Motorcycles have always been popular among speed enthusiasts. But a number of emerging trends are driving the increased popularity of motorcycle travel among mainstream consumers.
More motorcycles on the roads also means there will be more serious motorcycle crashes, and victims will need the advice of experienced accident attorneys like the lawyers at Kline & Specter, PC, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
If you or a loved one suffered severe injury or death in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or anywhere nationwide, please contact one of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys for your free lawsuit consultation: 800-243-1100.
Our Love Affair With Motorcycles
In Pennsylvania and nationwide, the migration of the majority of the American population from rural communities to urban and suburban neighborhoods is one of several trends boosting worldwide motorcycle ownership, which is expected to reach 61.2 million by 2040, according to the market research firm Global Industry Analysts.
Motorcycles are more than just transportation. For many "bikers," their motorcycle cements their inclusion in a like-minded social circle and provides a unique form of open-road entertainment.
Here are three more reasons that people are buying and riding motorcycles more than ever before:
- Motorcycles are compact and well-suited to crowded city streets.
- More people desire energy-efficient vehicles.
- More people now enjoy disposable income.
Our Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorneys respect that many drivers who favor bikes continue to be wooed by the trail-blazing mystique that has long been linked to this particular mode of travel. Consider these words from the popular comedic actor Dan Aykroyd: "You don't need a therapist if you own a motorcycle!"
How and Why Motorcycle Accidents Happen
As motorcycle sales mushroom, so too do the number of serious motorcycle accidents and motorcycle crash fatalities. According to the Insurance Information Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: In 2013, the last year for which there are statistics, 88,000 people nationwide were injured in motorcycle accidents while just fewer than 5,000 people died this way.
- That year, motorcycle riders were about 26 times more likely to lose their lives in a crash than car drivers and passengers.
- Also in 2013, motorcycle accident fatalities accounted for about 14 percent of all traffic accident fatalities nationwide.
- During the time span between 2004 and 2014, motorcycle fatalities involving people age 40 and older surged by 39 percent.
Even famed motorcycle experts concede that bikers take on more risk than car drivers when it comes to traveling the open road.
"Riding a motorcycle on today's highways, you have to ride in a very defensive manner," said the American stuntman and motorcycle enthusiast Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel, famous for death-defying motorcycle tricks. "You have to be a good rider, and you have to have both hands and both feet on the controls at all times."
Our motorcycle accident attorneys are acutely aware that after a crash that involves a bike, a thorough investigation is required in order to determine fault.
As it is, motorcycle riders must contend with unfortunate stereotypes.
For instance, bikers are sometimes labeled as heavy partiers. While that's certainly not true of most motorcycle enthusiasts, the fact remains that more than a quarter of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013 involved a rider whose blood alcohol level was high enough for them to be considered drunk or impaired.
Also, motorcycle riders tend to be labeled as "speed demons." Many are responsible. However excessive speed was a factor in more than a third of the fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013.
Traffic accident experts consider "super sports" bikes, which are sometimes called "rocket bikes," to exacerbate these dangers. These vehicles are generally built on racing platforms, and have powerful engines capable of propelling them up to 190 m.p.h.
Fatality rates for these motorcyclists are four times that of the drivers of conventional bikes.
One last issue that doesn't bode well for bikers: Licensing. The Insurance Information Institute reports that one out of four motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2013 was unlicensed to drive their bike.
Licensing indicates that a biker has undergone some degree of safety study or training. Some states — Delaware is among them — even go so far as to mandate insurance discounts for motorcycle riders who enroll in some form of road-safety training.
Protecting Yourself on a Bike
The fact remains that motorcycles carry extra dangers even before a rider climbs on his or her bike. Motorcycles afford less physical protection than cars, and can be difficult for cars and trucks to see on the open road.
It's common for bikes to travel within the many "blind spots" of larger vehicles.
Bikers are quick to lament the reckless driving that happens around them. Drivers of larger vehicles often fail or refuse to respectfully share the road with motorcycle riders, which sets the two groups up for dangerous confrontation.
Here are some of the most common explanations heard by our motorcycle accident attorneys as to how these serious crashes happen in the first place:
- Other vehicles make left-hand turns in front of motorcycles.
- Road hazards such as poor signage or construction are even more dangerous for motorcycle riders.
- Car and truck drivers are distracted by texts, food or conversations.
- Some aggressive drivers simply refuse to observe common driving courtesies and share the road with bikers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a number of tips for decreasing motorcycle injuries and deaths. Here are five of those tips for staying safe while riding a motorcycle:
- Wear helmets. NHTSA has estimated fatalities among riders wearing helmets was reduced by 37 percent.
- Wear jackets, boots and gloves at all times. Leather has also been found to reduce certain injuries.
- Watch for "no zones," or the blind spots around cars and trucks.
- Drive defensively at all times.
- Never ride between lanes in traffic or share a lane with another vehicle.
Securing Your Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If the worst should happen and you or a loved one is involved in a serious motorcycle accident, please contact Kline & Specter in Philadelphia to help safeguard your legal rights. If a lawsuit becomes necessary, you can trust our attorneys to look out for your best interests. You can reach our lawyers online or by calling 800-243-1100. Our law firm litigates serious motorcycle accident lawsuits throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide.