For the avid motorcyclist, motorcycling is a way of life. However, because motorcycles lack many of the inherent physical safety features found in an automobiles (seat belts, air bags and roll bars), motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in serious injury or death. Below are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Colorado and common motorcycle injuries.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Vehicles Making Left-Hand Turns
The most common cause for motorcycle accidents occurs when a car turns left in front of a motorcyclist. Typically, the car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcyclist is driving straight through an intersection, attempting to pass the car or overtake it. Often times the driver of the vehicle misreads the speed at which the motorcycle is traveling or simply does not see the motorcycle at all. Motorcyclists should be extra careful when passing cars on the left and entering an intersection with left-turning vehicles, and always wear bright colored clothing or reflectors so that car drivers can see you.
Lane splitting is also a very common cause of motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists lane split when they drive in between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving traffic, typically in traffic jams. In Colorado, lane splitting is specifically prohibited by law. Lane splitting can often lead to accidents due to your motorcycle's close proximity to other vehicles, limited room to maneuver your motorcycle and the simple fact that most car drivers do not expect motorcycles to pass them in stopped or slowly moving traffic. Because lane splitting is illegal in Colorado, you will likely be found at fault if you are injured in an accident while lane splitting. In order to avoid an accident as well as a traffic ticket, you should always avoid lane splitting.
Inclement Weather and Road Hazards
Because motorcycles lack some of the basic safety features of cars and two wheels absorb less shock and provide less traction than four wheels, road hazards and inclement weather pose more danger for motorcyclists. Potholes, grading highways, unsigned curves in the road and uneven pavement are among some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. You should always be familiar with the roads you are traveling on and never get too comfortable with the road. Also, make sure to slow down and take extra precautions when traveling on slick or wet pavement.
Common Injuries From A Motorcycle Accident
The most common type of motorcycle injury, road rash occurs when a motorcyclist slides across the pavement following a collision. You can be thrown off your motorcycle or fly over the handle bars in an accident, sending you skidding across the road. The rubbing of the road on your exposed skin can cause serious injury. Road rash is not merely a bruise or a cut; it can cause permanent damage such as surface nerve damage, skin irritations and infections. You should always seek medical care if you sustain road rash, even if it seems minor. One of the best ways to avoid or minimize road rash is to wear heavier, long-sleeved clothing when riding your motorcycle to protect your skin.
Head & Neck Injury
Another common motorcycle injury is a head and/or neck injury. The head is the single most important part of your body, housing the skull and brain. Similarly, your neck is home to your brain stem and part of your spinal cord. Motorcyclists involved in an accident can be thrown in any direction, flipped upside down or collide with other vehicles. Under these circumstances, a head or neck injury is not only likely, but without the use of protective headgear the injury will likely be serious if not fatal. In Colorado, all riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while on a motorcycle. A cracked skull, bad concussion and swelling of the brain can cause permanent brain damage, and a damaged brain stem or serious injury to the spinal cord can paralyze and kill you. You should always wear a helmet when driving your motorcycle no matter how far you are traveling.
Biker's arm occurs after the initial impact of the accident. Unlike a car, motorcycles do not have steel outer skeletons that protect drivers in a collision. Therefore, when thrown from your motorcycle, it is natural that you may use your arms to shield your face and/or body from additional injury. However, this means that your arms bear the brunt of the impact, which can cause serious muscle and skin damage. Permanent nerve damage to the arms is common in this scenario. You should wear a heavy jacket and sturdy elbow pads to minimize your chances of getting biker's arm in a motorcycle accident.
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you need a reliable personal injury attorney to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. At The Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal, we have experience fighting for all types of damages on behalf of injured people. For your free consultation with our personal injury attorneys, call (303) 825-2223, or visit us online.