The Grim Truth About Motorcycles and ATVs

Here in Alaska, we love our outdoor sports and activities.  As summer rolls around, one of the favorite pastimes for many Alaskans is to take to the hills riding motorcycles and ATVs. For many people, there is no better way to experience the scenery and beauty of our state.  In many cases, however, these trips can lead to a hospital emergency room—or worse.

The Reality of Motorcycle and ATV Crashes

Unfortunately, the numbers tell a dark story about how often motorcycle and ATV riders are seriously injured or killed when compared to passenger car occupants.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die and four times more likely to be injured in a crash than the occupants of a passenger vehicle.  This is due to the relatively unprotected nature of a motorcycle operator.  Motorcycle riders, and particularly passengers sitting on the back of the motorcycle, are at a far higher risk of being thrown off the bike.  This can lead to traumatic brain injury, with or without a helmet, and other serious injuries or even death.  Furthermore, at least two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are not the fault of the motorcycle operator but of another driver of a passenger car or truck.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports similar statistics for ATVs.  Over a five-year period from 2015 to 2019, the CPSC estimated over half a million emergency-room visits for treatment of ATV-related injuries. Many of these injuries occurred when a car or truck struck an ATV.

Staying Safe on Recreational Vehicles

It is fun to operate a motorcycle or ATV, but operators must exercise extreme caution to avoid becoming a victim of someone else’s negligence.  A few things you can do to make yourself safer include:

  • Wear a helmet. Even though helmet use is not required for all operators under Alaska law, it is always a good idea to use one. Helmets have been shown to statistically decrease the number of serious traumatic brain injuries involved in motorcycle crashes.
  • Practice “defensive driving.” Watching out for the other driver is always a good idea, but it is especially important if you are on a motorcycle or ATV.  Do not assume that other drivers will yield the right-of-way or obey traffic laws; prepare for evasive tactics if a driver encroaches on your space.
  • Do not ride on public roads on an ATV. ATVs are designed for off-road travel, and the majority of crashes with other vehicles occur when a rider is attempting to use a public road.  Stay off public roads unless there is a clearly marked lane for your ATV.  Do not use these roads to move your ATV to the spot where you will use it.  Instead, transport ATVs to trails and other areas by truck or trailer.

If you have been the victim of a motorcycle or ATV crash, contact Barber & Associates today.  We are here to help you protect your rights and recover compensation for your motorcycle or ATV injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  Call us today to learn how we can help.

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