By Matt Lalande in Motorcycle Accidents on July 27, 2021
Broadside motorcycle accidents are a common type of motorcycle accident that can occur on any type of road, from major highways to small-town intersections. However, no matter where they occur, they can have devastating consequences.
A broadside collision is a type of motor vehicle crash that happens when the front of a vehicle slams into the side of another vehicle. Broadside collisions are most dangerous when they happen at high speed.
Yes, a broadside accident is the same as a t-bone accident.
Broadside, or t-bone accidents, common occur in intersections because this is where trucks, cars and motorcycles most often cross paths.
They are the most common and most dangerous type of motorcycle accident. They are most often the result of a car making a left-hand turn in front of the motorcycle – and the motorcycle striking the side of the car.
The most common type of motorcycle accident are distracted driving accidents – meaning when the driver of a car is distracted either by their phone or other device – and fails to exercise reasonable care while driving. When this happens they place motorcyclists in terrible danger.
In August 2020, CTV news reported that the OPP had seen a 60% spike in motorcycle accident fatalities in Ontario compared to 2019. Of those fatalities, the majority occurred in daylight hours on dry, clear roads. Even in the midst of a pandemic, motorcyclists still face challenges and risks on the road at any time of the day. Presumably, many of these accident have occurred as a result of distracted driving.
Matt Lalande is an experienced Hamilton motorcycle accident lawyer and motorcycle rider who understands both the joys of riding a motorcycle down the open road and the dangers of motorcycle accidents. As personal injury lawyers, our firm works extensively with victims of motorcycle accidents and the severe, devastating injuries they suffer due to the mistakes of other drivers on the road.
Everyone on the road, no matter what type of vehicle you are driving, should be well versed in road safety and sharing the road with different types of users. Given that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Canada, and the summer weather is now here to stay, this is the perfect time to learn more about the different types of motorcycle accidents and how they can be prevented.
A broadside collision is a term used to describe t-bone collisions that involve a motorcycle and a motor vehicle such as a car, SUV, or truck. Also known as sideswipe collisions, these accidents occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another, forming a “T” shape. This could occur either at a direct right angle, or a wider diagonal angle.
Broadside collisions often pose additional dangers as they can easily cause the motorcyclist to become thrown off course and into a second collision, such as a collision with a vehicle coming in the opposite direction or into a guardrail on the side of the road. If the collision occurs in a high-speed or high velocity area, such as on a highway or roadway with a speed limit of 80 km/hr or higher, there is a possibility of a roll-over collision.
During a broadside collision, it’s also common for a motorcyclist to be thrown over their handlebars or ejected from their seat entirely. At a high speed, this can be absolutely devastating for the motorcyclist if they are lucky enough to survive.
Many broadside motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. This is due to the fact that many drivers often see that they have a green light and move through the intersection on autopilot without scanning their surroundings for smaller vehicles such as motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Some of the common causes of broadside collisions between motorcycles and motor vehicles include:
Drunk driving is also a leading cause in all types of motorcycle accidents – in Ontario, between 2008 and 2014, approximately 25% of motorcycle accident deaths involved impaired drivers, accounting for 43 total deaths.
There are approximately 708,800 motorcyclists in Canada, and of that number, 212,610 are located in Ontario. This number is from 2014, and has steadily risen in the last few years thanks to skyrocketing motorcycle sales that have risen by 75% as of March 2021. However, with an increase in motorcycle riders on the road, there is an increased risk for serious, and even fatal, injury.
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable in a motor vehicle accident because they do not have the luxury of being protected by reinforced metal walls, airbags, barrier protection, or impact-absorbing bumpers. In the event of a forceful impact, there is no protection for the rider and they will almost always suffer more than the driver of the car.
Further, motorcyclists are smaller than cars and more difficult to see. Automobile drivers aren’t naturally inclined to spot motorcyclists, and typically when a driver is checking their blind spot they are focusing on looking for other vehicles – not motorcycles or smaller vehicles such as bicycles.
