What is the Leading Cause of Motorcycle Accidents in Oklahoma?
Motorcycles are a beloved American icon, representing the rebellious spirit of the open road. Unfortunately, the same qualities which motorcycles are prized for – the speed and freedom they offer riders – also contribute to serious injuries and wrongful deaths when bikers get into accidents with other vehicles. In this article, our motorcycle accident lawyers will go over some Oklahoma crash statistics, common biker injuries, and the leading causes of accidents statewide.
Common Motorcylist Injuries: Feet, Legs, and Hips
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) prepares annual reports detailing statewide crash and accident facts. These reports are broken down into various categories, including one devoted specifically to motorcyclists.
According to OHSO’s 2014 data, there were 1,465 total motorcycle accidents in Oklahoma during that year: a daily average of roughly four accidents, or about one accident every six hours. Collectively, these 1,465 crashes resulted in 1,184 injuries and 55 deaths. Since a total of 129,404 motorcycles were registered in Oklahoma as of 2014, these numbers mean only about 1% of the state’s motorcycles were involved in accidents.
While motorcycle accidents may be less common than car accidents in Oklahoma, they frequently result in death or serious injury – as the numbers cited above make all too plain. Because motorcycles lack key protective features like air bags and seat belts, riders and passengers are frequently ejected, often skidding for dozens of feet before finally coming to a stop.
While certainly not useless, leather gear isn’t always sufficient to protect riders from sustaining severe “road rash” (skin abrasion). Scrubbing and disinfecting road rash wounds is an extremely painful process for the victim, and can leave permanent scarring behind. In a 2008 report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also notes that passengers and operators frequently suffer from lower-extremity injuries, including:
- Ankle Injuries – Ankle dislocation, tibia and fibula fractures
- Foot Injuries – Metatarsal and tarsal fractures, calcaneus and talus fractures
- Hip Injuries – Hip dislocation, intertrochanteric femoral fractures
- Knee Injuries – Patella fractures, torn ligaments, meniscus tears
- Leg Injuries – Tibia and fibula fractures, leg amputations, “massive leg crush”
- Pelvic Injuries – Sacrollium fractures, symphysis pubis separation
- Thigh Injuries – Femur fractures, soft tissue injuries to veins/arteries/nerves
We know all too well that motorcycle wrecks tend to be fatal or cause severe injuries. But what sorts of factors and problems are causing them in the first place?
OK Motorcycle Crashes: Causes and Contributing Factors
In addition to analyzing other factors, like county, operator gender, and time of day, the 2014 OHSO report also ranked the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in Oklahoma. While small numbers of accidents were attributed to various types of driver error, the report also found that many crashes did not involve human error on the part of the operator. Accident causes and contributing factors are ranked as follows, by number of operators involved:
- No Improper Action – 544
- Unsafe Speed – 262
- Other Improper Act/Movement – 113
- Tailgating – 71
Inattention – 68
- DUI/DWI (Alcohol) – 62
- Unknown/No Improper Action – 47
- Failing to Yield – 33
- Unsafe Vehicle – 25
- Failing to Stop – 21
- Left of Center – 16
- Improper Overtaking – 14
- Improper Turn – 15
- DUI (Drugs) – 13
- Improper Parking – 3
- Improper Start – 1
- Wrong Way – 0
- Stopped in Traffic – 0
Why is this data important for crash injury victims in Oklahoma? Because these numbers only support a well-known truth: numerous accidents are not the fault of the motorcyclist. On the contrary, the drivers of passenger vehicles are frequently the parties at fault, causing accidents by driving negligently, recklessly, or aggressively – in some cases, even driving while intoxicated.
All drivers, and particularly common carriers (carriers of “persons, property or messages” for the public), have a duty to follow traffic safety laws. That includes refraining from doing anything that creates foreseeable hazards for other motorists (or pedestrians). When drivers decide to ignore the rules of the road, they can potentially be held liable for any deaths, injuries, or property damage resulting from their careless and irresponsible actions behind the wheel.
Some common examples of careless or aggressive driving could include:
- The unnecessary or even retaliatory use of high beams.
- Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
- Speeding up to rush through a yellow light.
- Running a red light.
- Ignoring right-of-way.
- Speeding, or going too fast for safety in bad weather conditions.
- Weaving in and out of lanes.
- Failing to check side-view and/or rear-view mirrors for motorcycles.
- Tailgating behind a motorcycle.
- Making an improper left turn.
If you were hit by a car while riding your motorcycle in Oklahoma City, the attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook are here to fight aggressively for maximum compensation on your behalf. To start talking about your accident in a free, private case evaluation, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 today.