Caution and representation urged for motorcyclists involved in accidents

Motorcyclists enjoy a freedom that no other motor vehicle operator does. However, along with that comes a high risk for serious injury or death when involved in an accident. Washington, D.C. alone saw nearly 15 percent of its traffic fatalities from motorcyclists in 2011, according to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, with four deaths that year alone. That is an increase of three deaths over the prior year.

The numbers can be sobering

More statistics collected and reported from the Washington, D.C. Department of Transportation give even more details about the realities on the road that D.C. area motorcyclists face every day. In 2011:

  • Accidents involving motorcycles represented nearly 15 percent of all motor vehicle accidents with a total of 251 motorcycle crashes.
  • 10 percent, or 25, of all crashes that year resulted in disabling injuries.
  • Four motorcyclists died, two of which were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
  • More than half-52.9 percent-of all 2011 motorcycle accidents resulted in some non-disabling injuries, whether visible or not.

The risk of serious accidents is not unique to motorcyclists in Washington, D.C. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that around the country, an increase in motorcycle fatalities by nine percent will be seen by the time complete information for that year is recorded and reviewed.

Helmets are the law

Washington, D.C. is governed by what is known as the Universal Helmet Law, requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets at all times. Sadly, that does not always happen. In fact, the NHTSA notes that nearly one-third of all riders in 2011 failed to wear a helmet.

Additionally, while helmets are proven to reduce serious injury or death, they cannot always prevent it. Therefore, motorcyclists must be ever vigilant when on the road and should be sure to seek proper help in the event that an accident does occur.

Important steps in the face of an accident

As with motor vehicle accident, taking care of any injured persons is the first priority. Collecting all appropriate data from other drivers is also important. Given the vulnerability of motorcyclists, ensuring that they have proper guidance through the post-accident process is always recommended. An experienced attorney can educate a motorcyclist about his or her rights, the laws that may govern the specific circumstances of their accident and how he or she can obtain the compensation that may be due to them.