Personal Injury Blog

Roadway construction complicates motorcyclist safety. Always be aware of your surroundings and ongoing road work activity.

Motorcycle accidents with fixed, roadside objects are more common nationwide than many believe at first. Do you know how the dangers posed by ongoing construction,roadway structures and the environment affect motorcycle safety in Florida?

In this blog article, we introduce four surprising collision statistics to help explain the realities of accidents with stationary objects.

1.) 25% of All Motorcycle Accidents Involve Stationary Objects

As discovered in the “Hurt” Study (formally referred to as “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures”) conducted by the University of Southern California Traffic Safety Center, roughly one quarter of all motorcycle accidents involved collisions with a stationary object or objects. This includes:

  • Fixed roadway equipment (cones, construction signs, etc.)
  • Barriers
  • Walls
  • Guard rails
  • Light/telephone poles
  • Buildings

Essentially, any stationary object in the environment, along roads and high-speed interstates, can pose a threat to motorcyclist safety. Collisions with objects such as these can cause severe injury, or even death, in an instant. As the study also reports that less that 3% of recorded accidents involve vehicle failure, the responsibility ultimate falls upon the rider to stay alert on the road.

2.) Road Damage is Rarely the Cause of a Motorcycle Accident

Also discovered in the ”Hurt” Study was the minimal role that roadway defects or damage play into motorcycle accidents. In rigorously analyzing some 4,500 motorcycle accidents for their exact cause, researcher Harry Hurt and his team found that less than 2% of all motorcycle accidents were the result of collision with or loss of control due to road damage (potholes, uneven pavement or ridges).

This statistic reiterates the point we make at the end of our first segment. Avoiding a motorcycle accident is largely the responsibility of the driver (whereas collision due to pavement damage would put the cause on poorly maintained or hazardous roads).

As a rider, it is your responsibility to wear the proper protective gear and mind the road for fixed objects in the environment.

3.) Speeding and Alcohol Involvement in Motorcycle Accidents with Objects

In many motorcycle collisions with stationary objects, speeding or other reckless driving activities are directly linked to the crash. As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2006, roughly 37% of all motorcycle accidents involved speeding. Riding your motorcycle over the designated speed limit for a certain section of road puts your life at far greater risk than otherwise.

Additionally, alcohol consumption plays a decisive role in all motorcycle accidents, including those with fixed objects in the environment. Impairment above the national limit of .08 BAC puts you at significantly greater risk for collision with roadway or street side objects. In 2005, one-third of all motorcycle accidents were the result of riding under the influence.

Nationwide, speeding or riding with a blood alcohol content exceeding the national limit are often responsible for motorcycle accidents with stationary objects. As reported by the Highway Loss Data Institute (an office of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) in 2009, roughly 42% of all motorcycle deaths that year involved alcohol consumption, wile 48% were linked with rider speeding.

4.) Helmet Use is Directly Linked with Stationary Collision Safety

The reason that fatality risks are much higher in the state of Florida than they are nationwide (17.8% compared to a national 14.2%) is related to our current helmet use laws. Our lax helmet laws state that beyond age 21, riders are not required to use motorcycle helmets or other protective gear when riding.

However, this is the very equipment that could save your life or significantly reduce injury in the event of a collision with fixed objects on the road. As reported by the Florida Department of Transportation in 2010, statewide helmet use is at a low 55.3%. While you’re not legally required to wear helmets when on the road, doing so could make a world of difference in collisions with stationary objects.

What You Need to Do After a Collision

There are many things you can do as a rider to limit your accident risk, and protect yourself during collisions with stationary objects on the road. However, avoiding these accidents is not always a possibility. Perhaps you hit a telephone pole while swerving to avoid a reckless driver, or a large pothole in the road caused you to lose control and crash your bike into a barrier.

If you feel you deserve compensation for your motorcycle accident, don't hesitate to contact a compassionate, trained motorcycle accident attorney in your community today. You don't have to pursue your claim alone; hiring a professional attorney to fight for your case can make all the difference in earning the reward compensation for property damage and injury you deserve.


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