If you love experiencing the wind in your hair as you cruise the open road on your motorcycle, you are not alone. The number of on-the-road motorcycles in the US doubled from 4.2 million in 2004 to 8.3 million in 2018. This includes 252,280 in the state of Indiana. However, there are many motorcycle road hazards to look out for.
However, safety is a major issue for motorcycle riders and most common road hazards can cause serious motorcycle accidents.
Accidents involving motorcyclists due to a road hazard pose a serious threat to every motorcycle rider. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are at a huge disadvantage. Riders are 26 times more likely to die in a traffic collision than a passenger in a car or truck.
They are also 5 times more likely to traffic fatalities or to be severely injured or when riding.
Can Another Driver Be Held Liable for Accidents Caused by Motorcycle Road Hazards?
For someone to be held liable for your accident and subsequent compensation, the following factors must be determined:
- The type of road hazard
- Why the hazard was there
- Whether someone should and could have eliminated the hazard
- The behavior of the motorcyclist and other vehicle driver
What Does the Liable Party Have to Pay For?
People who cause accidents with serious injuries, including fatal crashes, may be liable for:
Medical Expenses: Coverage for current and future medical bills related to injuries sustained in the accident, including hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing treatments.
Property Damage: Compensation for the repair or replacement of the motorcycle, riding gear, car, and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
Lost Wages: Reimbursement for income lost due to the inability to work during recovery, as well as potential future earnings if the injuries lead to long-term or permanent disability.
Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical and emotional distress experienced as a result of an accident while riding a motorcycle, including pain, trauma, and any long-term psychological impact.
Wrongful Death Damages: In the unfortunate event of a fatality, settlements may include compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and the emotional suffering of the deceased person’s family.
Loss of Consortium: Damages for the negative impact the injuries have on the relationship between the injured party and their spouse or family members.
Legal Fees: Reimbursement for attorney fees and associated legal costs incurred in pursuing the accident settlement.
Future Medical Costs: Provision for ongoing medical treatments, therapies, and care that may be required in the future due to the injuries sustained in the accident involving motorcycles.
Disability Accommodations: Compensation for modifications or accommodations needed for the injured party’s living arrangements or transportation due to resulting disabilities.
Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence or intentional wrongdoing, the court may award punitive damages as a form of punishment to the at-fault party and to deter similar behavior in the future.
What Can Cause a Motorcycle Accident in Indiana?
Common errors made on motorcycles potentially causing accidents include:
- Improper passing
- High speeds
- Following too closely
- Failing to apply brakes gradually when stopping
- Disregarding traffic signals
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance (especially when the tire tread is worn or the front brake is not operating correctly)
- Driving under the influence
- Inexperienced drivers
- Lack of helmets (Indiana law only requires a helmet when the operator has a learner’s permit or is under the age of 18.)
If you have been involved in an accident while riding motorcycles, you probably want to know what recourse you have if it wasn’t your fault.
Miscellaneous Motorcycle Accident Facts
- 58% of the time, others are responsible for causing crashes with motorcyclists.
- Other drivers often do not see motorcyclists. They change lanes without completely checking their blind spots. Motorcyclists are also at risk of being backed over when car or truck drivers are reversing and fail to stay alert.
- Two-thirds of motorcycle accidents that involved other vehicles (commercial or passenger vehicles) were caused by other drivers failing to yield the right of way.
- Distracted drivers, when the operator is texting, eating, or falling asleep can cause serious motorcycle crashes.
- Drivers can be held responsible for their negligence if it is determined that you were 50% or less responsible for the accident while riding a motorcycle.
Other Motorcycle Road Hazards That Can Cause Accidents:
Potholes and other uneven road surfaces: rough road surfaces that are merely inconveniences or minor obstacles for cars can be fatal for motorbikes. Dangerous road conditions include loose gravel, road debris, and other conditions the city or state government should have remedied.
Standing water: Motorcyclists who are forced to ride through standing water may find themselves with little control, potentially causing a crash.
Grass clippings: Clippings that have been blown out on the road by lawnmowers are road hazards. Grass is 85% water content, so it is extremely slippery. Anything that makes a barrier between the tire and the road can cause a lack of traction.
Gravel, oil, antifreeze, or leaves a residue: anything that makes a slick surface can be dangerous. All of these items are particularly dangerous when the bike is cornering or attempting to slow down.
Inclement weather: Slippery surfaces are some of the most common road hazards for vehicles with two wheels because it’s easy to lose traction. When the road is covered with ice or oil, it’s nearly impossible to ride safely and stay in your lane. Even light rain can create hard-to-see slick surfaces.
Debris that fell off the back of another car vehicle: According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, two in three debris-related crashes result from items falling from cars or trucks due to improper maintenance or an unsecured load. Not only could the debris cause the motorcyclist to swerve or slip, but it could also strike the motorcyclist as it flies through the air.
Edge breaks: These road hazards occur when two lanes are at different heights. It can be hard to see edge breaks on a motorbike and rough roads make it even more dangerous. When a tire bumps into edge breaks, it destabilizes the bike and may pull the bike into oncoming traffic.
Railroad crossings: Many crashes involving motorcycles are caused by rough railroad crossings marked by broken pavement, gravel, and uneven railway tracks that disrupt normal traffic.
A blind spot: An illegally parked vehicle, tree branches, and other items that block a driver’s line of sight increase the chance of an accident.
Open bridge joints: These bridge joints (also sometimes called expansion joints or road joints) join the roadway and a bridge to absorb the expansion of the highway caused by freezing and thawing cycles. Sometimes a bridge joint (or expansion joint)will protrude from the road and catch tires. Expansion joints are necessary but also can cause a motorcycle rider to lose control of their bike.
Animals: Large animals like deer are dangerous for cars, but small animals such as squirrels, possums, raccoons, or even birds can throw a bike off balance or cause the driver to crash after swerving.
Crossen Law Firm- Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys
You deserve expert support when seeking compensation for personal injury due to a motorcycle accident caused by negligence or motorcycle road hazards. At Crossen Law Firm, our Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorney is aggressive, effective, and caring.
If you have been involved in a bike crash caused by the negligence of another motorist, by inadequate warning signs before construction work, or by a state government negligence in maintaining the road surface, we can help.
Our law experts specialize in motorcycle crashes and will work on your behalf to prove liability, establish your personal injury case, and recover the compensation you deserve. Call us at 317-401-8626 or contact us online today for a free consultation.