Motorcycle Accidents

Tulsa Motorcycle Accidents

Tulsa motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Riders can suffer catastrophic injuries that require life-long medical care. While motorists are required by Oklahoma law to actively watch for motorcyclists, many make negligent errors that can cost a rider their life.

Facts About Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle riders are exposed to many dangers on the roads. This is why it is important to take the necessary safeguards when riding. Although motorcyclists are often stereotyped as reckless and fast drivers, the number one cause of motorcycle accidents is actually inattentive behavior from other motor vehicle drivers.

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office released a report stating in the last reporting year:

  • There were 1,435 motorcycle accidents and 89 motorcycle fatalities
  • More than 100,000 motorcyclists have died in traffic accidents nationwide since the enactment of the Highway Safety and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966
  • Two-thirds of motorcycle accidents result from a violation of the motorcyclist’s right of way
  • Motorcyclists’ risk of death is 26x greater than automobile passengers
  • The chance of a motorcyclist being injured in a collision is 5x greater than the same risk for those driving passenger vehicles
  • More than 70% of motorcycle accidents that involve an automobile occur at intersections
Oklahoma Motorcycle Laws

Motorcycle safety begins with wearing a helmet and the appropriate safety attire and following the laws in place for your protection. Each state has a set of rules all motorcyclists must abide by when on the road.

In Oklahoma, the following are in place, including:

  • All motorcyclists and their passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets.
  • Each motorcyclist should complete motorcycle training and pass a motorcycle driving test in order to obtain a motorcycle endorsement or license.
  • Daytime use of headlights is required.
  • Left and Right Mirrors are required.
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Cause More Damage?

Motorcycle accidents are more dangerous for the rider than a motorist. While every motor vehicle crash can cause serious injuries, motorcycle riders are particularly vulnerable in a collision.

Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Cause More Damage?

Motorists are far more protected than motorcyclists. Cars and trucks serve as steel cages, shielding drivers and passengers from some of the damage caused by a collision with a motorcycle. In addition, most motor vehicles are equipped with safety features, including airbags and seatbelts.
Riders are exposed to the elements, taking the full force of a collision with a motor vehicle. Helmets, gloves, and other safety garments provide a motorcyclist with some protection. However, a rider’s body is no match for 3,000 pounds of steel and fiberglass.

Motorcyclists Have Less Control

Motorcycles have very sensitive steering and brake components, making defensive riding very challenging. If a car swerves into its lane, a motorcyclist may swerve to avoid a collision and accidentally steer into a nearby object. However, braking suddenly to avoid the car may send a rider into a spin. A motorcyclist can easily lose control of their bike, preventing an accident only to cause more damage to themselves.

Riders Suffer Two Impacts

Motorcycle accidents involving passenger cars or trucks produce more serious injuries for the rider. When motorists hit a motorcyclist, they only experience the force of the initial impact.

Motorcycle riders, however, will bear the force of the initial crash and the additional impact of hitting the ground. In most motorcycle accidents, a rider will either slide or tumble along the road, suffering severe road rash and broken bones.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries are Serious

Motorcycle accident injuries are serious. Riders often sustain catastrophic bodily damage, leaving them with permanent damage.

Head and Brain Injuries

Many motorcycle riders suffer traumatic brain injuries after a crash. Even with a helmet, a motorcyclist can suffer concussions and severe bruising. In some cases, a rider might be knocked off their bike and strike multiple objects before coming to a stop, including other vehicles, buildings, rocks, and other structures.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause permanent brain damage. Motorcyclists can suffer many cognitive, behavioral, and psychological consequences:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Seizures
  • Memory loss
  • Personality changes
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced cognitive abilities
  • Persistent ringing in the ears

In some cases, traumatic brain injuries can lead to degenerative brain diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are the most common bodily damage motorcycle riders sustain. Riders can suffer catastrophic damage that causes temporary or permanent paralysis. In some cases, spinal cord damage will lead to paraplegia, preventing motorcyclists from ever riding again.

Even minor spinal cord injuries can cause permanent nerve damage. Injured riders can spend years undergoing multiple surgeries, treatments, and physical therapy. Rehabilitation is usually a very painful and long process.

Internal Damage

Motorcycle accidents can cause serious internal injuries. Organs are delicate. The blunt-force trauma can collapse a lung or rupture organs, causing internal bleeding.

Road Rash

When motorcycle riders are hit at higher speeds, they are usually knocked over and forced to slide across the pavement, gravel, or the road. Road rash refers to the friction burns or abrasions that happen when skin is scraped off by being rubbed on a rough surface.

Minor road rash can leave a rider with deep bruises and long stretches of burned and scraped skin. Major road rash can leave skin and muscle tissue on the road. Severe abrasions can lead to severe infections.

Road rash can take weeks or months to heal. In serious cases, road rash victims may need skin graphs to heal properly.

Broken, Fractured, or Dislocated Bones

The excessive force of the impact in a motorcycle accident can cause multiple fractures and broken bones. The most common bone injuries include:

  • Broken collar bones
  • Broken arms and legs
  • Fractured ribs
  • Fractured skull

Bones are painful to reset. Severely broken bones may need pins and rods to hold them together. Some accident victims may suffer lifelong chronic pain if the bones do not heal properly.

Loss of Limb or Amputations

Being struck by a car or truck and thrown on the ground can cause irreparable damage to a motorcyclist’s extremities. The force of the impact may sever an arm or a leg. In other cases, a rider may become pinned by a vehicle or their bike, cutting off the flow of blood to their limbs.

