid, you do not owe us anything.
Our law firm has over 40 years of experience handling Massachusetts motorcycle accident cases and has helped our clients recover over $500 million in damages over the decades. Contact our law office today at (888) 435-1321 or fill out the online evaluation form to schedule your free consultation.