Archive for April, 2011

Do Serious Motorcycle Fatality Risks Include a Strong Gust of Wind?

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

As fuel prices continue to rise, motorcycle usage and motorcycle accidents are both growing at significant rates.  Despite the growing popularity of motorcycles as a way to reduce fuel costs without spending thirty grand or more for a hybrid car, motorcycles are notoriously unstable so that the risk of laying one’s bike down when suddenly confronted by road hazards is very real.  When riding a motorcycle, minor defects in the pavement or slight errors by other drivers who fail to check blind spots or pay attention may lead to horrific accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries including serious head and neck injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord damage and other serious injuries that may cause such permanent disabilities as limb amputation, paralysis, impaired sensation and mental functioning, loss of mobility and all too often wrongful death.

There has been minimal progress in reducing the risk of serious Kansas motorcycle accidents posed to motorcycle enthusiast as a fatal motorcycle accident in Dexter KS on Sunday makes apparent.  Most people with even a passing awareness of the physics and handling of motorcycles know that they are much less stable than other motor vehicles.  The fatal motorcycle accident this weekend was not caused by a drunk driver or damaged roadway; it was the result of a strong gust of wind.  The victim, a thirty year old airman, apparently lost control of his motorcycle when he emerged into an area experiencing strong winds.  Reports indicate that the wind gusts may have reached 45 mph.

While weather may play a role in many types of motor vehicle accidents in Kansas, it is extremely unlikely that wind would exert such a force on a passenger car, pickup truck or SUV that it would result in the driver losing control of the his or her vehicle.  Motorcycle riders are simply more vulnerable because of a number of inherent design characteristics including:

  • They are considerably smaller than other motor vehicles making them hard to see.
  • Motorcycles weigh far less than passenger vehicles so they do not hold up in an accident.
  • The two-wheeled design of motorcycles makes them prone to tipping.
  • A bike is affected far more significantly by minor road defects.
  • A motorcyclist has virtually no margin for error.
  • Motorcycles offer no structural protection and none of the safety equipment found in a passenger vehicle.

Under the best circumstances, Kansas roadways can be extremely dangerous even in a passenger vehicle.  Drivers of all types of motor vehicles may be involved in a serious Kansas motor vehicle accident caused by any of the following:

  • Inattentive drivers
  • Aggressive drivers
  • Drunk drivers
  • Drivers who do not obey traffic laws
  • Bad weather (i.e. rain and snow)
  • Poorly built or maintained highways
  • Overtired or fatigued motorists

If a person rides a motorcycle the risk posed by these types of hazards are amplified substantially.  It only makes matters worse that a person riding a motorcycle in Kansas must worry about a whole litany of risks that would be insignificant if one were operating a passenger vehicle.  Minor potholes, strong winds and a driver who starts to change lanes without looking may be barely noticeable to someone in a passenger vehicle but deadly to someone on a motorcycle.  Because head injuries are the leading cause of fatalities in motorcycle accidents, it is imperative that every rider wears a helmet.

If you have been seriously injured of have lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident, the Wichita, Kansas law firm of Cummings and Cummings is devoted to providing families with the highest quality legal services.  Our Kansas motorcycle accident attorneys have over thirty years of combined experience handling serious motorcycle accidents in Wichita and throughout Sedgewick County as well as the surrounding south-central Kansas area.  We offer a free initial case evaluation so call us today at 316-264-1548.