Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that motorcycle deaths were down 22 percent last year in Alabama and more than 7 percent nationwide.
Although any reduction in fatalities is good news, those figures may be more of a fluke than a trend. As much as safety advocates want to tout 2013 as the start of a downward trajectory, it’s more of a stabilization of the statistics, following a big spike in motorcycle deaths in 2012.

Birmingham motorcycle injury lawyers note the primary factors in the 2012 increase had to do with a warmer-than-usual riding season and higher-than-average gas prices. Better weather is more conducive to riding, and rising gas prices prompts people to choose a cheaper alternative to cars and sport utility vehicles.

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Amputation injuries in the U.S. have been on the rise over the past decade, as numerous veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are survivors who have lost limbs in the course of their service.
But our Alabama personal injury lawyers know that veterans aren’t the only ones who have been at high risk. Those involved in certain types of motor vehicle accidents (particularly motorcycle wrecks) have had to endure such injury, as have those who have suffered on-the-job injuries – particularly in fields that require the routine use of industrialized, mechanical equipment.

For example, recently in Missouri a glass manufacturing firm was cited by inspectors with the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration after an employee suffered a finger amputation while repairing a machine. Investigators would later learn that the incident stemmed from the employer’s failure to shut off power to certain energy sources before the maintenance was initiated. OSHA called the oversight “unacceptable,” and fined the firm $137,000.

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Earlier this month on Highway 119 in Birmingham, three people died tragically in a crash involving two motorcycles and a truck, according to Jefferson County investigators.
Our Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyers understand that two motorcycle passengers, a man and a woman in their 40s, as well as the 19-year-old driver of the truck, were pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver reportedly lost control of his vehicle for unknown reasons, sliding into one of the motorcycles, causing both vehicles to go airborne over a guardrail and into a ditch. A second motorcyclist was forced to swerve and lay down his bicycle to avoid the crash, causing both himself and his passenger to suffer head injuries.

While all of the details in this case are still under investigation, it would be interesting to find out whether the second motorcycle was equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), in light of a new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute. The research shows that motorcycles that have ABS are about 30 percent less likely to be involved in fatal crashes, as compared to those motorcycles that aren’t equipped with ABS.

What’s more, there is a 20 percent reduction in the rate of crash claims when motorcycles are equipped with ABS and also a nearly 30 percent reduction in the number of rider injury claims with ABS motorcycles.

The ABS system’s impact was even more pronounced when it was found present in vehicles with combined braking systems (CBS). These are systems that integrate the motorcycle’s rear and front braking controls. When these two systems are used together, the crash rate drops by more than one-third.

It’s been known for some time that ABS is advantageous to motorcycle riders, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has urged federal traffic officials to require ABS to be mandatory on all newly-manufactured motorcycles. Now, with even more evidence of the benefits in hand, both the insurance institute and the highway loss data institute are formally petitioning the government for a change. Specifically, the two think tanks are putting pressure on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The U.S. is actually slow to jump on board with such requirements. The European Union is already requiring that all motorcycles with engine displacements of 125 cc or more be equipped with ABS as of January 2016.

The reason that ABS is so effective has to do with the ability to prevent a potentially deadly fall. In a regular motor vehicle, when wheels lock, it could mean a minor skid. However, for someone on a two-wheeled vehicle, those locked wheels could cause the rider to lose balance.

With an ABS, the system will prevent a lock-up by instead automatically reducing the brake pressure if it senses that the wheel may stop rotating. The pressure will again increase after traction is restored. This also gives the rider confidence that he or she can brake fully without having to worry about their wheels seizing up.

The recent study controlled for factors such as vehicle age, make, model and rider age and gender.

Riders can’t control the careless or negligent actions of other drivers. But giving them the tools to safely and effectively respond to those hazards can result in a dramatic reduction of motorcycle injuries and fatalities.

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Just days ago, a man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the summer 2011 motorcycle crash in Fairhope that claimed the life of a 59-year-old Tennessee man. The rider died at the scene, and authorities later determined the driver of the other vehicle had consumed marijuana shortly before the crash. getyourmotorrunning.jpg

Tragic as such incidents are, our Alabama motorcycle injury attorneys understand they are likely to become more common, per a new study by researchers at Brown University in Rhode Island, published in this month’s edition of the Injury Prevention journal.

For starters, the Baby Boomer generation has a great affinity for motorcycles, and they show no sign of giving up those two wheels, even as they continue riding into their 60s and beyond. The researchers discovered that in 1990, roughly 10 percent of all motorcycle riders were over the age of 50. As of 2003, that figure had more than doubled to about 25 percent.

