Motorcycle accidents have a higher rate of causing serious and catastrophic injuries than those involving only passenger vehicles. Sadly, it’s more common for motorcyclists to be killed in a traffic collision, even if they are wearing their helmets.
Motorcyclists risk their lives more than other drivers while on the road, yet insurance companies are unlikely to offer fair compensation for injuries and other damages. They’d rather look out for their bottom line. Bikers should know that they have the same entitlements as other motorists, which includes their right to take legal action if they are harmed in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver.
The legal team at the SMT Legal understands the unique challenges that bikers face, and we’re proud to help injured accident victims in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. Call an experienced motorcycle accident attorney today at 1-888-976-2529 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The motorcycle crash report put out by the Insurance Information Institute cited data that stated that motorcyclists are about five times more likely to be injured in a crash and 26 times more likely to be killed than occupants of passenger vehicles. These are startling statistics.
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is other drivers failing to notice the presence of motorcycles on the road. A lack of awareness can show up in various ways. Some of the most common ways include:
- Tailgating a motorcycle
- Operating a vehicle while distracted
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist
- Making a left turn onto a street and striking a motorcycle
- Entering the path of a motorcycle at an intersection
- Failing to check blind spots
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law states that anyone operating or riding a motorcycle as a passenger must wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation unless they meet the following requirements:
- Completing a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation approved motorcycle safety course
- Being over 21 years of age with at least two years of experience riding
To be sure that a motorcycle helmet is compliant, look for the DOT sticker on the outside. Helmets must also be permanently marked with the size, model designation, name of the manufacturer, and the manufacture date. Every rider must wear protective eyewear. While shatter-proof eyewear isn’t required, it is recommended.
Accident Statistics for Motorcycles
The Crash Facts and Statistics report from PennDOT states that 189 bikers were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2016, and about 3,300 suffered injuries. Compared to the 3,500 motorcyclists that were involved in collisions that year, that’s a very high percentage rate.
Only about 40 percent of bikers across the U.S. use a helmet. Nineteen states have instated mandatory helmet laws, but Pennsylvania isn’t one of them. In 2016, 94 of the 189 motorcyclists killed in collisions and 1,245 bikers who sought medical treatment for crash-related injuries in Pennsylvania weren’t wearing their helmets.