Riding motorcycles in Boston is an enjoyable and economical way to get around during the warmer months. In the winter months, however, the wind, the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures make riding a motorcycle an extremely risky way to travel. Overall, regardless of the time of year, a motorcycle’s small size and lack of protection make motorcycles an inherently dangerous mode of transportation—especially in a large, densely populated city like Boston.
Boston Motorcycle Injury and Fatality Statistics
According to the City of Boston Police Department, the city reported 48 fatal injuries and 1,020 non-fatal injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents through October 2020 alone.
So far, 1,386 motorcycle accidents account for the significant number of injuries reported in 2020.
The number of fatalities attributed to motorcycle accidents increased by three since 2019, while non-fatal injuries decreased to 1,020 from 1,235.
Tips to Stay Safe While Riding a Motorcycle in Boston
Sometimes, you just can’t avoid a motorcycle accident, especially when drivers of passenger vehicles do not watch for you.
You can mitigate some injuries by wearing the appropriate gear when riding and by driving defensively.
- Wear leathers, a DOT-approved helmet, boots, and gloves. Never ride in shorts or with sandals. Even sneakers cannot protect you as well as boots.
- Watch for people pulling out in front of you from side streets, driveways, and in intersections. An intersection is the most dangerous part of the roadway.
- Do not drive in inclement weather. If you are stuck out on the road, try to pull off the road until the storm passes. If that is not possible, drive slowly and get to a safe place as soon as possible.
- Watch for grated bridges. It’s difficult to keep your balance on this type of bridge, especially if your bike’s tires have less than half of the recommended tread.
- Watch for potholes. A pothole that you might not feel in a car could cause you to wreck a motorcycle.
- Always ride on the leftmost side of a lane. If you ride in the center, you could hit oil spills, and if you ride in the rightmost, passenger vehicles will try to lane split with you. A vehicle trying to ride next to you in your lane could push you off the road.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Because you don’t have the protection of an enclosed vehicle, motorcycle accident injuries are more apt to be catastrophic or fatal. The injuries you could suffer depend on several factors, including how you are hit—or how you hit something, the size of the vehicle that hits you, and the speed you are traveling.
Motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Bruises, scrapes, cuts, and scratches.
- Road rash.
- Simple or compound fractures.
- Soft tissue injuries, including pulled muscles, torn muscles, strains, and sprains.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Internal injuries.
Some injuries could turn into long-term or permanent disabilities, especially traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and some internal injuries. You must continue your medical care throughout settlement or the trial if your doctors expect your injuries to lead to long-term or permanent disabilities.
After a motorcycle accident, you or, if you are killed—your estate can recover economic and non-economic damages.
Special damages, or economic damages, are those that cover anything you have to pay for. A court orders the insurance company or a defendant to pay economic damages as an attempt to make you financially whole again.
Economic damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses, including expenses for ambulatory aids and other medical aids.
- Past and future cognitive, physical, and/or psychological therapies.
- Past and future lost wages, including partial future lost wages if you can work, but cannot work in your industry earning the same amount you did before the accident.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses if you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident.
- Replacement or repair of personal property destroyed or damaged in the accident.
When you put out money for anything related to injuries from the accident, be sure to save a copy of your receipt. When you turn in receipts, always make a copy for yourself, along with a copy for your attorney. While you might keep the original, it’s a good idea to have an extra copy as some receipts fade over time.
General damages, or non-economic damages, are those that cover items that do not have a price tag. As with economic damages, the court orders non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as an arm.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight.
- Inconvenience if you can no longer perform everyday duties such as lawn maintenance, house cleaning, and grocery shopping.
Generally, the court orders non-economic damages if you suffer from long-term or permanent disabilities or if you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident. While insurance companies might use their own definition of long-term or permanent disabilities, the Social Security Administration defines a permanent disability as one that your doctors expect to last longer than 12 months or that will result in your death.
If you suffer from injuries because of a motorcycle accident, contact Sibley Dolman for a free consultation.