The Other Accidents: Impacts with Non-Cars
Thousands of people are injured in car accidents each year, but often, when thinking of accidents, those involving two cars are the primary type considered. Accidents involving motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are frequently overlooked, but they make up a significant number of accidents each year.
For years, safe-driving organizations and local authorities have tried to stress the importance of vigilance and properly safety, as many of these accidents could have been prevented. But how are these accidents different? And how are they handled? Let’s see.
Understandably, there is a higher rate of motorcycle accidents each year, as they lack the supporting structure and air bags that cars have. In 2015, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed, roughly 88,000 were injured, and accidents occurred 29 times more frequently than passenger car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
So why are motorcycle accidents happening so often? There are a few reasons. Motorcycle accidents are more fatal because they often occur with passenger vehicles. In these cases, the car hits the motorcycle head-on or while turning. It is because of this that vigilance is incredibly important. Too often, drivers don’t see a motorcycle before tragedy strikes.
There is a huge legal aspect to these crashes as well, because negligence is the cause. Due to the high fatality rate, drivers involved in these accidents can face substantial legal obligations.
As more people in urban areas decide to reduce their carbon footprints by biking to work, school, or around town, more bicycle accidents happen. Dedication to providing bike lanes and other safety measures help, but like motorcycle accidents, bicyclists are involved in accidents with cars because drivers fail to see them.
In the 2015 NHTSA report, nearly 70% of fatal bicycle accidents happened in urban areas, and alcohol was reported in 37% of bicycle vs. motor vehicle fatalities. Like motorcycle accidents, a lack of protection against a large vehicle, injuries are worse and negligent drivers can face severe consequences.
In 2015, over 5,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, 15% of traffic fatalities. The biggest problem in these accidents is overwhelmingly alcohol, for pedestrians and drivers—48% of crashes in 2015 involved alcohol.
Improving visibility and ensuring drivers obey traffic laws (whether at crosswalks or otherwise) is the best way to prevent pedestrian accidents.
“More and more accident fatalities or severe injuries can be attributed to accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians. Prevention is incredibly important, but often, it’s not enough. Accidents can be life-altering events, and many victims don’t know how to cope and don’t realize that they can seek damages. Making sure victims know what rights they have and the aid available is our primary concern,” says Jason Hennessey, marketing consultant for Houston Accident Attorneys.
Increasing awareness of these types of accidents and what can prevent them can save many lives. Chances are, at some point you’ll be a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian, and knowing more will protect you and those around you.