May was motorcycle safety-awareness month in Nevada, but safety is not limited by date. The reality is that with nice weather and summer vacations, many motorcycle enthusiasts will be hitting the roads. If you ride a motorcycle, you may enjoy the freedom of the road, but did you know your favorite mode of transport comes with some serious risks?
The attorneys at Dallas Horton & Associates have helped many riders seek compensation after Nevada and Las Vegas motorcycle accidents. We’ve compiled this information to help you enjoy the road safely. If you do find yourself in a collision, contact Dallas Horton & Associates for a consultation.
Nevada Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Even if you are an experienced rider, you may be surprised by some of the stats about motorcycles in the state:
- 76 percent of Nevada motorcycle crashes cause an injury
- In 2015, there were 55 motorcycle accident fatalities in Nevada, up from 50 in 2005
- Traffic deaths overall increased 10 percent in Nevada between 2014 and 2015.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents in Nevada
Common types of motorcycle crashes in the state include:
1. Failure-to-Yield Accidents
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Nevada is due to passenger car error. Drivers may not see a motorcycle or may fail to yield, meaning riders do not have enough time to respond and can be seriously injured in a slide or crash.
You cannot control what car drivers do, but you can do some things to reduce the risk they post. Always ride defensively, thinking two or three moves ahead. This way, even if a driver pulls in front of you, you may already be aware of where you can safely direct your bike.
Stay visible, make eye contact with drivers and do not assume they notice you. While car drivers should be aware of their surroundings at all times, using extra caution yourself can help you reduce the risk of a collision.
2. DUI Motorcycle Accidents
Between 2003 and 2012, 1,025 individuals in Nevada were killed in fatal collisions involving a drunk driver. This figure includes drunk motorcycle riders and drunk drivers.
You can avoid a DUI by not hopping on your motorcycle after drinking. A good suggestion is to always have a few options for getting home safely. Have someone you can call, bring extra money for a cab and have a backup plan in case your first few options fall through. If you are headed somewhere you know you’ll be drinking, consider leaving your motorcycle at home entirely. You will be less tempted when your judgement may be compromised and you won’t have to worry about picking up your bike the next morning.
Unfortunately, even if you are responsible, you have no way of controlling the drinking habits of other drivers on the road. An inebriated motorist in a car can slam into your motorcycle and cause severe injury to you even if you have been responsible with drinking.
You can reduce the risk by using extra caution, especially when driving late at night, on weekends and on holidays. Keep an eye out for anyone driving erratically and get out of their way. Once you are safe, contact the authorities to let them know about the potential drunk driver.
3. Distracted Driver Collisions
Distracted driving is a serious problem across the country and in Nevada. About 20 percent of all U.S. collisions in 2008 involved distraction, and that year more than 500,000 Americans were injured in distracted-driving crashes. Distraction is a serious problem because it slows response times and means you might not notice what’s right in front of you. In fact, dialing a phone increases your risk of a collision by 2.8 times and even talking on a hands-free device can increase your risk of a crash 1.3 times.
Nevada takes distracted driving seriously. Using a handheld phone while driving carries a $250 fine. Avoiding distraction can help you avoid a crash, as well as expensive fines.
4. Fatigue-Related Crashes
Being sleepy can be a serious risk on the road and can increase your risk of a crash nine-fold. Fatigue can be a distraction and can slow response times as well as cloud your thinking. If you’re tired enough, you may actually start to nod off, which can cause your motorcycle to swerve off the road or make you lose balance and fall from your ride.
The best way to prevent fatigue-related crashes is not to ride when you’re feeling sleepy. Keep in mind that the Nevada sun and heat can make the symptoms of fatigue even worse, so even if you’re feeling sleepy and not completely exhausted, you may be at risk. Be especially careful at night and early in the morning, when most people are feeling more exhausted. Try to avoid driving soon after you rise, to give your body time to wake up properly.
If you are riding your motorcycle and notice you’re getting sleepy, stop and pull over. If you’re yawning, having trouble keeping your eyes open or can’t remember the last few seconds of your ride, you could be a danger to yourself and others on the road. Pull over and rest. Get coffee and wake up fully before continuing.
5. Visibility Incidents
Being able to see properly is essential to riding safely. There are many visibility issues that may come up for motorcycle riders in Nevada. Glare and dust blowing into the eyes are two of the most common issues. The right helmet can block glare and goggles can protect your eyes from debris, making it easier to see.
Another common issue has to do with blind turns and with visibility of the road. Roads may be designed for larger vehicles, so you may not notice signs or other important information if it is covered by trees and shrubs from your angle on a bike. When approaching turns and intersections, slow down and look closely to make sure you know what to expect.
A third common cause of visibility-related motorcycle accidents in Nevada has to do with car drivers not seeing motorcyclists properly. Sometimes, this is caused by passenger car motorists not looking or being distracted behind the wheel. No matter the cause, you can reduce your risk of a crash by wearing reflective and visible clothing at night to ensure others can see you.
