It’s not a secret that injuries received in a motorcycle crash can far exceed those sustained in a car accident of the same severity. The fact that bike riders are mostly unprotected when compared to that of their four-wheeled counterparts is the main reason why there are so many more motorcycling fatalities on a percentage basis versus automobile and trucking accidents. The term “donor-cycle” did not find its way into the common vernacular without good reason.
Understanding that a motorcycle provides next to no protection to its rider is the first step to understanding the risks involved with operating one of these exciting, albeit dangerous machines. Whether one rides a Honda, Harley, Suzuki or Ducati — or any other of the numerous cruisers, crotch rockets and dirt bikes out there — the chances of being hurt during a traffic accident are usually on the high side. As personal injury attorneys, I and my staff of legal professionals are well aware of the range of injuries that can be sustained in a motorcycling wreck.
A serious crash, in fact any crash for that matter, can take place out on the open road or in dense traffic. In cities like Bowie, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., motorcyclists must vie for position in heavy vehicular traffic where any of a number of cars, SUVs, commercial trucks or city buses could inadvertently collide with a rider and his mount. But urban accidents are not the only source of bike-related injury accidents; riding in the countryside has its own risks, with inviting stretches of road that may have hidden dangers.
Rural roads can sometimes present less than perfect pavement; and if a biker hits a rough patch at a high speed, the vehicle could be thrown out of balance, which can cause a momentary loss of control. Such situations have been the cause of numerous single-bike crashes, many of which have resulted in critical and sometimes fatal injuries to the rider. So while another careless, distracted or intoxicated motorist may be an obvious threat, the roadway and driving conditions can also combine to cause a serious motorcycle wreck.
We read about one such fatal bike crash that took the life of a man from Sunderland, MD, last November. According to news reports, the accident involved a single cycle that apparently went out of control along a stretch of Boyds Turn Rd not far from the intersection of Three Brothers Way. Calvert County sheriff’s deputies had apparently received a report of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and its rider laying in some brush adjacent to the roadway a little after 10am in the morning; however the man was likely dead for hours before being sighted by the caller.
Based on news reports, the 51-year-old rider was headed northbound along Boyds Turn when the bike apparently left the road for some reason. (In cases like this, police usually check to see if there was a mechanical problem with the vehicle, which may or may not have caused or contributed to the fatal accident, though no mention was made of any equipment problem. Authorities did speculate that speed may have been a contributing factor.) Police believe that the bike left the roadway on the south-side shoulder, striking a nearby utility pole to the side of the road and then continued into the heavy brush and bushes farther off the roadway.
At the time of the news article, police could not pinpoint the time of the crash, but believed it could have happened as long as 15 hours earlier, the night before. The person who phoned in the call to police may have been lucky to have seen the victim since the body was reportedly hidden by the foliage, a distance from road, in what police referred to as an “inconspicuous location.”
Sunderland man dead after motorcycle accident, SoMdNews.com, November 2, 2012