Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on December 10, 2020
If you ride a motorcycle in Louisiana, you know there’s a sense of freedom and excitement that makes the risks worthwhile. You deal with distracted, speeding, intoxicated, and inconsiderate drivers. As motorcycles are usually the smallest vehicles on the road, you assume far more risks than cars or trucks traveling around you. When a vehicle strikes you, your motorcycle provides little protection. Even a low-speed crash easily forces you to the pavement. You sustain serious or life-threatening injuries while the other driver usually leaves the scene unharmed.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration confirms the odds of serious biker injuries. Their research determined that bikers are injured frequently, and they are “…overrepresented in traffic fatalities…” Based on vehicles registered and vehicle miles traveled, motorcycle riders had 6 times the fatality rate as car and truck owners. That’s true nationwide, but what do the facts say about the dangers of riding a motorcycle in Louisiana?
Motorcycle riders encounter a number of hazards on Louisiana roads.
Poorly maintained roads often cause or contribute to accidents. They’re such a problem in Louisiana, a consumer research website listed the state as number two on its 2019 list of states with the worst roads. Louisiana’s deteriorating roads are especially dangerous for motorcycle riders. While uneven surfaces, potholes, and lack of maintenance can cause problems for any driver, they can make a biker lose control.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development generates a daily list of ongoing road construction, street maintenance operations, and bridge upgrades. Unfortunately, daily ramp closures, ferry service disruptions, bridge refurbishments, road detours, and maintenance closures cause new problems. While these projects are important for keeping the transportation system updated and functional, they also create new hazards for motorcyclists.
Construction and maintenance operations cause sudden traffic stops, driver confusion, and visibility issues that put bikers at risk. Until a construction crew finishes a job, their operations cause pavement and navigation issues that make it difficult for motorcyclists to ride safely.
Motorcyclists are often accident victims because drivers literally don’t “see” them in traffic. It’s a phenomenon a Science Direct article calls “inattentional blindness.” NHTSA also researched motorcycle visibility issues. They determined that motorcycle visibility problems occur due to an issue they call motorcycle conspicuity. They found that, in some instances, additional head-lighting made bikers stand out so other drivers could see them. Visibility issues explain, somewhat, why some drivers systematically ignore motorcyclists’ right of way, but it doesn’t change the danger.
During 2019, 53.2 million tourists visited Louisiana. During a normal year, travelers constantly flow in and out of the state. While they’re a welcome source of revenue, they are also a major source of traffic disruption. As in Florida and California, tourism in Louisiana adds more cars and more traffic. It increases the potential for more accidents and more motorcycle injuries.
The 2020 Louisiana Traffic Data Reports document 38,621 crashes with injuries, 61,963 injuries, and 712 fatalities. Location is a major indicator of the documented accident trends. More injury-related crashes occurred in urban areas (23,480) than in rural areas (15,056). Accidents happen more frequently in urban settings as there are more registered vehicles and more people, and consequently more traffic.
In Louisiana, parish location is also an indicator of accident frequency. Approximately 31% of crashes with injuries occurred in three parishes: East Baton Rouge, Orleans, and Caddo.
In Louisiana, fatal accidents occur more frequently on Friday than on any other day of the week. Louisiana’s 2020 statistics show that 111 fatalities (17.5%) occurred on Friday. Timing is also a factor. An increase in fatal accidents begins between 3 and 4 pm. Accident fatalities slow significantly after 10 pm.
The most recent Louisiana Traffic Data Reports documented 712 traffic accident fatalities of which 70 were motorcyclists. Their statistics also show that alcohol was a factor in 30% of the accident-related fatalities. Alcohol was also involved in 6.5% of all injury crashes in the state and 3.6% of all property damage only crashes.
Drinking and driving is just one type of risk-taking behavior behind the wheel. It’s difficult to confirm distracted driving once an accident occurs. Still, Louisiana authorities had enough evidence to prove that distracted drivers caused at least 34 fatalities. Police in many states don’t have the technology to test for drug impairment, but recreational and prescription drugs are also a contributing factor in many accidents. In other states, police found that many drivers with provable alcohol levels also had drugs in their system. Speeding and drowsy drivers also contribute to accidents and injuries.
When another vehicle strikes your motorcycle, you rarely walk away without injury. Motorcyclists sustain serious injuries even in low-speed crashes. Injuries range from road rash to serious head trauma. The most common motorcycle injuries involve the lower body and recovery is never easy.
When someone else causes your accident, you need an immediate opinion from a legal professional. You should talk to an attorney even if you believe you caused or contributed to the accident. An attorney provides a clear assessment of your right to recover damages from any parties responsible for your injuries.
If you sustained injuries in a crash on a Louisiana road, consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of John Redmann has recovered millions for our injured clients. Let us see if we can help you.
To schedule your complimentary legal consultation, call us at 504-500-5000. We give you an opportunity to tell your story to a legal professional and learn more about your legal options. You don’t have to make a commitment to file an injury claim or a lawsuit until you’re ready.