Motorcyclists face unique safety risks on Oregon’s roads, which make them especially vulnerable to serious injury or death in traffic accidents. Because of the inherent safety disadvantages faced by motorcyclists, bikers are 5.5 times more likely to suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries in a traffic accident than occupants of enclosed motor vehicles.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 5,000 people per year are killed in motorcycle accidents across the United States and the dangers faced by motorcycle riders are growing at an alarming rate. Over the past ten years, motorcycle accident fatality rates nationwide increased by more than 75 percent.
The Oregon Department of Transportation’s most recent Oregon Traffic Crash Summary states that there were 38 fatal motorcycle crashes in 2011, in which a total of 39 people died – all motorcycle bikers or passengers. These fatal crashes occurred during daylight hours and on dry roads. Faced with statistics this dire, motorcyclists are well warned to protect themselves and their passengers by driving defensively and wearing protective gear, including a heavy-duty helmet. It is a matter of law in Oregon that bikers wear helmets, but it is also the smart thing to do. Due to the lack of metal surrounding the rider, as a passenger in a car would have, motorcycle riders are at a much higher risk of injury than those in passenger vehicles. It goes without saying that those injuries are almost always much more severe than those involved in the same accident, but in a passenger car.
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Regardless of the cause of the accident, the following list is a guide on what steps you should take following a road traffic incident. Please note that before taking any of these steps that you assess the safety of the situation.
- Check for injuries. A quick self-check will help to identify any major injuries, such as compound fractures, to assist paramedics when they attend the accident site. Some injuries are not immediately noticeable, however, such as concussions and internal bleeding, and are equally important to identify. Always seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident to determine any inconspicuous injuries
- Move the bike off the road. If it is safe to do so, move the motorcycle out of traffic. Being small, lightweight vehicles, motorcycles lying flat on the road may not be visible to other traffic until it is too late, potentially causing another accident
- Take photos. Only if it is safe, take photos which show not only the damage but also the potential cause of the accident. For example, if there was any damage to the road surface or poorly visible signage, this may be a factor
- Gather information from other parties. Collect the details of all other parties involved including vehicle registrations, names, and telephone numbers. If there are witnesses to the incident, take note of their details as well
- Prepare your legal case. Regardless of who was at fault, you will need a solid understanding of your legal rights which is best sought from an attorney