It has only increased from there.

And, like older athletes who are more likely than their younger counterparts to suffer injuries, so too are older riders more likely to be injured.

The study found that between 2001 and 2008, some 1.5 million motorcycle riders were rushed to hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. Of those, about 85 percent were male and the majority were younger than 39 – suggesting, as we well know, that younger riders tend to be less cautious.

However, the injury rate has shot up among riders over the age of 60 in recent years. When the severity of injuries was analyzed, older riders were found to be far worse off. Over-60 riders were three times more likely to be hospitalized, 2.5 times more likely to suffer a severe injury and far more likely to suffer internal injuries (most often severe brain injuries).

The researchers didn’t look at helmet use, but we do know that helmet use overall has been found to significantly reduce traumatic brain injuries among riders.

Older riders face a specific set of unique challenges, including less altered balance, delayed reaction time, worsened vision and bodies that were simply less resilient in the event of a crash. They were also more likely to have a preexisting health condition that could potentially contribute either directly to the crash or their ability to recover from it.

Those who conducted the study didn’t say the results necessarily mandate that older riders need to put their bikes up for sale. However, there was a strong indication that older riders do need to be aware of the fact that they are at higher injury risk if they do crash.

Researchers suggested that older riders may benefit from donning chest protection gear, as well as helmets. It won’t stop drunk or careless drivers from taking up space on the road, but it can improve your chances of survival in case of a crash.

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Roughly 80 percent of the time, motorcyclists are faced with serious risks of injury and even death in the event of an auto accident. The occupants of motor vehicles suffer from severe injury or death only 20 percent of the time. Because of the risks that motorcyclists face on our roadways, the entire month of May is dedicated as Motorcycle Awareness Safety Month, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Safe driving advocates are calling on the help of motorists to remember riders as the spring and summer riding season begins.

Our Tuscaloosa motorcycle accident lawyers understand that motorcyclists are oftentimes overlooked by the drivers of passenger vehicles. The Alabama Motorcycle Safety Program was designed to help our two-wheeled friends to defend themselves on our roadways. This program offers some serious motorcycle riding courses for riders in an attempt to teach them how to navigate our roadways as safely as possible.

In 2009, there were nearly 100 motorcyclist fatalities in the state of Alabama. Most of these motorcycle accidents occurred in Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, Mobil and Baldwin counties.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics:

-There were nearly 110,000 accidents in which a motorcycle was involved in 2009.

-In 2009, motorcyclists accounted for nearly 15 percent of all traffic accident-related fatalities although they account for such a small number of registered vehicles.

-Nationwide, there were nearly 4,500 people who died in motorcycle accidents in 2009.

-Motorcyclists are nearly 40 percent more likely than the occupant of a passenger vehicle to die in an accident.

The month of May serves as the most deadly time on our roadways for motorcycle accidents. As the weather warms up, motorcyclists hit the open road. For this reason, the Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month aims to help bring motorcycle safety to the forefront before it’s too late. Be careful out there and keep an eye out for motorcyclists.

Safety Tips for Motorists to Help Keep Motorcyclists Safe:

-Look twice before making a move in traffic.

-Never tailgate a motorcycle.

-Never share a lane with a motorcycle.

-Remember that motorcyclists follow the same rules and regulations as every other driver.

-Remember that motorcycles’ turn signals aren’t self-canceling.

-Never tailgate motorcyclists.

-Remember that they swerve in their lanes to avoid road debris and other hazards. They’re not just driving recklessly.

By putting more emphasis on safe driving habits, drivers of all kinds can help to reduce the risks of accidents not only for motorcyclists by for all types of drivers. Use the month of May to not only focus on the safety of motorcyclists, but to focus on the safety of everyone on our roadways.

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The holidays are right around the corner and our risks for car accidents in Birmingham have skyrocketed. From 2009 to 2010, Alabama actually saw an increase in the number of fatalities resulting from traffic accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just put out the new 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes Overview. These are the full stats regarding traffic accidents that occurred throughout the year. They’re also the most recent traffic statistics available.
The overall report says that there was a decrease in the total number of traffic accidents fatalities from 2009 to 2010 throughout the country. The report also says that we experienced the fewest fatalities on U.S. roadways since 1949. While this news may be good, there is some bad that comes with it. While the total number decreased, a few categories of fatal accidents saw a significant increase, including fatalities among large truck occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. And the overall number of fatal traffic accidents increased in 20 states as the economy continues to recover.

