Motor vehicle accidents are the leading causes of personal injury in the state of New York. Motorcycles are by far more dangerous than cars because they lack the protection of a steel cage, are less-visible to other drivers, and are more susceptible to hazardous road conditions. Motorcyclists are 15 times more likely to die in a traffic compared to passenger vehicle occupants.
New York ranks sixth in the nation in the number of licensed motorcyclists. Governor George Pataki has declared every May “Motorcycle Awareness and You Month” to highlight safety issues and promote motorcycle safety courses. In 2003, there were 4,284 motorcycle accidents statewide, and 151 of those ended in death.
Most accidents are caused by driver error such as unsafe speed, failure to yield right-of-way, and inattention/distraction.
The increasing number of accidents in New York and around the country can be attributed to the increasing popularity of motorcycles. The Insurance Information Institute reports that sales of motorcycles reached about 1,100,000 in 2004, the highest level ever. At the same time, the number of motorcycle fatalities reached its highest level. There has also been a sharp increase in the number of older riders. In 2004, 46 percent of motorcyclists killed in crashes were age 40 and over, compared with 23 percent 10 years earlier. However, the number of fatalities among motorcycle drivers under age 30 has decreased over the years, from 50 percent in 1994 to 32 percent in 2004.
New York’s helmet laws are credited with some of that decline. In this state, all persons operating or riding a motorcycle must wear approved helmets, and helmet reflectorization is required. Motorcyclists must also keep their headlights on in the daytime, and all operators and passengers must wear protective eye wear. In 2004 motorcycle helmets saved 1,316 lives, NHTSA says. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, 671 more lives would have been saved. Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Settlement
What to do if you are in a motorcycle accident:
- Say nothing, or as little as possible about the accident to the police and other drivers.
- Report the accident to the authorities, even if you are afraid you will be blamed.
- See a doctor, even if you aren’t sure that you need it.
- Notify your insurance company.
- Contact an attorney at Belluck & Fox, LLP.
Statistically, motorcycle accidents are usually the fault of the other driver involved in the accident, largely because motorcycles can be difficult to see. When there is a motorcycle accident, the results are often devastating. Victims are often left with serious injuries, brain injury, or permanent disabilities; some do not survive. A good personal injury lawyer will be able to make sure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.