Motor vehicle crashes always have the potential to cause devastating damages, but when a motorcycle is involved, the likelihood of severe injury is increased. These accidents often cause significant, life-threatening injuries for the bikers.
Many people have the misconception that motorcycles cause the majority of accidents they are involved in, but that’s all this is—a misconception. The drivers of trucks and cars are at fault for the majority of motorcycle crashes occurring in Kansas City. At Peterson & Associates, P.C., we strive to hold these negligent drivers accountable for the damage they’ve caused and ensure our clients have the resources they need to heal from their injuries and move forward with their lives.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Kansas City
Motorcycle accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from distracted driving to miscalculating distance and speed.
Motorcycles have a smaller profile than other vehicles on the road. They are more difficult to see, which, conversely, makes them easier targets. The important thing to remember about this is that drivers cannot use this as an excuse for causing an accident.
Motorists are responsible for checking their surroundings for safety and ensuring the road is clear for them to pull into traffic or perform any other driving function. Negligent drivers distracted by their mobile phones, eating, talking to passengers, or engaging in other activities may fail to notice motorcycles on the road, leading to collisions.
Failure to Share the Road
Riding a motorcycle is most often thought of as a seasonal activity, so people are not always expecting to see a biker on the road. However, while they are rarer than passenger vehicles, motorcycles do travel on the same roads as cars and trucks relatively frequently.
Drivers have the responsibility to be aware of their surroundings, including motorcycles and their riders. Sharing the road is critical, since drivers who fail to yield right-of-way to motorcyclists at intersections, when merging, or during lane changes can cause accidents.
Aggressive behaviors like cutting off motorcyclists or engaging in road rage can create dangerous situations for bikers. Such behaviors can escalate tensions on the road and lead to collisions or loss of control by motorcyclists.
Tailgating is a particularly dangerous form of aggressive driving. Motorcycles have shorter stopping distances than cars, so tailgating reduces the motorcyclist's reaction time and can result in rear-end collisions.
Miscalculating Distance and Speed
A recent study conducted by a Texas university found that motorcycle accidents may be caused by drivers’ inability to accurately gauge a bike’s distance and speed. This issue with perception is caused by the size of motorcycles and how the human brain tends to process information.
When driving, distance and speed judgments must be made instantly, and our brains use depth and relative size indicators to calculate these factors. Because motorcycles are smaller, the same data cannot be used to determine how far away they are or how fast they are going.
Common Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Crashes
Some of the most common injuries suffered by bikers are:
- Broken bones. Motorcyclists are at a high risk of suffering fractures, including broken arms, legs, ribs, wrists, ankles, and collarbones. The impact of a collision or being thrown from a motorcycle can lead to bone fractures.
- Lacerations. Accidents can cause deep cuts and lacerations when riders come into contact with other vehicles, road surfaces, or debris. These injuries often require stitches or surgical intervention.
- Spinal injuries. Severe impacts or falls from motorcycles can result in spinal cord injuries, leading to partial or complete paralysis. Spinal injuries can have long-lasting or permanent effects on a biker's mobility and quality of life.
- Internal bleeding. Blunt force trauma experienced during motorcycle accidents can cause internal injuries, leading to bleeding in organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys.
- Traumatic brain injury. Head injuries are a significant concern for motorcyclists, even if they are wearing helmets. Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe and debilitating brain damage.
- Skin abrasions. During an accident, motorcyclists may slide or skid along the road surface, causing friction burns and abrasions commonly called road rash. These injuries can be painful, prone to infection, and may require extensive wound care and skin grafts.
- Whiplash. The sudden impact or abrupt stop during a collision can cause the head and neck to snap forward and backward rapidly, resulting in whiplash injuries. Whiplash can cause neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and mobility limitations.
- Facial disfigurement. Motorcyclists involved in accidents may sustain severe facial injuries, including fractures of the jaw, cheekbones, nose, or eye sockets, that can lead to facial disfigurement, scarring, and functional impairments.
Biker Bias and Finding the Right Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Despite most motorcycle crashes being caused by the passenger vehicle driver, people often assume the biker is to blame. This bias can even affect the outcome of a legal case. The following misconceptions are the most commonly held biases:
- Bikers know motorcycles are dangerous, so they assume the risks of injury related to road hazards and other drivers.
- Motorcycle riders are always speeding and driving recklessly.
- Only gang members and daredevils ride motorcycles.
These biases cause people to form the opinion that motorcycles and their riders are a nuisance, which can lead to a lack of compassion when bikers are injured in accidents. Motorcycle accident victims will need help from personal injury attorneys to seek the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
The legal system is complex, and navigating motorcycle accident claims alone can be overwhelming and disheartening. Finding an attorney with relevant experience in motorcycle crashes can make a difference in the outcome of your case.
Peterson & Associates, P.C. has a team of personal injury attorneys in Kansas City ready to help you battle biker bias, build a solid case, and fight for fair compensation for your injuries. You don’t have to go through this alone.