What Causes Motorcycle Crashes in Michigan?

Written by Steven Matz on . Posted in .

Riding a motorcycle comes with both the freedom to feel the breeze and enjoy the rush of adrenaline. It also comes with more dangers than those who choose alternative modes of transportation. Motorcyclists have less protection when involved in an accident and are less visible to drivers of larger vehicles. In other words, your life is at an increased risk when choosing to ride a motorcycle. You take that risk willingly, and if you get injured and need an attorney to help you seek compensation, Matz Injury Law is here for you.

How Many Motorcycle Fatalities Happen Every Year in Michigan?

Motorcycle deaths are continuously increasing each year, with 151 fatalities in 2020 and 166 in 2021 in the state of Michigan. These statistics come from the Michigan Traffic Crash Reporting System put out annually and serve as a reminder of the risks involved for motorcycle riders.

What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in Michigan?

When riding a motorcycle, you can do everything right, but still, an accident can occur. Staying vigilant, practicing motorcycle safety measures, and knowing what types of crashes are most common can help you remain safe or at least prevent involvement in a fatal motorcycle accident.

Common causes of motorcycle accidents in Michigan today include the following:

Lane Switching or Lane Splitting

Motorcycles require less space in a lane, which can sometimes result in an accident involving lane switching. Common instances where this can occur is when a motorcyclist is riding in blind spots and cars merge without knowledge of them even being there. Road conditions, such as potholes, can also play a role in sudden lane switching.

Crashes may occur when the motorcyclist decides to drive next to a motor vehicle in the same lane or between lanes going in the same direction, called lane splitting. Lane splitting often involves a motorcycle driving between lanes of slow-moving vehicles or halted traffic and is illegal in Michigan.

For safety, try not to remain in another driver’s blind spot, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and avoid lane splitting, whether you are in Michigan, Florida, or any other state.

Head-On Collision

Head-on collisions are a common cause of fatal motorcycle accidents on the roadways today. Passenger vehicles will often cross the center line and enter the other lane. This crossing may only occur for a few seconds, but that’s still enough time to collide with an oncoming motorcycle.

Such collisions can also occur when a passenger car decides to pass, pulling out without noticing the smaller frame of a motorcycle coming toward them from the opposite direction.

While you can not always predict the actions of another driver, The National Safety Council suggests the following to help prevent a head-on collision.

  • Maintain awareness of vehicles in front of you while riding at all times.
  • Drive in the right-hand lane as often as possible or to the right of whatever lane you occupy.
  • Once you become aware of an erratic driver, slow down from high speeds until that driver either turns, or you pass them safely.
  • If you see a motor vehicle coming toward you, your only option may be to steer your bike off the road to avoid a head-on collision.

These types of accidents can be fatal, so taking all precautions available to you is imperative.

Turning Vehicles

Cars or trucks making left-hand turns are problematic and lead to a number of motorcycle crashes each year. Often these motorists do not see you or misjudge the distance between themselves and the motorcycle and make the unsafe turn.

Turns can occur at intersections or a random road out in the country, even if you have the right of way. They can happen when you are passing a car, also.

Motorcyclists rarely have time to slow down, much less stop, and will likely strike the turning vehicle at higher speeds. Such a collision can cause a fatality or a severe medical condition, such as a head injury.

As a motorcycle rider, you can avoid these types of collisions in a number of ways.  Start by increasing your visibility, making yourself more likely to catch the eye of motorists and alert them to your presence. One way to do this is by wearing brighter clothing or something reflective. Another precaution you can take is to approach all intersections cautiously, letting off the gas slightly until you know your path remains clear. Try anticipating what a driver will do and respond accordingly.

Motorcycle laying in road next to helmet

Which Area in Michigan Has the Most Fatalities?

While motorcycle fatalities can happen throughout Michigan, particular areas are cited for having the most fatalities. The state police reported in 2020 that the most deadly accidents occur in Wayne County, which far exceeds the amount in any other county or location in Michigan. Oakland Country was second in fatal crashes, and Kent County and Genessee County tied for third.

What is the Most Common Injury to Occur in a Motorcycle Crash?

Bikers have less protection to keep serious injuries from occurring when involved in a crash, even with helmet use. Injuries can be mild or severe and will depend upon the factors surrounding the motorcycle accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident most commonly occur in the lower extremities, such as the legs or pelvis. As a result, motorcycle accident victims may sustain severe injuries and become temporarily or permanently disabled.

More specifically, some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries include the following.

Broken Bones

A violent impact is often associated with motorcycle collisions and can lead to broken bones, including those found in the joints like the hip, pelvis, spine, shoulder, and wrist.

Cuts, Bruises, Road Rash

Cuts, bruises, and road rash are common in accidents and often accompany some of the more severe injuries. Cuts can be deep or wide enough to require stitches, and bruising can indicate deeper issues internally. When a motorcyclist is knocked off the bike and slides along the roadway, road rash occurs.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury damages the brain itself and can occur when you are thrown from your bike. This damage may be due to a closed head injury, often from a violent jolt, bump, or blow. It can also be a penetrating injury when something manages to penetrate the skull itself. The range of brain injuries can be from mild (concussion) to permanent, and even if you are wearing a motorcycle helmet, they can be fatal.

Neck and Spine Injuries

The neck and spine can suffer from whiplash, soft tissue trauma, herniated discs, vertebrae fractures, and, unfortunately, paralysis. Permanent complications or disability often result.

These types of injuries most often require rehabilitation, with many of them requiring longer hospital stays. To increase the chances of obtaining full compensation for these extended stays, consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

How Can an Attorney at Matz Injury Law Help You?

Riding a motorcycle involves inherent risks, yet you continue because it is what you enjoy. The injury lawyers at Matz Injury Law understand this and are here for you should you experience an accident. Our law firm offers decades of experience providing legal advice and defending clients across Michigan.

While Michigan is a no-fault state, motorcycle riders, when involved in an accident, often receive only the bare minimum when it comes to settlements and medical benefits from insurance companies. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer will seek out more for you to cover your current and future needs by negotiating with insurance parties without backing down.

You can return to your focus on healing while we take care of the rest, including paperwork, filing on your behalf, and, if necessary, representing your case in court.

Studies show that having an attorney after an accident will more likely result in higher compensation.  Matz Injury Law has over $300 million in verdicts for Michigan personal injury clients, so you can trust us to work for you.

Compensation types you may be eligible for include:

  • Medical bills, current and future
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

If a fatality occurs, our motorcycle accident lawyer can file a wrongful death claim for family members and provide legal advice throughout the process.

You Put Your Faith in Your Motorcycle, Now Put It in Us

Whether you ride a motorcycle occasionally or as your major mode of transportation, unfortunate accidents can occur. If one of these happens to you, know that you can put your faith in Matz Injury Law to help you file for benefits and compensation. We take the time to fully evaluate your motorcycle accident case and find the best way to pursue full compensation from the insurance company on your behalf. Call our office today at 1-866-22Not33 or use our online contact form to schedule a completely free consultation.

Written By Steven Matz

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury. Mr. Matz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction and highest honors in 1974 from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from The George Washington University National Law Center. Mr. Matz lectures and publishes in a number of areas, including ethics, marketing, trial tactics, and head injury. Mr. Matz has served on the Michigan Association for Justice Executive Board and currently serves the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board as a Hearing Panel Chairman and Master. He is also a member of the State Bar Committee for Character and Fitness.
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