Every summer, motorcyclists hit the roads. With more than 8.6 million registered motorcycles sharing the roads with cars and trucks, it’s not surprising to hear that 14% of all traffic fatalities involve a motorcycle. Helmets and leather apparel only help so much.
What may be more surprising is that more than half of these crashes occur during the day. Motorcycles are often unnoticed by other drivers. Even with motorcycle drivers trying to make themselves visible to other traffic, the most common crash is a car turning left in front of a motorcycle.
You have a motorcycle and plan to be out on the roads this summer. Are there things you can do to lower the chances of a crash? What do you do if you are in a motorcycle accident this summer?
Protect Yourself Before You Go Out
Take preventative steps to protect yourself before you get on your motorcycle and leave your house. A helmet with a DOT and/or a Snell inspection sticker is essential. You need a helmet that’s designed to protect your skull from the impact if you crash.
Don’t go out in a tank top and shorts. Leather work-boots, thick jeans or leather pants, and a leather jacket are best. Wear leather gloves to protect your hands. In a crash, you’ll be thrown across rocks, pavement, and other objects. You need to pick materials that are designed to protect your skin.
Stay Visible to Traffic
Make sure you’re as visible as you can be. Bright colors will draw attention to you as you move with the traffic. Avoid riding in blind spots. Before going through an intersection slow enough to make sure that a car coming in the opposite direction sees you and isn’t about to cut you off.
At traffic lights and in traffic jams, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, a division of the NHTSA, recommends putting yourself in positions where other drivers and pedestrians clearly see you. Studies have found that moving in between cars that are stopped reduces the frequency of motorcycle accidents.
Follow the Rules of the Road
If you haven’t obtained your motorcycle license, don’t go out on your bike. NHTSA’s 2016 statistics show that 27% of motorcyclists killed in a crash did not have a motorcycle license.
You have to follow the rules of the road. If you speed, run lights, weave in and out of traffic, or drive too fast in construction sites, you put your safety at risk. You never know when a corner will have loose gravel, so approach curves at a slower speed. Getting to your destination as quickly as possible isn’t as important as getting there safely.
A Crash Happened Anyway. What Do You Do Now?
Despite taking precautions, you’re in an accident. The very first thing to do is assess your situation. If you’re in pain, don’t move. Leave your helmet on. You don’t want to worsen a fracture or spinal injury. Wait for paramedics to arrive.
If you’re okay, get yourself to a safe place off the road. Sit on a bank, curb, or guardrail and wait for police and paramedics there. You can also ask someone to help get your bike out of the road.
If there are witnesses, they’ll call 911 and many will offer to help you. Don’t let pride get in the way. If they offer to help, you could have them taking photos of the scene, your bike, and other vehicles using your cellphone. They could also collect contact information for you.
Listen to the paramedics. If they recommend you go to the ER to get checked out, take the advice. Insurance will pay for any medical tests and treatments that are necessary. You’ll have proof that you saw a doctor and know what to watch for during the next few hours and days.
When you’re allowed to return home, which depends on your injuries, call your insurance company. If you’re in the hospital for a length of time, you could call from the hospital or have someone call for you. You will need to talk to an agent to give your side of the story. You need the other driver’s insurance information in order to file the claim.
How Can You Tell if the Settlement Offer is Fair?
The insurance claim may take a few weeks to process. Adjusters need time to assess the damage to your bike, look over your medical bills, and determine who was at fault. When this is done, the insurance settlement offer is presented to you. This is where people often struggle to know what constitutes a fair settlement.
The offer will include the cost to replace or repair your bike. It covers your medical bills, income loss, and property damage. If the accident caused panic attacks or intense fears of driving, it’s harder to put a price on that. Most settlement offers don’t include emotional damages.
With many motorcycle accidents tied to negligence on the part of another driver, you need to get an expert opinion. Jordan, Herington & Rowley have experienced Denver motorcycle accident attorneys. It costs nothing to ask if you’re being treated fairly by the other driver’s insurance company.
Have Jordan, Herington & Rowley look at your situation and help you better understand your options. The Denver motorcycle accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, so you don’t pay unless your attorney wins your case. Call (303) 647-3029 for a free consultation.