Motorcycle Intersection Accident Injury Lawyers in St. Louis
Way back in 1981, a Professor named Harry Hurt from the University of California conducted an extensive amount of research on motorcycle safety on behalf of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He brought in experienced motorcycle riders that were engineers, psychologists, medical doctors, pathologists, and motorcycle technicians. They examined the scene of more than 900 accidents and completely reconstructed what happened. They also reviewed 3,600 police traffic accident reports. The result was a very thorough paper, known as the “Hurt Report.” It is still cited today as a leading source for understanding motorcycle safety.
Diving Into the Hurt Report
The report found that the most common motorcycle accident involves another vehicle causing a collision by failing to give the motorcycle its right of way at an intersection. In fact, 66% of the accidents studied happened at intersections. The police data showed the number closer to 40%, but the Hurt Report says the 66% number is more accurate because they studied the locations of the crashes more thoroughly.
These intersection accidents almost always involve a motorcycle turning left in front of an oncoming car that fails to see the motorcycle and then smashes into it. 37% of the crashes studied occurred at “cross” intersections, where two roads cross at right angles. The next worst accident scene was in alleys or driveways, which is where 12% of the crashes happened. Though the accidents were largely blamed on drivers failing to see riders, the research does not absolve riders in these accidents. It says that the rider is often inconspicuous, inexperienced, untrained, unlicensed, and fails to avoid the collision.
The Hurt Report is full of countermeasures to help reduce intersection accident risks. It says that all riders should take steps to improve their visibility to other drivers. This includes leaving headlights on during the day and wearing high visibility jackets. A helmet with goggles or glasses also protects a rider’s vision and makes him or her more likely to see threats. After a thorough review of existing safety equipment, the report says that helmets are the only technology that really gives significant protection to riders.
The report is very supportive of helmets and says there is no reason for a rider to be without a helmet. Quality helmets do not limit vision or hearing or otherwise impair riders, which is a frequent excuse that the report does not agree with. Missouri Statutes Section 302.020 provides that a motorcycle operator or passenger must wear “protective headgear” at all times the vehicle is in motion. The fine for a violation is only $25, though, and the legislature has actually moved in recent years to cancel this requirement.
The Hurt Report was also a big proponent of safety training for motorcycle riders, and Missouri requires training to issue a motorcycle license. Indeed, Missouri’s Motorcycle Operator Manual says that the “greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections.” The manual warns riders to wear bright clothing, ride with a headlight on, and not to rely on eye contact, as drivers will often look towards motorcyclists without actually seeing them.
Committed to Quality Representation
Just because so many drivers fail to see motorcyclists does not mean that riders do not deserve to be safe on the road. If you were hit in an intersection accident, there is a good chance it was the driver’s fault and he or she should have to pay for your damages (or for the loss of your loved one, in that tragic case). The Dixon Injury Firm can review what happened and our STL personal injury lawyers will let you know if pursuing damages makes sense.