Are you planning a motorcycle trip? Tennessee is a great place for bikers. The state’s forest is home to some of the most well-known motorcycle roads in the country.
From the switchback roads to easy-going, scenic drives, you’ll surely find the perfect ride in this beautiful state. Its humid and subtropical climate will allow you to enjoy long and peaceful rides throughout the year. However, like other roadways, Tennessee’s motorcycle routes are not free from accidents.
You could ride your motorcycle and enjoy a sunny day in Tennessee but suddenly crash into another motor vehicle. While this can happen to anyone, since motorcycles don’t provide the same level of protection as other vehicles, motorcyclists are often at a higher risk of suffering serious injuries.
Tennessee motorcycle accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2020 data, there were 145 motorcycle fatalities in the state. While the number is lower than in other states, motorcycle riders must remain cautious when driving through Tennessee roadways.
Did you get injured or lose a loved one due to a motorcycle crash? A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you get fair compensation for your injuries and other losses. The Personal Injury Center is also here to assist you get the legal help you need. For a free consultation, we can connect you to a reputable law firm specializing in personal injury cases.
The Risks of Motorcycle Riding in Tennessee
Practicing motorcycle safety can help prevent many Tennessee motorcycle accidents. While you can’t avoid every accident, paying attention to the road will help you detect hazards and make better driving decisions.
According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, motorcyclists are 5.1 times more likely to get killed or injured in a vehicular accident than car occupants. Unsurprisingly, motorcycle accidents ranked fourth in causes of all road traffic deaths. This shows that operating motorcycles can be more dangerous than driving a car.
However, what makes motorcycles riskier than other enclosed motor vehicles? Before hitting the Tennessee roadways, every motorcycle rider must be aware of the following:
Motorcycles Have Less Protection
A good balance is essential when driving a motorcycle. Unlike four-wheeled vehicles, motorcycles have an unstable platform. Since motorcycles have two wheels, they are incapable of resisting sideways motion and tipping over.
If a motorcyclist needs to swerve or brake to avoid an obstruction, they’re more likely to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a catastrophic accident. Since motorcycles are open structured, they lack many of the safety features that are found in cars.
There are no seat belts or airbags to keep bikers secure, so there’s a higher chance of being ejected from the motorcycle in an accident. Without enough protection, motorcycle accident victims will likely suffer road rash, disfigurement, and spinal cord and neck injuries. The odds of sustaining a traumatic brain injury are also higher if you’re not wearing a helmet.
In comparison to injuries suffered in other passenger vehicles, motorcycle accident injuries can be more debilitating and fatal. They may require surgery, extensive medical treatment and care, and other expensive procedures. With the help of personal injury attorneys in Tennessee, you can get compensation for your injuries, including your medical bills.
Its Small Structure Size Makes It Less Visible
Motorcycles are smaller than cars, and because of their narrow profile, it’s easy to miss them when scanning the road for traffic. Therefore, there’s a high probability that negligent drivers who are driving distracted won’t notice a motorcycle before hitting it.
Many motorcycle wrecks happen at intersections where another vehicle is turning across the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Since motorcycles are less visible, it’s more difficult to gauge their oncoming speed. Even if the driver sees the bike, it can appear farther away than it actually is.
On top of being less visible on the road, motorcycles can also fit neatly into a driver’s blind spot, which is an area near the vehicle that’s not visible in the mirror. Every motorist must check their relevant blind spot before turning or completing any maneuver.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case for every driver. In fact, many motorcycle accidents happen because drivers fail to check their blind spots.
Notably, large vehicles, such as trucks, have more significant non-visible areas, which is why trucks frequently collide with motorcycles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) report shows that 16% of large truck fatalities in 2020 involved motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Motorcycles Are More Prone to Dangerous Road Conditions
Most roadways are not constructed with motorcyclists in mind. There are many hidden hazards on the road that can throw a motorcycle rider off balance. While most cars and other motor vehicles can safely manage poor road conditions, motorcycles are more vulnerable to them.
With only two wheels, a motorcycle depends more on a solid, high-friction road surface for control. Therefore, small gaps or unfinished surfaces can lead to severe motorcycle accidents and catastrophic injuries.
While most motorcycle accidents happen because of someone else’s negligence, dangerous road conditions also play a role. In such cases, the person or company in charge of road design and maintenance can also be held liable.