Our Birmingham car accident lawyers note that while the numbers were relatively low throughout the year, they started to increase as the year progressed. This leads officials to believe the risks for car accidents will rise as our economy recovers because travelers will feel more comfortable splurging on road trips. Despite the decreased number, motorists are asked to remain cautious and alert at the wheel.

The NHTSA is also using more measures to track the different types of accidents. “Distraction-affected crashes” and “alcohol-related crashes” were both recently introduced to track the most common types of traffic accidents. Drivers continue to engage in dangerous behaviors behind the wheel and endanger everyone on our roadways.

“We need to maintain our focus on this issue through education, laws, enforcement, and vehicle design to help keep drivers’ attention on the road,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

Key Findings of the Newly-Released Report:

-Less than 33,000 people died in traffic accidents throughout the year.

-Another 2.24 million people were injured in car accidents throughout 2010.

-The year reports the lowest recording of fatalities since 1949.

-Alcohol-related traffic accidents still accounted for about a third of all fatalities despite the increase in preventative measures among national, state and local.

-The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled only decreased by 0.05 percent.

-The number of fatalities among van and large truck occupants increased from the year before.

-The number of fatalities among single-vehicle accidents increased by nearly 5 percent.

-Fatalities from car accidents in rural areas decreased, while the number of fatalities from car accidents in urban areas increased by nearly 5 percent.

-The number of people who were killed in daytime accidents who were wearing a seat belt increased.

-Thirty-one states in the U.S. experienced increases in the number of traffic fatalities.

-Fatalities among motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists increased significantly.

-The number of fatalities increased by nearly 2 percent in Alabama.

There have been a number of safe driving campaigns and enforcement efforts to keep our roads safe. Some of these efforts have been effective, while others have not. Drivers are asked to navigate our roadways responsibly and to voluntarily make safe driving habits a top priority. With a conscious effort from everyone, we can help to reduce the fatality and injury statistics in every category.

Our state experienced just about 850 traffic-accident fatalities in 2009. We witnessed more than 860 in 2010. This proves that motorists on our roadways need to be a little more cautious at the wheel, especially during the holiday season when traffic increases.

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An arrest has finally been made in the hit and run Alabama motorcycle accident that resulted in serious injuries to a Prattville motorcycle officer.
A 47-year-old driver has been arrested by the Prattville Police Department and charged with a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident, and 1st degree assault, according to CBS 8.

Our Alabama personal injury attorneys understand the risks our law enforcement officers face each day. However, all riders are at high risk of a Tuscaloosa motorcycle accident during the spring and summer riding season.

The driver has been released on bonds of $30,000.

This most recent motorcycle accident occurred last weekend, Saturday night, at roughly 8:00 p.m. at the intersection of Cobbs Ford and McQueen Smith Roads.

The van, driven by the local resident, allegedly made a left turn onto McQueen Smith Road and cut off the officer — forcing the motorcycle to strike the passenger side of the van, according to Interim Police Chief Tim Huggins. After the collision, the driver of the van fled the scene.

The officer is in the surgical intensive care unit at Baptist South Medical Center in Montgomery and is listed in serious condition. Prattville’s website reported that the officer was suffering from head injuries and facial injuries.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety is still investigating the accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 5,500 motorcyclist fatalities in the United States in 2008. An additional 96,000 motorcyclists suffer injuries that same year.

The National Safety Council (NSC) is reminding motorists of the dangers of motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to accidents than other more protected drivers. For these reasons, the NSC has declared May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Throughout the entire month, the NSC will be urging motorists to share she road with motorcyclists and to practice extra caution when they’re nearby. Many accidents happen because of driver inattention. Because motorcycles are so small, they tend to get lost in driver’s blind spots. If the driver does not check, and double check, a motorcycle can easily be lost from sight.

Fatalities involving motorists and motorcyclists have seen an increase of more than 130 percent between 1998 and 2008. It has been estimated that the mileage death rate for motorcycles was nearly 40 percent greater than the mileage death rate for passenger car occupants in 2007.

“Throughout spring and summer the number of motorcyclists on the road will increase. It is important for both motorists and motorcyclists to be aware of one another,” said David Teater, NSC senior director of Transportation Initiatives. “To better defend themselves, motorcyclists should follow the rules of the roadway and wear protective gear, including a Department of Transportation compliant helmet.”

The NSC offers these tips to motorists to help them prevent an accident with a motorcyclist:

-Allow more following distance between your car and a motorcycle when driving behind their vehicles.

-Never try to share a lane with a motorcycle. They deserve, and have the right to, a full traffic lane.

-Be cautious at intersections. A majority of car-motorcycle traffic accidents occur at intersections when a motorist neglects to look, and look again, for motorcyclists.