Police investigators suggest that driver inexperience could have played a role in a non-fatal motorcycle accident in Arkansas on October 16th in the town of Mena. Official reports show that a Crown Victoria sedan driven by an unnamed 16-year old crashed into a Harley Davidson motorcycle in front of the McDonald’s in Mena. The motorcycle was operated by a 63-year old male. His wife was on the back of the bike at the time. She was airlifted to Mena Regional Health System, then transported to another medical facility with an unspecified leg injury.
A police investigation into the motorcycle accident in Mena, Arkansas discovered that the individual driving the automobile made an improper right turn at the entrance to the restaurant, cutting into the motorcycle’s path of travel. The automobile driver was cited by responding police officers and has been declared at-fault for the crash.
Police officials suggest that driver inexperience may have contributed to the crash as the individual behind the wheel was just 16-years old. However, failure to yield accidents such as this are not contingent on a driver’s experience level. In fact, these types of crashes (in which drivers simply “fail to see” motorcyclists) occur all across our state involving drivers in every age group.
Failure to Yield Motorcycle Accidents in Arkansas Make Streets Dangerous for Bikers
Failure to yield collisions are one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents in Arkansas. It’s estimated that these types of crashes account for up to 35% of all motorcycle accidents in the United States—roughly 30,000 collisions nationwide every year. Most often these types of crashes happen at intersections when cars or trucks making left or right turns cross the path of motorcycles (either in the oncoming lane or in lanes to the right of the vehicle).
While in some instances environmental factors like visibility can play a contributing role, most of the time simple driver inattention is to blame. That’s why safety advocates recommend that motorcycle riders learn how to ride defensively and practice precautions like “owning the lane” and “always having an out” in order to reduce the risk of a crash.
Skills like that are essential because when a motorcycle collides with an automobile, the outcome is never good. The NHTSA reports that in fatal collisions between cars and bikes, it’s the operator of the motorcycle who is killed 96% of the time. (Passengers and operators of the cars involved only represent 2% of fatalities.)
In 2015 (the last year for which complete NHTSA statistics are available) there were 71 fatal motorcycle accidents in Arkansas and an estimated 1,200 riders injured. Roughly 450 of those motorcycle accidents could have been avoided if car and truck drivers simply yielded the right of way to motorcyclists.
Who is At Fault in a Failure to Yield Accident?
As noted in the recap of the motorcycle accident in Mena, Arkansas, the driver of the automobile is almost always found at fault after a failure to yield accident. It is the driver’s responsibility to yield to oncoming traffic when making left turns and to ensure that the right lane is clear when making right turns or merging.
However, Arkansas is a modified comparative negligence state which means that each party involved in an accident can be assessed a certain portion of the fault. Fault is used to determine liability. That means that even if a motorcycle operator did something that contributed to a collision, they may still be entitled to collect financial damages from the automobile operator or their insurance company.
Arkansas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Make Getting Compensation Easier
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Arkansas, determining liability is an essential step in the recovery process. However, as noted above, that process can sometimes be difficult in failure to yield collisions.
If you’ve been injured by a careless or distracted driver, you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Arkansas by your side to advocate for you. An aggressive motorcycle attorney will fight to make sure your rights are preserved and will get you the compensation you deserve. The Pfeifer Law Firm can help. Contact us online or call (501) 374-4440 today to schedule your free consultation. Weekend and after-hours appointments are available upon request.