In Great Britain, 19,297 motorcyclists were injured in reported road accidents in 2016. Of these, 319 were killed and 5,553 seriously injured. This figure has been falling since 2008 when 493 motorcyclists were killed. However, whilst motorcyclists only account for 1% of total road traffic, they account for around 18% of deaths on the road. Along with pedal cyclists and pedestrians, motorcyclists are vulnerable road users, as they have a higher crash and injury rate than vehicle occupants because they do not benefit from all the protective features, such as seat belts, airbags, and other impact protection features.
Junctions are a common location for motorcyclist crashes, with around 30 motorcyclists being killed or injured in collisions each day. The majority of these collisions happen at T-junctions, when drivers pull into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist, particularly at times of peak traffic flow. However, these accidents are not restricted to T-junctions in urban areas. Motorcyclists are involved in more crashes at all junction types compared to other road users. These accidents are more likely to be the fault of drivers, who fail to see the rider, despite them being in full view.
Around 20% of motorcycle accidents are caused by the rider losing control, without any other road user being involved. These collisions were often associated with rider error, occurred on rural roads and were linked to excessive speed, alcohol, other impairments, and reckless or careless behaviour. However, less commonly, motorcyclists were involved in these accidents because they lost control while attempting to avoid impact with another vehicle, or lost control due to another vehicle’s movement. Research suggested that new riders had more single-vehicle crashes than experienced or returned riders.
Excessive and inappropriate speed is the leading cause of road trauma in many countries globally. The higher the speed at which the vehicle travels, the longer the vehicle takes to stop. Although most motorcycle accidents occur at lower speeds, fatal and serious injuries are more likely to be suffered at higher speeds. As those riding a motorbike are not offered as the same level of crash protection as those in motor vehicles, they are particularly vulnerable to serious or fatal injuries associated with excessive speed.
A motorcyclist was 2.7 times as likely to be involved in an accident when under the influence of alcohol as a driver. This does not mean that motorcyclists were more likely to drink and drive, but rather that alcohol places a rider at greater risk of being involved in an accident.
Motorcycle riders often sustain severe injuries when they are involved in an accident with another vehicle. While other drivers are surrounded by airbags and hundreds of kilos of metal, bikers are exposed and vulnerable. When a vehicle collides with a motorcycle, the rider’s injuries can include:
TBI (traumatic brain injury)
Damage to the spine
Burns and road rash
Damage to internal organs
The European Transport Safety Council revealed that medical costs are the most expensive part of motorcycle-related accidents. If the motorcyclist were wearing a helmet but still suffered fatal wounds, the average medical expenses are around £14,000 per person. If the motorcycle rider suffered life-threatening injuries without putting on a helmet, the average cost would come to about £16,000 per person.
The medical costs of victims that suffer head injuries are more expensive than those who don’t sustain head injuries. The average cost of victims without head injuries cost £15,000 per person, while the medical cost for victims with head injuries is around £43,000 per person. Keep in mind, these costs may vary from case to case, and in several situations, the cost of an injury may be lower or higher than the statistics provided.
Besides the expensive costs of medical care, victims of motorcycle accidents also suffer social costs such as reduced quality of life, loss of work, and suffering. In motorcycle accidents, medical cost accounts for 6%, 29% for work, and 63% for reduced quality of life and suffering.
Reports have revealed that about £8.8 billion is lost every year in suffering, pain, and overall quality of life, while £4.8 billion is lost every year due to lost wages. Social costs, for each motorcycle accident where the victims have endured fatal injuries, are an average of £16,800.
We secured almost £7,500 for a motorcyclist after the insurers offered only £2,500 following a road traffic accident with a van. The claimant was riding his Yamaha motorbike at around 60-mph road along St. Peter’s Way when a van in front of him suddenly turned right into his path causing him to collide with the side of the van.
Our client was wearing protective clothing which was badly damaged during the accident and sustained several injuries including bruised ribs and damage to the left hamate (a bone in the wrist). The motorbike was written off following the damage it sustained and due to the insurance policy that the claimant took out prior to the accident he was only covered for a replacement motorbike and not a car, so had no means of getting to work for five months following the accident. We recovered damages for injury and financial losses totaling £7,480.41 which included the cost of traveling to work, damage to clothing, and the cost of buying a replacement vehicle. The defendant’s insurers initially denied liability and only offered an initial £2,512. However, as a result of MRH Solicitors specialist motorbike accident team, we secured three times the amount of compensation than was initially offered.
We settled a motorcycle accident claim for over £1.1 million for our client who lost his leg and suffered severe injuries in a collision with another motor vehicle. Mr. R was a fit and healthy engineer who enjoyed a variety of sporting and leisure pursuits. He was a keen motorcyclist and was riding along a 30-mph road with a car traveling towards him. Suddenly a motorbike with a sidecar pulled out to overtake the car and drove straight into Mr. R . The injuries were so severe that his leg was almost torn completely off and there were various leg and pelvic fractures plus numerous internal injuries.
Ongoing psychological trauma persisted and Mr. R suffered deteriorating mental health over the years. The house he and his wife lived in was not suitable for a wheelchair as it had no downstairs bathroom and had steps up to the front door. MRH Solicitors ultimately settled the claim for £1,132,000 which enabled Mr. R to purchase a new property that was wheelchair accessible and made sure he could pay for ongoing care and support.