Motorcycle accidents can cause very serious injuries to motorcyclists. Unfortunately, many bikers learn that they lack adequate coverage after they are seriously hurt in an accident. By being aware of the importance of this insurance and by taking steps to acquire the necessary coverage, motorcyclists may be able to avoid some of the tragic consequences associated with motorcycle accidents.
Likelihood of Motorcycle Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 4,668 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2013. In the same year, approximately 88,000 motorcyclists sustained injuries in motorcycle accidents. Although anyone can be injured in an automotive accident, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to be injured in an accident than individuals in a passenger vehicle.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Like with other types of automotive accidents, there are a number of reasons why a motorcyclist may be injured in an automotive accident. The vast majority of accidents occur when the passenger vehicle hits the front of the motorcycle. This may be because the driver of the passenger vehicle did not see or was not looking for motorcyclists. Many accidents occur when a passenger is making a left turn while the motorcycle is part of ongoing traffic and is going straight through an intersection.
Some accidents are attributed to the motorcyclist. Many accidents involve only the motorcyclist and a fixed object, as opposed to another vehicle. He or she may lack adequate training, and this inexperience may cause the accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 27 percent of motorcyclists who were involved in fatal accidents had a blood alcohol concentration level that was over the legal limit, a slightly higher number than the 23 percent of drivers involved in accidents who were in passenger vehicles. In the year 2013, approximately 34 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents were speeding at the time of the accident.
Another common cause of motorcycle accidents is when motorcyclists conduct lane splitting. This occurs when a motorcyclist weaves between stopped traffic. In some cases, a motorcyclist sustains a serious injury because of road hazards. Motorcycles tend to be less stable than vehicles, so if a motorcyclist encounters loose gravel, a rock or debris on the roadway, this can get under the tires and cause the motorcyclist to lose balance. Motorcyclists are also susceptible to losing balance when they encounter slippery roadways, potholes, uneven heights between lanes and other roadway irregularities.
Common Motorcycle Injuries
As discussed previously, many motorcycle accidents result in fatalities. This is most often the motorcyclist. When a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, he or she may suffer from very serious injuries due to the limited amount of protection that he or she receives from clothing and a helmet. Unlike a passenger in other types of vehicle, there is no steel structure that protects the motorcyclist.
Many motorcyclists suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Concussions are also common. Motorcyclists may also suffer from spinal injuries that result in paralysis. Fractures and amputation may also occur. Road rash can occur, which occurs when the ground’s abrasiveness causes a serious encounter with the motorcyclist’s skin. Due to the intensity of some of these injuries, treating these medical injuries can be extremely expensive.
Motorcycle Insurance Coverage
Most automotive insurance policies specifically prohibit coverage for the insured’s motorcycle accident under a regular policy. Motorcyclists must often purchase separate insurance to cover their motorcycle. While some individuals may only secure the necessary liability coverage required under state law, they may be able to purchase the following:
Personal Injury Protection
Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance covers an insured’s medical bills regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Even if the insured caused the accident or was involved in a single-vehicle accident, PIP covers medical bills up to the policy limit. Generally, the higher the amount of coverage, the more expensive the policy is. PIP also covers the insured’s lost wages. PIP can also be used by a passenger on the bike to cover his or her expenses.
UM coverage pays for the insured’s medical expenses up to the policy limit in the event that the driver found to be at fault had no insurance or an insufficient amount of insurance to cover the motorcyclist’s expenses. Limits for this type of coverage are often the same as the regular liability limits.
Property Damage Coverage
Motorcyclists may also wish to purchase additional coverage that covers the vehicle in case they are found to be at fault for the accident. This coverage can help pay for the repairs of the bike or replacement of another vehicle.