Laconia Motorcycle Week is June 11-19
Bikers from all over will flock to New Hampshire for America's Original Riding Rally
Laconia Bike Week (June 11-19) is celebrating its 99th anniversary. Likely the world's oldest motorcycle rally, more than 300,000 people attended last year's festivities. Not all revelers ride in on their own bikes, but there's no question that US-3 and Route 106 will be rumbling with motorcycles very soon.
With fatal motorcycle accidents up 11 percent over last year, it is critical during this Laconia Motorcycle Week for drivers to watch out for motorcycles and remember to share the road with motorcyclists.
There are far too many incidents of motorcycle riders getting injured by negligent drivers in New Hampshire. For instance, just last month a motorcyclist was seriously injured at the intersection of Courtland and Concord streets in a Nashua crash involving a pickup truck.
The message is simple: if drivers don't step up to keep motorcycle riders safe, the results could be deadly.
Driving safely with motorcycles
Sharing the road means developing good driving habits that consider the safety of smaller vehicles (e.g., motorcycles) and other vulnerable roadway users. To avoid causing a motorcycle accident, drivers should:
Look twice for motorcycles at intersections
If you do not have a clear view of the lanes you wish to cross, wait until you can see. One of the most common reasons drivers give for hitting motorcycles is "I didn't see them." Bikes are smaller vehicles, and their size can make it difficult to gauge their speed and distance. Err on the side of caution, look twice for bikes, wait for a clear view, and give motorcycles approaching the intersection plenty of time and space to maneuver.
Check your blind spots
Every vehicle has blind spots that are naturally created by its design. Often, these obstacles can be overcome with the proper use of mirrors and turning your head to check for traffic. Always check your blind spots for motorcycles before you turn, merge, change lanes, or pass.
Give motorcycles space
On the road, hazards that may be minor for a car or truck could be deadly for a motorcycle. Debris in the road, standing water, or loose gravel are just some of the things a biker may have to adjust to on the fly. Keeping a generous distance behind motorcycles gives bikers more time to safely maneuver in an emergency and will help prevent you from causing a rear-end motorcycle accident.
Pass with caution
Passing a motorcycle is not the same as passing a car or truck. If you must go around a bike, allow for ample room between your vehicle and the motorcycle. This reduces the chances that the gust of wind generated by your accelerating vehicle will destabilize the bike and cause a serious motorcycle accident. Do not re-enter the lane until you are several car lengths ahead of the bike.
Staying awake and attentive behind the wheel is always important. However, it is vital that you do so to protect motorcycle riders who are often thrown off of their bikes in a crash. To stay alert, don't drive when you are drowsy, fatigued, seriously ill, or impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Common motorcycle accident injuries
A motorcycle doesn't offer the same protection as an enclosed passenger vehicle that's equipped with safety features such as airbags, seatbelts, and crash avoidance technology. That means you can sustain a wide range of injuries if you're involved in a collision caused by a negligent driver.
Some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries are:
Concussions & Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
There's only so much protection a motorcycle helmet can provide in a collision. Even helmeted riders are still at risk of sustaining a concussion or some other type of traumatic brain injury in a serious crash, and studies have shown that TBIs suffered by motorcyclists are often fatal.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
The force of impact from a motorcycle accident can result in spinal cord damage that causes partial or permanent paralysis. Loss of motor function due to a spinal cord injury can affect your hands, arms, legs, one side of your body (e.g., left arm and left leg), or half of your body (rib cage down). In severe cases, the spinal cord injury victim can be left paralyzed from the neck down (quadriplegia). If you suffer a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle wreck that causes paralysis in the lower part of your body, it's also common to lose function of the reproductive organs, bowels, and bladder.
Whether it's from the impact of another vehicle, an object, the road, or the motorcycle itself, motorcycle riders are at risk of bone fractures in a crash. The body parts most prone to fractures in a motorcycle accident are the leg, wrist, arm, collarbone, ribs, vertebrae, and skull. Some of the most severe bone breaks are compound fractures, where the broken bone penetrates through the skin; and comminuted fractures, which involve the bone cracking into pieces.
Internal Organ Damage
Your body takes the brunt of the impact in a motorcycle accident, which means your organs can be severely damaged by the force of the crash or by an object (e.g., broken glass, sharp metal) penetrating your skin and puncturing an organ. Common internal injuries sustained by motorcycle riders include a punctured or collapsed lung, lacerated kidney, ruptured spleen, liver lacerations, rupture of the abdominal aorta, internal bleeding, and brain bleeding.
Even with protective equipment, the outer layers of the skin can be ripped and torn away by skidding across the rough asphalt. Road rash can range from mild to severe, but it should always be treated promptly to avoid infection. In many cases, road rash causes permanent scarring and/or disfigurement.
Injured motorcycle riders have legal rights. We can protect them.
Motorcycle accidents shouldn't be part of Laconia Motorcycle Week, but it only takes one negligent driver to cause a crash that leaves you severely injured, in pain, and wondering what to do next.
If you're an out-of-state rider who gets injured in a motorcycle accident during Laconia Bike Week, it can be even tougher to navigate the process of recovering compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and other losses. That's why if another driver caused your injuries, it's in your interest to talk to a motorcycle accident attorney about your legal rights and options.
At Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller, & Durkin P.A., we stand up for hurt riders and can fight for the compensation your motorcycle accident injury deserves. Our attorneys have been serving the legal needs of people in New Hampshire for more than a century, and we know what it takes to build a strong case that gets results.