What Happens When a Motorcycle is Rear-Ended?

We hear about rear-end vehicle collisions all the time, but they are far more severe when a motorcycle is rear-ended. In most rear-end collisions involving passenger vehicles, there are only minor injuries or no injuries at all reported. A rear-end crash involving a motorcycle is almost always going to result in an injury or a fatality.

There were nearly 90,000 total motorcyclist injuries and over 5,000 motorcyclist fatalities in the US during the latest reporting year. Motorcycle crash fatalities in Tennessee have been increasing steadily over the last twenty years. Even when a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet, they are still likely to sustain an injury.

Motorcyclists simply do not have the protection that passengers in regular vehicles have. There are no metal frames, no seatbelts, and no airbags. The feeling of freedom that motorcycle riders love can also lead to devastating injuries.

What can happen in these incidents?

It is easy for a motorcyclist and any passengers to fall from or fly from the motorcycle in a rear-end collision. Depending on the force with which the motorcyclist is struck, they could be thrown upwards before landing on the ground. In some scenarios, a motorcyclist may hit the car in front of them in a chain-reaction and fly from their bike into the back of the car. We should point out that even slow speed impacts can still cause serious injuries to a motorcyclist.

If the rear-end collision occurred at a higher speed, the driver who struck the motorcyclist may get struck by the same vehicle again while flying through the air or after they hit the ground. Motorcyclists almost always suffer from to injury-causing impacts – one with a vehicle and then one with the ground.

What are the most common injuries in rear-end motorcycle collisions?

Injuries from motorcycle crashes vary widely, but can include:

  • Spinal cord trauma (possible paralysis)
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Head injuries/traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations or road rash
  • Amputations

Regardless of how minor an injury may seem, motorcyclists should always seek medical attention following a crash. It often takes hours or days for certain injury signs and symptoms to appear. Even minor injuries can lead to costly medical bills. Severe injuries can lead to tremendous medical and non-medical costs. If a motorcyclist misses work due to a rear-end collision, they could lose valuable income needed to support themselves and their families.

How to prevent serious motorcycle crash injuries?

Never ride without proper protective equipment. Tennessee is one of the various states that have passed a universal helmet law. Anyone, whether an operator or passenger, must wear a helmet on a motorcycle. You should also wear clothing like jackets, pants, and gloves that can prevent serious road rash injuries.

Motorcyclists can follow other safety practices:

  • Never tailgate vehicles in front of them
  • Switch lanes if they are being tailgated
  • Never ride while fatigued, impaired, or distracted
  • Ensure the motorcycle’s brake lights work properly
  • Wear visible clothing, especially when riding at night

Vehicle drivers should also follow safety measures:

  • Give motorcycles plenty of space by increasing your following distance and not tailgating.
  • Do not change lanes without using a turn signal so that anyone behind you has time to react.
  • Never stop suddenly in front of motorcycles.

Taking steps to prevent rear-end motorcycle collisions is the best way to ensure everyone is safe on the roadway. Contact us today to speak with our experienced Nashville car accident attorneys.