There are few vehicles with the allure and style of a motorcycle. A motorcycle’s curves and impressive speed are are the basis for an attraction for millions of people everywhere. One of the delights of motorcycle riders is the ability to take in natural sights without encumbrances. U.S. Route 62 is an ideal place for this joyous activity: its stretch of 329.9 miles across the state of Arkansas leads travelers through a mountainous landscape and a series of historic small towns. However, this highway has also been home to some tragic accidents, many of them involving motorcycles.
Statistics on Motorcycle Crashes in the US
According to estimates by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, the number of deaths in motorcycle accidents was 26 times the number of deaths in crashes involving cars for every mile traveled in 2013. A total of 4,381 motorcyclists died as a result of crashes in the same year. In fact, motorcycles accounted for 13% of all motor vehicle crash deaths, a sizable figure given that the number of motorcycles is far lower than the number of cars circulating in the United States.
However, the use of a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet can reduce the likelihood of sustaining a serious brain injury when an accident does occur. According to the DOT, helmets reduce the risk of motorcycle fatalities by 37%. Furthermore, use of an appropriate helmet has been shown to decrease the likelihood of sustaining any brain injury by 67%. In the state of Arkansas, all motorcycle operators and passengers who have yet to reach 21 years of age are required to wear a helmet.
Why are Motorcycle Accidents More Dangerous?
While motorcycles are nimble vehicles that can deftly avoid threats and road hazards, they cannot avoid all threats. Unfortunately when an accident does occur, the injuries are often more severe than what would be expected from a similar accident involving a passenger vehicle. Reasons for more severe motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Speed – Motorcycles are capable of reaching impressive speeds. Many street bikes can and have reached speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour. Not only are they capable of great velocity, but their acceleration is also impressive when compared to an average car. High speeds and significant changes in speed make an accident more likely and lead to more severe consequences.
- Size – Because bikes are smaller than vehicles, they are often missed or otherwise not seen by other drivers. This risk is particularly pronounced during night-time accidents where a lack of proper lights, reflectors and other safety mechanisms can mean grave danger. In car-motorcycle accidents, car drivers will frequently claim they were unable to see the approaching motorcycle.
- Exposure – No matter what size of car is involved in an accident, drivers and passengers will have the protection of seatbelts and airbags to shield them from the impact of outside elements. In the case of a bike crash, operators and passengers can be thrown clear with nothing to shield them from the impact with the pavement or other vehicles.
- Skill – Negotiating a tricky intersection, completing a turn or making a full stop on a motorcycle is far more complicated than in a car. It involves maintaining a sense of balance while applying the correct commands to the vehicle’s controls. Under adverse weather conditions or while traveling above the speed limit, even the most skilled driver can be under great risk performing these tasks on a road like U.S. Route 62.
The above captures some of the reasons why motorcycle accidents typically produce more severe injuries than accidents involving passenger vehicles. While many other reasons exist, these are often the most important.
Common Injuries Resulting from Motorcycles
Motorcycle accidents can produce injuries of any type and often lead to multiple injuries. Some of the more common harms that can be suffered in a motorcycle crash or accident include:
- Cuts and bruises – Cuts, bruises, and friction burns are extremely common in motorcycle accidents. Skin abrasions known as “road rash” are especially common. Injuries of this type are caused when exposed skin is dragged across the road surface. Road rash can result in flesh being ground off of the body and is extremely painful.
- Fractures and muscle tears – The lack of protection to the body leads to an increased probability of breaking bones, tearing muscles or spraining joints, as the driver or passenger face other surfaces or vehicles directly with great force.
- Brain injury – TBIs are one of the most serious types of all injuries. A TBI can seriously hinder a person’s ability to communicate, think and move. Wearing a helmet can help reduce the dangers of brain injury and even death.
Contact an Experienced Arkansas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
A motor vehicle accident can mean more than a setback on your way to work: it can be a life-altering experience that results in years of medical and other rehabilitation. For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak has fought to hold negligent and careless parties financially accountable for the injuries they inflict. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation, please call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.