I just bought my first motorcycle. I’m a little concerned about safety. My biker friends think that’s funny—they like to show off their road burn and boast about how drunk they were when a particular accident happened. Are they right to say that motorcycle crashes are no big deal?

Yeah, we’ve met some bikers like that too. One guy we know liked to say, “Chicks dig scars,” right up to the day he had a fatal motorcycle crash near Lumberton.

Don’t believe any of that macho posturing: motorcycle safety is extremely important. Any North Carolina personal injury lawyer will tell you that motorcycle crashes need to be taken very seriously.

About 80,000 to 90,000 people are injured every year in the United States while riding motorcycles. Of these, 4,000 to 5,000 die. Injuries to legs and feet are the most common after a motorcycle accident in North Carolina, but in second place are head and spinal cord injuries. Those accidents can lead to comas, brain damage, lasting paralysis, and death.

Accident injuries: How bad? How often?

There is a qualitative difference between motorcycle injuries and injuries to people riding in passenger vehicles. When we examine the statistics comparing accident severity, motorcyclists always come out the worst. There are three basic reasons for this:

  1. Riders in a passenger vehicle are sheltered in a protective cage of metal and plastic. Bikers have nothing but leather and fabric riding gear protecting their bodies.
  2. Cars have safety devices—seat belts and airbags—to cushion passengers in the event of a collision. Those devices are not practical on a motorcycle.
  3. When a motorcycle suddenly stops in a collision, the full momentum is transferred to the rider, who will often be thrown from the bike. Many motorcycle crash injuries happen when the rider slides along the ground or is thrown into an object. It is much less common for people to be ejected from a passenger vehicle during a traffic accident in North Carolina.


In contrast to accident severity, there is the issue of accident frequency. Those statistics also show motorcyclists face excessive risks. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, motorcyclists have over five and a half times the fatality rate of passenger cars based on every vehicle on the road, and over 35 times the death rate per mile traveled. It’s only because there are so many more cars than motorcycles on the road that we don’t recognize the carnage. With the rising price of gasoline in recent years, there are signs that more people are moving to motorcycles as their preferred mode of transportation, and we can expect fatality rates to climb further if this trend continues.

Tell your friends that they’re wrong: a motorcycle accident is a HUGE deal. So far, they have been lucky. It’s time for your buddies to grow up.

Help when you need it

If, someday, you are hurt in a North Carolina motorcycle crash because someone else wasn’t acting responsibly, you can count on the Speaks Law Firm to provide experienced legal representation if you seek compensation for your injuries. Call 910-341-7570 or 877-593-4233 (toll-free) to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Wilmington. Give us a chance to tell you how we can work to get you recovery for your medical care, lost wages, damaged vehicle, and pain and suffering.
 

R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.