6. Mechanical Defect-Related Crashes
Motorcycle defects, such as warped tires, incorrectly manufactured handlebars and other issues, can cause your bike to malfunction on the road. When this happens on a busy highway, the result can be a collision.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk. Start by keeping your vehicle in good shape, so it is ready for the demands of the road. You can also keep track of any recalls that may affect your motorcycle so you can have potentially dangerous parts replaced before they cause any injury.
7. Single-Motorcycle Accidents
Single-motorcycle accidents don’t involve other vehicles. They can occur because a motorcyclist loses control on a turn, goes off the road, crashes into a stationary object or flips the bike.
In many cases, these collisions involve speeding, so simply going the posted speed limit can help you reduce your risk. However, keep in mind that it’s important to adjust your speed for the weather because your vehicle may be more vulnerable than a car. On a wet highway in the rain, for example, a small gas spill can cause you to lose control of your bike and veer out of control. Slowing down in bad weather can help you stay safer.
Slides occur when a motorcyclist loses control of their vehicle or cannot stop in time and goes into a slide. The bike tips to the side and continues in motion with the motorcyclist. The rider can be dragged over the surface of the road or can become pinned under the vehicle. This type of accident can lead to amputations, severe head trauma, road rash and other serious injury.
These types of crashes often happen when car drivers cut in front of riders or when lane splitting happens. They can also happen if a motorcyclist needs to make a sudden maneuver to avoid a crash, and this causes them to lose control of their vehicle.
You may be able to avoid a slide by taking up a whole lane and not sharing lanes with other drivers. Avoid passing cars when there isn’t adequate room to do so and avoid tailgating. If a car or truck is following you too closely, get out of the way so they don’t crash into you if you have to stop suddenly.
There is no question that the results of any of these kinds of accidents can be devastating. A motorcyclist is often protected only by leather and a helmet, if that. There are no air bags, seatbelts and other safety devices in the event of a crash, and since cars and trucks are so much larger, the injuries to a rider can be life-altering.
Knowing the most common types of collisions and working to prevent them can help. However, if you have been in a motorcycle accident in Nevada, you will want to speak to an attorney. Legal advice is important when you are making key decisions, especially since your injuries may be serious. Contact Dallas Horton & Associates if you have been in a crash and would like a consultation.
How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Nevada
In addition to the above tips, there are additional things you can do to prevent serious injury and crashes when riding your motorcycle:
- Get training. Whether you have just gotten your license or have been on a motorcycle for some time, getting additional lessons from an experienced instructor can help give you some great advice for avoiding crashes and staying safe. Be sure to get lessons about defensive driving and about what to do if you must go into a slide to avoid a crash. A good instructor can show you how to reduce your risk of an injury even if you find yourself in a very dangerous situation.
- Wear a helmet and wear it properly. There is a huge disparity between the fatality risk for helmeted riders and those without helmets. In 2015, 41 of Nevada’s motorcycle fatalities involved riders not wearing helmets and 11 involved riders with head protection. Helmets can cut your risk of head trauma if you are ever in an accident. When wearing your helmet, be sure to use the chinstraps and wear a helmet that fits. The wrong helmet, worn correctly, is likely to fall off during a crash, meaning it won’t protect you.
- Wear extra gear. In addition to a helmet, you can wear boots, leathers, gloves and extra padding to give you some protection in the event of a collision. These items will protect you from road rash and potentially other injuries if you find yourself in a dangerous situation. Goggles can also help protect you if your helmet does not have a visor.
- Know the rules of the road and follow them. Is lane-splitting allowed in Nevada? This is just one of the common questions we get asked. The answer is no. You must ride in your own lane and treat your motorcycle like any other vehicle on the road. Do not share lanes. If you are unclear about these or other rules of the road, learn them so you can obey them properly.
- Protect your passengers. If you have a passenger, make sure they are safe, too. Do not let an additional rider on your bike unless they have a helmet and are wearing it correctly. Make sure your passenger holds on to you correctly. Try going slowly at first if your passenger is new to motorcycles. This allows him or her to adjust and to get used to the movement so they don’t accidentally let go.
Have you been injured in a motorcycle accident in Las Vegas or anywhere in Nevada? Contact Dallas Horton & Associates for a consultation. Dallas Horton & Associates handles your case from start to finish, so you can focus on your life and your healing journey. Our law firm aggressively fights for the results you deserve.
When it comes to the evidence that can help your case, we know what to look for, where to look for it, what it means and how to use it. Our staff is sympathetic to your situation and committed to your case from start to finish. We have more than 70 years of combined legal experience, and our law firm has been helping plaintiffs in Nevada for nearly 20 years. We have successfully resolved more than 7,000 cases, and our staff is bilingual. In fact, more than 30 percent of the clients we work with speak Spanish.
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, reach out to us to get the counsel and representation you need before you make any important decisions.