In an interesting experiment performed by two university professors in 2010 known as the Invisible Gorilla, two teams of volunteers played a game of basketball while another group of volunteers watched on a television screen. The audience was asked to observe how many times the ball was passed, and in the middle of the game, a person dressed in a gorilla suit ran out in the middle of the game for about nine seconds. After the video, the professors found that only 50% of the audience had noticed the gorilla because they were focusing on counting the passes and their brains were not accounting for other factors. This same logic applies to motor vehicle drivers scanning their surroundings; when a driver is focused on looking for other cars, they are not as inclined to notice motorcycles.
Current motorcycle accident statistics indicate that compared to car accidents, motorcycle accidents can result in three times as many injuries and five times as many deaths. Studies have shown that head and neck injuries are the leading cause of death among motorcycle accident victims, while motorcycle and car accidents are the leading causes of traumatic spinal cord injury. Broadside collisions in particular most commonly result in injuries to the motorcyclist’s lower body.
Some of the various types of serious, catastrophic injuries a victim of a motorcycle broadside collision could suffer include:
As motorcyclists know all too well, you cannot assume that the driver of a car will always see you, and it’s important to take precautions and exercise safety measures in order to reduce your risk of becoming a broadside accident victim. While it’s never a guarantee you won’t be in an accident, some safety precautions can help you avoid a collision wherever possible or reduce the severity of your injury in the unfortunate event you are involved in one.
Proper safety gear: Experienced motorcycle riders often share some variation of the statement, “Dress to slide, and not to ride.” Proper equipment and gear, such as motorcycle riding boots and properly fitted helmets, can drastically reduce your chances of suffering a catastrophic injury in an accident.
Always obey traffic signs, signals, and rules of the road: You can’t control whether other road users obey the rules, but you can make sure you do. If you are in an accident, you could potentially be held partially liable for causing your own injuries if you are found to not have been following the rules or obeying traffic signs at the time of the accident.
Experience is important: In 1981, a groundbreaking study on motorcycle crashes by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, known less formally as The Hurt Report, pointed to experience as a significant factor in motorcycle accidents. The study found that more than half of motorcyclists who had been injured in an accident had less than 5 months of experience on the motorcycle they were riding at the time of the accident. While these statistics are from 1981 and therefore outdated, they indicate the importance of experienced riding. The more comfortable and familiar you are with your motorcycle, the more control you’ll be able to have over it in the event of an accident – or in the act of preventing one.
Double-check your motorcycle before you hit the road: Make sure all of the parts of your motorcycle are in working condition and functioning at peak performance before you head out for your ride. This includes tire pressure, oil and fluid levels, lights, and brakes.
If you are severely or catastrophically injured in a motorcycle accident, whether it’s a broadside collision or another type of crash that someone else caused, you have the right to file a personal injury motorcycle accident claim against the negligent driver.
In the event of a personal injury claim for a motorcycle accident, determining who is at fault and proving negligence is extremely important. A large portion of motorcycle accidents between cars and motorcyclists are caused by the driver of the car, most commonly because the driver did not see the motorcycle.
Automobile drivers have an obligation to drive responsibly for the sake of everyone on the road and not just other cars. If they do not follow through on this obligation and uphold their duty of care to all road users, they can be held accountable for causing an accident that results in severe injury or death.
Broadside accidents in particular often pose complexities surrounding who is liable for the accident and which driver was at fault. Witnesses to the scene are important pieces of evidence in order to combat this issue, as well as any photographs, traffic camera footage, and police reports.
Unfortunately, when it comes to motorcycle collisions, severe injuries are most often the result. A catastrophic injury could cost millions of dollars over a victim’s lifetime, resulting in lost opportunities, financial distress, missed work, and time you can never get back. Ensuring you get proper compensation for your injuries is an important step in your recovery process and your transition home.
Matt Lalande has been representing motorcycle accident victims across Ontario since 2003, advocating for their right to fair compensation and holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. Book a free consultation with us and tell us about your case. Consultations are always free, and we will never pressure you to retain our firm if you change your mind. We never ask for payment until you win your case, and if you don’t win, we don’t get paid.
Schedule a call back through our online contact form or by calling us local in the Hamilton/GTA/Niagara region at 905-333-8888 or Province wide at 1-844-LALANDE (1-844-525-2633) for your free consultation today.