If the flow of blood and oxygen is not restored quickly, muscle tissue will begin to die. Doctors may be forced to amputate a motorcyclist’s limbs to remove the necrotic tissue. In addition, a rider may suffer crush syndrome if the flow of blood is returned after a few hours. Crush syndrome occurs when the rush of toxins from dying muscle tissue causes multiple organ failure. The heart and kidneys are the most affected organs.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Suffering significant bodily damage can cause an array of emotional and psychological problems. Recovering from a traumatic motorcycle crash is a painful process. If an injury victim suffers permanent damage or disfigurement, the mental impact can be severe.

Common Causes for Motorcycle Accidents in Tulsa

Motorists generally look out for other cars and trucks. However, motorcycles are much smaller. Unless a driver is actively watching for a motorcycle rider, they can easily hit or cause a rider to run off the road.

Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving has reached near epidemic levels across the country. When motorists look away from the road to check an alert on their phone or adjust the radio station, they can cause deadly motorcycle accidents.
  • Road Hazards Road hazards are especially dangerous to motorcycle riders. Motorcycles have sensitive steering and braking systems. A rider is not able to maneuver around objects in the road as easily as a passenger car driver. In addition, uneven heights between lanes or wet roads can cause a motorcyclist to lose control and crash.
  • Reckless Driving: When motorists engage in reckless driving and cause an accident, motorcycle riders usually suffer the most. Reckless driving can include speeding, failing to yield, drunk driving, running red lights, and disobeying street signs.
  • Failure to look for motorcycles: Failing to actively watch for riders is the most common reason for motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are small and can easily be overlooked in a blind spot. Intersections, changing lanes, and left-hand turns are the top three places motorists miss a motorcycle and cause a devastating crash.

When a motorist drives negligently or recklessly, motorcycle riders can suffer serious and life-threatening injuries.

Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident in Tulsa

After a motorcycle accident, there are critical steps for a rider to take to ensure their safety and ability to make a successful injury claim.

Get Off the Road

First, it is crucial for a rider to get to safety. Other cars and trucks may not see motorcycle riders on the road and cause more damage.

Do Not Remove Helmet or Safety Gear

Secondly, motorcycle riders should leave all their protective gear in place. It is especially important not to remove the helmet. Motorcycle crashes can produce detrimental injuries. However, injured victims may be in shock, or the rush of adrenaline may mask the pain of any physical trauma. Riders may be unaware of the severity of their injuries. Removing the helmet may worsen any head injuries. Accident victims should wait until the paramedics have assessed their injuries.

Always Seek Medical Attention

Even if the motorcycle accident was minor, riders should seek medical attention. Shock and adrenaline can prevent symptoms from showing for several hours, days, or weeks. Delayed injuries may worsen with time. Internal organ damage and head injuries may not show immediate symptoms and are often overlooked. Untreated, internal organ damage and head injuries can lead to severe complications or death. Motorcycle riders should always get medical attention to prevent exacerbating their condition.

Gather Critical Evidence at the Scene

If able, motorcycle riders should gather as much evidence as possible. Motorcycle accident claims are notorious for their difficulty. Liability is hard to prove. However, collecting evidence at the scene can help support a motorcycle injury case.

A motorcycle rider should:

  • Take pictures of the scene from every angle and at varying distances
  • Take pictures of their injuries
  • Take pictures of property damage, including their bike and the other motorists’ vehicles
  • Write down the details of the accident while it is fresh in the mind
  • Get a copy of the police report
  • Interview witnesses and gather contact information
  • Collect information from the driver that caused the accident, including contact information and insurance information

Having strong supportive evidence can drastically improve the success of an injury claim. Insurance companies often deny legitimate claims due to a lack of evidence. In addition, if an insurance agent can place any responsibility for the accident on the rider, they may deny an injury claim.

Common Liability Issues in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable on the roadways. They have minimal protection against other vehicles, distracted drivers, weather conditions, and other road hazards. When a motorcycle accident occurs, and a rider is injured, it can be difficult to prove who is at fault. Occasionally liability in a motorcycle accident may be cut and dry; however, it is common that many causes are not easy to determine instantly.

Sometimes motorcycle accidents occur, and there is no physical contact with another vehicle. This can complicate the legal process, but it does not mean that the other driver’s negligence did not cause the accident. Motorcyclists are often forced to drive off the road or dangerously lay their bikes down to avoid collisions with drivers who are not paying attention or driving unsafely.

In cases like this, even though the other driver did not physically hit the motorcyclist, they are still responsible for the accident and any injuries.

When drivers make left-hand turns, they often do not first check to see if there is a motorcyclist in their blind spot, contributing to thousands of accidents and deaths every year. This, coupled with the growing rate of distracted drivers on the roadways, makes for increasingly dangerous conditions for America’s motorcyclists.

In other situations, dangerous road conditions such as potholes or unmaintained roadways may be to blame. These conditions may also play an important role in any motorcycle accident, contributing to the severity of injuries to the motorcyclist and the damages that can be claimed.

Even with proper riding technique and all recommended safety gear, motorcyclists are at a much higher rate of injury and death if an accident occurs. Car drivers should always be on the lookout for motorcyclists, especially in the spring, summer, and fall months when riders are out in greater numbers.

Rider Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Oklahoma

In a perfect world, motorists would always look for motorcyclists and share the road appropriately. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to respect motorcycle riders and their rights. Riders can help protect themselves by following some important tips:

  • Wear the appropriate riding gear, including leather jackets and long, thick pants protect the skin from surface abrasions in case of an accident
  • Wear brightly colored clothes that are visible at night
  • Check headlights and tires before long rides
  • Keep up with regular service and maintenance checks
  • Always follow the rules of the road

Contact Graves McLain for more information on how a motorcycle accident attorney can assist with an injury claim by dialing (918) 359-6600.

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