The growing number of motorcycles registered in Arizona suggests that more and more people are discovering the joys of two-wheeled conveyance. Whether it’s on the two-lane blacktops around Flagstaff or Sedona or across the eight-lane highways of Phoenix and Tucson, nothing beats hitting the open road on a bike.
Unfortunately, as the number of motorcycle operators increases, so too has the number of motorcycle wrecks, fatalities, and injuries. In a recent year, there were nearly 2,600 motorcycle collisions across the state, resulting in 160 deaths and just over 2,200 injuries. Because the likelihood of being seriously injured in a motorcycle wreck is so high, it’s essential to understand the leading causes of motorcycle wrecks so as to better avoid them.
If the unthinkable happens, and another driver hits you while riding your motorcycle, our motorcycle accident lawyer can help you pursue full and fair compensation for your suffering.
A driver going 55 miles per hour who takes their eyes away from the road for just five seconds—the time it takes to send a text message—travels the length of a football field. Drivers using their phones, eating or drinking, programming GPS coordinates, or turning around to talk to passengers may not see a smaller vehicle like a motorcycle until it’s too late to avoid a collision.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Drivers who don’t check their blind spots or fail to signal before changing lanes risk colliding with those around them. This is a danger for motorcyclists, whose smaller vehicles are easier for other motorists to overlook, putting them at greater risk of critical injuries in a collision.
It’s every driver’s responsibility to signal their intentions and check blind spots before changing lanes or merging. A car or truck driver who tries to escape blame for hitting a motorcycle operator by saying, “I didn’t see them!” may still be held liable for the crash and, therefore, the motorcycle operator’s injuries.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT) notes that speeding is the most common cause of fatal traffic collisions, causing nearly 360 deaths in a recent year.
Speeding is dangerous because it makes vehicles harder to control, gives drivers less time to react, and increases the force of collisions. That last dynamic can be devastating for motorcyclists because that force is transferred directly to their unprotected body.
Impairment by drugs or alcohol is another leading cause of motorcycle accidents. Arizona’s legal limit for alcohol for private drivers over 21 is 0.08 percent Blood Alcohol concentration (BAC). This means just a couple of drinks can put a driver over the legal limit. Driving or being in physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Arizona (Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381(A)(1)).
In most cases, the intoxicated driver is liable for the crash, although your motorcycle accident attorney may still have to prove liability to secure your compensation for your injuries. While a citation for DUI or DWI is helpful, it is not a prerequisite for establishing an intoxicated driver’s civil liability. Eyewitness testimony and credit card records could also suggest they were intoxicated at the time of the crash.
A pothole or broken pavement that a car or truck could drive over with little issue may be dangerous to someone on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are less stable than four-wheeled vehicles, so the rider’s chance of losing control when they hit a bump or hole is much higher.
Here are some examples of potentially dangerous road hazards that might lead to a motorcycle accident:
- An improperly loaded commercial truck dropping cargo
- Potholes that have not been repaired by the municipality responsible for road maintenance
- Gravel or construction materials falling off a construction vehicle
- Standing water, snow, or ice that hasn’t been cleared by the municipality responsible for maintaining the roads
A motorcycle accident caused by road hazards may be a more complicated case than a collision between two drivers. Your Arizona motorcycle accident lawyer may have to make a case against a city or county, establishing negligence on its part for failing to repair a road hazard.
Safety Measures to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents
Wearing a helmet is the best way to prevent a head injury in a motorcycle crash. Although Arizona law does not require riders over 18 to do so, donning one can reduce your chances of serious injury.
Following the speed limit, obeying the signals at guided intersections, and going slower in inclement weather can also help reduce your risk of an accident.
Although you cannot control the behavior of other cars on the road, keeping your full attention on the traffic flow and practicing defensive driving can help you be prepared to make a safe evasion if you note another driver drifting into your lane.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
The steps you take in the days and weeks following a motorcycle collision can improve your medical prognosis and help your motorcycle accident law firm build the best case on your behalf.
Your health matters most, so seeking prompt medical attention is essential, even if you don’t feel badly hurt. Beyond getting a thorough diagnosis of your motorcycle accident injuries, the medical records of your post-crash exam can provide evidence of causation (that the accident caused your injuries).
Hang on to any evidence that could help your case. This could include everything from the clothes you wore at the time of the accident to medical and repair bills to notes about your recollections of the accident and what led up to it.
Next, record how your injuries impact your daily life, including your ability to work, care for your family, or get around independently. Your attorney may use this to help calculate a value for your non-tangible losses.
Contact an experienced Arizona motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you can. Your attorney can communicate with the other party and their insurance company, gather evidence to build a case for compensation, and represent your interests in mediation, settlement negotiations, and court.
Contact Our Arizona Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Have you been harmed in a motorcycle accident? Do you need help seeking fair compensation for your losses? We can help! Contact Silkman Law Firm today for a free consultation with an experienced Arizona motorcycle lawyer.