The most common assumption about motorcycle accidents is that they are collisions caused either by reckless riders or automobile drivers with poor peripheral vision. In many motorcycle accidents, however, this assumption is simply not true. As studies indicate, each year there are a shocking number of deaths from motorcycle accidents involving no other vehicles or pedestrians. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 38,000 motorcyclists died in single vehicle motorcycle crashes over the course of a 15-year period.
Common causes of single motorcycle crashes
While each accident involves a unique set of circumstances, the NHTSA has identified the most common factors involved in single motorcycle accidents. Specifically, the majority of fatalities in single motorcycle crashes were associated with:
- Vehicle maneuvering
- Curve negotiation
- Collisions with fixed objects
- Collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists and animals
Another common cause of these accidents is crash avoidance maneuvers, which involve unexpected braking and sudden steering movements that result in the motorcycle and rider being thrown long distances.
The lack of other vehicle involvement in single motorcycle accidents does not mean a rider’s injuries will be any less severe. Indeed, in such accidents riders may sustain concussions, brain damage, broken limbs, soft tissue damage and facial disfigurement. And, the road to recovery may be a long one, with steep medical bills and unexpected challenges.
Recovery is possible
Despite the harrowing statistics, recovery is possible for victims of single motorcycle accidents. Take, for example, the case of Airman First Class Clint Williams, whose motorcycle locked up and launched him into a tree. While Airman Williams wore full protective gear, the sudden stop and impact with the tree left him with broken bones and a cracked skull. After being unconscious and in a coma for 10 days, Williams awoke and persevered through an 11-month recovery process through which his life eventually returned to normal.
While there may not be another vehicle involved in single motorcycle accidents, other individuals may still be liable for the collision. When swerving to avoid others is an issue, there may be complex legal issues involved with apportioning liability. In such cases, a seasoned lawyer can be critical to a rider receiving the compensation they deserve.