Motorcycling is the primary mode of transportation for some Nevadans who want to leave less of a carbon footprint, enjoy the savings at the gas pump, or who simply find riding a fun way to get from point A to point B. Whatever the reason, it is important to recognize that motorcyclists are in a vulnerable position while on the road. Not only does a motorcycle lack the structural protection offered by an automobile, but they also weigh significantly less than an automobile. This means that in a crash between a motorcyclist and an automobile, the motorcyclist could be gravely injured or even killed.
In fact, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2016, over 5,280 motorcyclists lost their lives in motorcycle accidents — a 5.1 percent increase in the number of motorcycle fatalities compared to 2015. In 2016, nationwide, fatal motorcycle crashes occurred 28 times more often than fatal passenger vehicle accidents. Nevada had the dubious honor in 2016 of having the most motorcycle deaths in the nation per total motor vehicle deaths at 22.6 percent.
There may be many reasons why motorcycle accidents are so prevalent. Motorcycles have a small profile, so motorists who are distracted or do not check their mirrors or blind spots when changing lanes or turning may not see the motorcyclist in time to avoid a crash. Motorcyclists are also more vulnerable to adverse road conditions than automobiles. If an automobile is driving too fast for road conditions, they could strike a motorcyclist. Even riders who follow the rules of the road and wear helmets could suffer serious injuries in a motorcycle collision — if they are lucky to survive at all.
Motorists owe all others — including motorcyclists –a duty of care to drive reasonably under the circumstances. If they breach this duty and cause a motorcycle accident, the injured motorcyclist may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.