A 55-year-old man was in critical condition following a Maine motorcycle accident in Oakland, about an hour southwest of Bangor.
So severe were his head injuries, authorities said, he had to be flown by helicopter to the Eastern Maine Medical Center.
Reportedly, the operator failed to stop at a stop sign at an intersection, and as a result, collided with a sport utility vehicle. The crash happened around 2:30 p.m. Driver of the SUV was uninjured, and there were no passengers in the vehicle. The motorcycle rider was ejected from bike and struck the pavement. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Police investigators spent two hours reconstructing the scene before re-opening the road, reported the Bangor Daily News. At this time, there is reason to suspect alcohol was a factor in the crash, though they have not indicated which driver was allegedly drinking.
No charges were immediately filed in connection with the crash.
Motorcycles in Maine have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation and recreation. This is particularly true in the warmer months, which is why we expect to see a spike in motorcycle accidents throughout the summer.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were nearly 5,000 motorcyclists killed in 2012 in motor vehicle crashes. That’s a 7 percent increase from what was reported a year earlier.
Additionally in 2012, there were 93,000 motorcyclists who were injured. That represented a 15 percent spike from what was reported the previous year.
Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists were 26 times more likely than a passenger in a car to die in a traffic collision.
More than half of all motorcycle fatalities involve a collision with another type of motorcycle. Speed is a major factor cited in 34 percent of all motorcycle-related deaths. Alcohol too is often a commonly-cited cause.
Maine had 24 motorcycle riders killed in 2012, and 43 percent of those had a blood-alcohol content in excess of 0.08 percent.
Of course, that does not mean they necessarily caused the crash, but certainly, alcohol may hinder one’s ability to react quickly to a sudden danger.
Helmets are known to reduce head injuries for motorcycle riders by 37 percent and by 41 percent for passengers.
In Maine, the state’s helmet requirement for all riders was repealed in 1977. They are now required for all persons under 15 and all operators with a learning permit or within the first year of receiving a driver’s license.
The NHTSA reports more than 80 percent of all reported motorcycle crashes result in either injury or death to the motorcyclist or passenger, with most of those stemming from ejection.
Penobscot County has the third-highest rate of motorcycle accidents in Maine, with 308 reported from 2008 to 2012. Meanwhile, Cumberland County had 650 during that time and York County 534.
Many crashes occur when drivers do not pay attention to watch for motorcyclists and either turn in front of them or strike them from behind. This is why individuals riding motorcycles must operate defensively, obey the speed limits, protect themselves with a helmet and avoid consuming alcohol prior to getting on their bike.
In Maine, comparative negligence in a crash will not bar a personal injury lawsuit, so long as plaintiff was not 50 percent or more at fault. Still, per 14 M.R.S.A. 156, damages may be reduced by the percentage of plaintiff’s determined negligence.
If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Oakland man suffers head injuries in motorcycle crash, May 17, 2015, By Beth Brogan, Bangor Daily News
More Blog Entries:
Report: Maine Cycling Safety Improvement Requires Attention, May 30, 2015, Bangor Motorcycle Injury Lawyer Blog