The most recent motorcycle tragedy involved a beloved Queens DJ and father fatally struck by a BMW while riding in South Ozone Park. Authorities report the motorcyclist was attempting to turn at an intersection when the car collided with his vehicle. In the same week, a teen from the Bronx was killed in another motorcycle accident after rear-ending a double-parked car in Hunts Point.
While riding a motorcycle in NYC has been considered dangerous for decades, the risk of fatal injuries has skyrocketed due to pandemic-related factors. New Yorkers are struggling to adjust to the increase in street congestion and outdoor dining areas taking up portions of the road. Despite these new road hazards, people are not driving any safer, leaves vulnerable motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists at risk of life-threatening injuries.
As safety and health advocates, we believe in the importance of teaching motorcyclists about their rights when they are injured in an accident. In this article, we will review the most current citywide trends leading to an increase in motorcycle accidents and the steps motorcyclists can take if they become a victim of a crash.
Pandemic-Related Risk Factors for Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists frequently suffer the brunt of serious and fatal traffic accidents, particularly on roads as lively as NYC. At any given time, cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcyclists, busses, and dozens of other pack the streets. It only takes a minor error or reckless maneuver to cause a horrific accident.
The pandemic has done motorcyclists zero favors when it comes to safer roads. Months of people quarantining at home and switching to remote working long-term has led to an uptick in motorcycle riding at all times of the day. Yet, drivers of other motor vehicles are operating with the same carelessness as before, paying little attention and giving little leeway to motorcycles who approach them on the street.
Additionally, more pedestrians, bicycle riders, and people looking to avoid public transportation are crowding NYC streets more than ever. The cool fall weather is bringing more tourists than the city has seen in a while. When street conditions become more active, drivers become more aggressive. They make quick turns, fail to look before they merge, and often miss motorcycles when focusing on their own trips.
NYC Motorcycle Accident Stats
Motorcyclists, similar to pedestrians and bicyclists, are incredibly vulnerable on busy and congested roads. According to the New York City Motorcycle Safety Study:
- Only 2% of registered vehicles in NYC are motorcycles, yet motorcycle accidents account for at least 14% of fatal traffic accidents in NYC;
- NYC has a motorcycle fatality rate of nearly double the rate of New York State;
- Riders between the ages of 20 and 24 have the highest rates of fatal motorcycle accidents;
- Around 166 people time in New York State every year in crashes;
- About 4,000 people are treated in emergency rooms across the state for injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents; and
- NY motorcyclists are 37 times more likely to die in a crash than drivers of other motor vehicles, while NYC motorcyclists are 50 percent more likely to die in a collision.
Driver negligence is the leading cause of fatal motorcycle accidents across the state. When truck drivers and passenger vehicles refuse to share the road, motorcyclists pay the price with their lives. Motorcycles are constantly bumped, smashed, and pushed off the road and onto sideways. They are often not taken seriously when approaching intersections, even when they have the right of way.
Studies have also shown that speeding is the most significant predictor of motorcycle accidents, both in frequency and severity. Vehicles that are speeding have less time to avoid colliding with motorcycles, and the full force impact of a car against a motorcyclist can cause injuries that are not survivable.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Compared to occupants of other motor vehicles, motorcycle riders have little to no protection from injuries. This factor alone often results in motorcycle riders suffering from severe injuries that are permanent and disabling, including:
- Broken bones and fractures;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Road rash;
- Third and second-degree burns;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Ligament and tissue damage;
- Amputations; and
- Facial injuries requiring reconstruction.
Some motorcycle injuries can be reduced by wearing protective gear while riding, such as helmets, padded clothing, gloves, and eye protection. However, when a truck or passenger car is speeding down a busy road striking a motorcyclist at full speed, there is often little that can be done to save them.
What Motorcyclists Can Do To Stay Safe
While drivers must do their part to help protect other motorists on the road, there are several steps motorcyclists can take to help reduce their risk of an accident:
- Drive the speed limit or slower to allow cars ample time to see you approaching;
- Always drive sober;
- Approach intersections very carefully;
- Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle to avoid malfunctions;
- Make sure cars are slowing or stopping to allow you the right of way before you make a turn;
- Try to avoid driving in weather than increase your risk of slipping, such as rain and snow;
- Choose the best motorcycle for your experience; and
- Always use your turn signals to alert others of your intention.
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
Whether you’re seriously injured or in shock, it can be hard to think clearly about what to do in the aftermath of a motorcycle crash. First, it’s essential to know that you have rights, especially if your accident was caused by negligence. Insurance may not cover all of the damages you sustain after a crash. If your injuries are severe or require life-long care, you could be looking at thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in future medical bills and treatments.
Although you won’t know if your accident is eligible for a claim until you consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare ahead. There are several steps to take directly after a motorcycle accident that will be crucial to helping you file a future claim:
- Medical Care: If you have injuries, get them attended to immediately. Your health is always the number one priority.
- Take Photos: If you can take photos of the crash site, these can be very useful when filing your claim. Make sure not to move any of the vehicles or other items involved and get photos of all the damage, injuries, and vehicles at the scene. If you cannot physically take photos, try to have someone you trust take them for you.
- Stay Off The Road: If you are in an accident on the side of a highway or busy road, stay far enough away from the traffic to prevent a secondary accident. Keep road markers on you when riding to direct cars around the accident before the police arrive.
- Make Your Reports: Call the local police and your insurance company to inform them of the accident directly after it occurs. You will have to file separate reports for each, so make sure to get all of the information you need while at the scene to avoid having to chase it down later.
- Keep Records: Take detailed notes about your accidents, injuries, and treatments related to the accident. Always keep any documents, such as hospital reports, accident reports, and medical bills as these will be used later on to determine the scope of damages.
- Consult With An Attorney: Motorcycle accidents that are caused by negligence may qualify you for compensation outside of your insurance reward. Consulting with a motorcycle accident attorney experienced in these types of accidents can help you determine which damages could be covered by a personal injury claim.
New York City and Long Island Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Our personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber, have over 20 years of experience serving clients across New York City and Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process using past experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343 or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.