Rear-end motorcycle collisions are more severe than passenger vehicle rear-end collisions because of the differences between motorcycle and car accidents. This is due to the smaller size and lighter weight of the motorcycle and the fact that there is absolutely no protection between the rider and the vehicle hitting him and the hard pavement except for his helmet and clothes. Not surprisingly, innocent riders who are rear-ended suffer much more horrific injuries or death than other motorists.
Why Drivers Rear-End Motorcycles
Most people may not realize that motorcycle rear-end crashes fall into two categories. The first is the most common category where someone hits the motorcycle from the rear. The other type occurs when a motorcycle rider has to stop suddenly when the driver in front of him suddenly stops. This latter type of crash can cause even more serious injuries because the bike could cart-wheel and throw the rider over the handlebars into the vehicle in front, other objects, or traffic.
Many rear-end collisions could be prevented if drivers followed traffic rules and practiced safe driving. Common reasons drivers cause these wrecks include:
- Inattention. When drivers are inattentive, they may not see a smaller, less visible motorcycle in front of them. In addition, they could fail to notice the bike slowing when the motorcycle rider downshifts or rolls out the throttle—which slows the bike without the brake lights coming on.
- Distracted driving. If drivers are talking on a cell phone, texting, looking at a GPS, or attending to passengers, they may not notice a changing traffic light or a motorcycle rider that is slowing or stopped, with dangerous consequences for the biker.
- Failing to slow down. Drivers must maintain a safe distance from any vehicle in front of them—including motorcycles—and start slowing down with sufficient time to stop before hitting the motorcycle.
- Intoxicated driving. Driving while impaired—by alcohol or drugs—can slow a driver’s reaction time and reduce his ability to drive safely. This can result in a driver not seeing a motorcycle or traffic light or misjudging the time he needs to stop his vehicle.
- Speeding. When drivers are speeding, they may not leave enough time or have enough control to stop before crashing into a motorcycle in front of them.
Common Injuries Caused by Rear-End Crashes
Motorcycle riders have no advance warning of a rear-end collision and as a result cannot take any actions to avoid it or reduce the force of the impact. In addition, the motorcycle can be crushed between two vehicles. As a result, a motorcyclist’s injuries can be so much more catastrophic than motorists who are rear-ended in passenger vehicles. Injuries many motorcycle riders suffer in rear-end accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries are not uncommon in rear-end collisions, and some victims can suffer complete or partial paralysis.
- Whiplash. Whiplash can occur when a person’s head is jarred in a sudden movement, causing damage to the victim’s nerves, tendons, muscles, and discs in his neck. Whiplash can cause the victim to suffer long-term pain and to need months or longer of treatment.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Even if the rider wears a motorcycle helmet, he can suffer a traumatic brain injury causing serious changes to his reasoning, emotional, and cognitive abilities, vision, hearing, and physical abilities.
- Amputations. Due to the lack of protection that motorcyclists have, many riders suffer amputations from the force of the vehicles hitting them or become crushed between vehicle parts.
- Broken bones. Motorcyclists can suffer extensive and serious broken bones in rear-end collisions, sometimes requiring multiple, successive surgeries to repair.
- Internal injuries. Motorcyclists can suffer internal organ damage or internal bleeding if the rear-end collision is serious enough.
- Facial disfigurement. Rear-end collisions can cause damage to the rider’s face, including broken eye sockets, cheekbones, and jaws. Serious lacerations can result in disfigurement and permanent scarring.
If you or a loved one was rear-ended while on a motorcycle, it is likely that you can hold the negligent driver responsible for your injuries—with the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Start an online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment to learn how I can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.