The Risks of the Road for Motorcycle Riders

West Chester, Mason, and Cincinnati Ohio

The risks that motorcycle riders face, and the need to protect their rights of recovery after an accident, become readily apparent through a review of the following statistics:

  • In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle's right of way and caused the accident.
  • Motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times as likely to be injured.
  • Per mile traveled in 1998, motorcyclists were about 16 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die, and about 3 times as likely to be injured, in a motor vehicle crash.

Some of the unique problems faced by motorcycle riders on the road include:

  • Visual Recognition: Motorcycles make smaller visual targets, which are more likely to be obscured by other vehicles or road and weather conditions. This is an issue especially at intersections, where approximately 70 percent of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur.
  • Road Hazards: Hazards that are minor irritations for an automobile can be a major hazard for a motorcycle rider. These include potholes, oil slicks, puddles, debris, or other objects on the roadway, ruts, uneven pavement, and railroad tracks.
  • Speed "Wobble" Accidents: Especially at higher speeds, the front end of a motorcycle may become unstable and begin to shake or "wobble." This problem may be due to a misalignment of the front and rear tires of the motorcycle. If an accident is caused by such a high-speed wobble, the manufacturer of the motorcycle might be held financially responsible for any resulting injuries, under a product liability theory.
  • Riding Skills & Familiarity: A motorcycle requires much more skill and physical coordination to operate than a car. Many motorcycle accidents are caused in whole or in part by a rider's lack of basic riding skills, or failure to appreciate the inherent operating characteristics and limitations of the motorcycle.

Finding an Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle, the most important step in your legal recovery is to meet with a skilled attorney to discuss your situation. Issues in your potential claim, including compliance with traffic laws, motor vehicle regulations, medical treatment issues, and liability determinations, all require the expertise of an attorney who is experienced in the area of motorcycle accident liability. In light of legal deadlines for filing injury claims, meeting with an attorney to evaluate your case as soon as possible is highly recommended.