Dangerous road conditions can cause vehicular accidents in several ways. Since motorcycle riders are more vulnerable to these risks, they should be aware of what they are. Below are some common examples of road hazards for motorcycles.
- Uneven pavement: Uneven pavement presents unique hazards to motorcyclists. The biker will likely lose stability if a motorcycle hits edge breaks or raised areas. The motorcycle’s front tire might also get caught, tossing the driver and passenger across the road.
- Slippery road surfaces: Wet weather conditions commonly cause slippery roads, and since this results in a loss of traction, it’s harder for motorcycle wheels to grip the road. They may be unable to stop in time and avoid a crash.
- Debris or object on the road: Traveling over roadway debris can be more hazardous for motorcyclists. Pieces of tires, rocks, tree branches and other items that fall from other vehicles can disrupt the balance of a motorcycle. This can lead the motorcycle rider to fall off the bike and get injured.
How Can You Ride Safely in Tennessee
Motorcycles are undeniably more dangerous than cars and other enclosed motor vehicles. Though there’s no way to avoid a motorcycle accident altogether, being a smart motorcyclist can make your journey a bit safer. Here are a few safety tips you can follow while riding your motorcycle in Tennessee.
Ensure Your Motorcycle is in an Optimal State
Though not commonly known, defective motorcycles can also cause accidents. To minimize the risk of crashing into another vehicle, ensure that your motorcycle is in optimal condition. The following is an essential pre-ride inspection checklist:
- Body and frame
- Engine oil
- Wheels and tires
- Electrical system
- Handlebar controls
Some motorcyclists are capable of performing maintenance on their vehicles. However, if you’re inexperienced with motorcycles, it’s always best to hire a professional mechanic.
Check the Weather Conditions Before Going Out
Weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or ice, can compromise your ride. Driving any vehicle in these conditions will reduce your vehicle’s traction. However, it’s even more dangerous for motorcycles because they’re inherently unstable.
With less grip than other motor vehicles, motorcycles are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. Motorcyclists must avoid riding in the rain or any unfavorable weather at all costs. If inclement weather is in the forecast, reschedule your ride or take a safer vehicle.
Though you may want to go out, it’s best not to take your motorcycle out in bad weather. However, if you must take your motorcycle out since bad weather can create dangerous road conditions, it’s best to ensure your bike is working properly.
Wear the Right Helmet and Safety Gears
Motorcycle riders must always wear the right equipment when driving. Since motorcycles lack a protective barrier, wearing helmets and other safety gear is even more crucial to avoid serious head injuries or death.
According to data from the NHTSA, 57% of motorcycle fatalities in 2020 happened in states that don’t enforce universal helmet laws. That’s significantly higher than the 11% of motorcycle deaths in states with helmet laws. Even if state law doesn’t require you to wear a helmet, you must wear one for your safety.
Let a Tennessee Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Fight for Your Case. Contact The Personal Injury Center Today!
Motorcycle accident cases are more complicated than other vehicle accidents. Besides the nature of injuries, insurance companies and juries may have a preconceived bias against motorcyclists. This can affect the amount of compensation they receive for their injuries.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, hire a Tennessee motorcycle accident lawyer to fight for your case. They know how to negotiate with insurance companies so that they can get you the compensation you deserve. They are also knowledgeable in navigating complex motorcycle accident claims.
We at The Personal Injury Center can give you access to the best personal injury attorneys specializing in your case. We’ll ensure you get the best legal advice and the representation you need while you recover from your injuries. Get a free case evaluation today, and we’ll connect you with a reputable law firm in Tennessee.
FAQs on Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Tennessee
Under the Tennessee Helmet Law, all motorcycle drivers and their passengers must wear helmets. However, there are exceptions. If a motorcycle is in a parade or a funeral procession, the driver doesn’t need to wear a helmet but must obey other traffic laws.
Besides head, neck, and spinal cord injuries, victims of Tennessee motorcycle accidents may suffer from the following injuries:
- Leg and arm injuries
- Facial injuries
- Amputation of extremities
- Internal bleeding
Different personal injury claims have different limitation periods in Tennessee. Generally, you have one year from the date of the motorcycle accident to file a lawsuit. The same one-year rule applies in wrongful death claims as well.
This is one of the shortest statute of limitations in the US. That's why speaking to a personal injury attorney immediately after your accident is crucial.