What Is a Low-Side and High-Side Motorcycle Crash? Key Differences Between the Two Types of Crashes
When a motorcycle accident happens, the rider can suffer serious injuries. The exposed nature of the riding position, the speeds at which many bikers ride, and the presence of larger vehicles on the road put bikers at a much higher risk of injury or death than the average road user.
What most people do not know, however, is that not all motorcycle accidents are the same. There are many different types of bike crashes and they all have different impacts on the rider. Sometimes, too much acceleration can cause the bike to lose traction and skid, while in other cases, rider error can result in the bike crashing and the rider being thrown from the bike.
A good motorcycle accident lawyer has to be familiar with all types of accidents and its implications in a bike accident lawsuit. In this article, we will answer the following questions:
What is a low-side and high-side motorcycle crash?
What are the causes of highside and lowside crashes?
What are the common injuries suffered in high-side and low-side motorcycle accidents?
What can victims do after a low-side or high-side motorcycle accident?
What damages are awarded to victims of a highside or lowside crash?
With an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Houston fighting for their rights, Texas bike accident victims are entitled to fair compensation for the injuries and other damages they suffered.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is one of the most highly recommended law firms in Houston, Texas. Victims can call our law offices at +1 713-999-4150 and request a free consultation.
Texas Motorcycle Crash Statistics
In 2020 alone, Texas road users witnessed a total of 7,481 motorcycle crashes, in which 1,856 motorcyclists were severely injured and a staggering 482 people lost their lives.
Although this was a 2% reduction in bike crashes from the previous year, there was a 17% increase in the number of fatalities.
The pleasant Texas weather stretching from May to October makes this the time of the year when most bikers hit the road. As a result, the number of bike accidents and fatalities also spikes during this period.
Too Much Speed - The Main Cause of Bike Accidents
Riding at high speeds is the leading cause of motorcycle accidents in the country. Not only does this make it more difficult to control the bike (and more likely to lose traction in the rear or front wheel when turning), but it also makes it more likely for the drivers of other vehicles to misjudge the motorcycle speed when turning.
However, there are also many other causes of motorcycle accidents to consider, such as:
Slamming into open car doors
Riding without paying proper attention
Sudden stops by other vehicles
Poor weather conditions
Determining the cause of a motorcycle accident is one of the most important duties of a personal injury lawyer. In Texas, where modified comparative negligence plays a vital role in determining the damages paid out to the victims, the amount of compensation may rely strongly on the cause of the motorcycle accident.
What Is a Low-Side Motorcycle Crash?
A low-side motorcycle crash happens when a rider leans into a corner to complete a turn but loses traction in either the rear wheel or the front wheel, causing the bike to skid and crash on the same side the rider was leaning into.
Causes of Low-Side Motorcycle Crashes
The following are some of the common causes of lowside crashes:
Too Much Speed in the Corner
When the riders hit corners at high speeds, they may be forced to lean at an angle that is too much for the bike at such a speed. As a result, the bike will end up sliding out from under them in a lowside crash.
Too Much Acceleration
One of the most common mistakes made by riders is accelerating too fast and too soon before the bike has finished negotiating the turn, which will result in a lowside crash in the middle of the corner.
Worn Out Tires
The way in which motorcycles turn requires the rider to lean towards the corner while turning. This reduces the surface area of the tire that is in contact with the road. If the tire threads are worn out, the bike will lose traction and slip, causing a dangerous lowside crash.
If either the front wheel or rear wheel loses traction due to the bike going over a slippery patch, a lowside crash will occur. Common causes of slippery surfaces on the road include water, oil, and gravel.
Too Much Braking
One of the most commonly applied riding tips when taking corners is the "slow in and fast out" approach. What this means is that the rider applies the rear brake before they get to the corner and then accelerate out after completing the turn.
If a rider is still applying the brakes during the turn, the approach was too fast and as a result of too much braking, the bike will slip and crash on the low side. Schuerger Shunnarah can also advise on who's at fault in rollover accidents.
What Is a High-Side Motorcycle Crash?
A highside crash is the exact opposite of falling on the low side of the bike. It also happens during the turn, but the injuries from such a crash can be a lot more severe. A highside crash can occur even at low speeds and no type of motorcycle is exempt from the risk of such a crash.
In a highside crash, the rear tire loses traction for a while before suddenly regaining it before the turn is complete. When the rear wheel regains traction, the momentum of the sliding bike will cause the rider to be thrown off the bike. In most cases, the rider is thrown over the handlebars and lands on the high side of the bike.
Causes of High-Side Motorcycle Crashes
Here are four typical causes of a high-side motorcycle accident:
Leaning Too Far
If the rider leans too far on the turn, some of the protruding parts of the bike, such as the footpeg or handlebars may hit the road surface. The rear wheel will lose traction momentarily, causing the rider to be thrown off when traction is regained.
Accelerating Too Soon
Any acceleration done before the turn is completed can result in loss of traction in the rear tire. When the tire grips the road again, the momentum will cause a highside crash.
Downshifting Too Fast
A quick downshift during a turn can lock the rear wheel. When the bike regains traction, the highside crash will throw the rider off the motorcycle.
Trail Braking on Slippery Surfaces
When the brakes are applied on an area with oil or ice, the wheel loses traction momentarily. Once the slippery patch is passed, the resulting traction on the rear wheel will cause a highside crash.
Typical Injuries When the Rear Wheel Loses Traction
Motorcycle accidents usually result in the most serious injuries seen on the road. In cases where the rear wheel loses traction and causes a crash, the injuries can be quite severe, if not fatal, if the rider does not have proper protective clothing. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah for questions like, "What is the 12 second rule on a motorcycle?"
The following are some of the common injuries suffered due to a motorcycle accident:
Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
Face and eye injuries
Back and spinal cord injuries
Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
Traumatic brain injuries
Rear Tire Loses Traction Causing a Crash - What To Do Next
The steps that a motorcycle accident victim takes soon after the bike crash are essential in not only saving lives but determining how the resulting lawsuit will pan out. As such, all bike accident victims need to take the following easy steps:
Seek medical attention quickly, regardless of how minor the injuries may seem because internal injuries and traumatic brain injuries may not be immediately apparent yet pose a serious risk.
Obtain a medical report and a police report because these are the documents that will carry a lot of weight in court.
Gather evidence in the form of pictures of the accident scene, and any relevant witness statements.
Approach an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer and request a free consultation to discuss the case.
Damages an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Win
A reliable, experienced, compassionate, and determined motorcycle accident lawyer can win a huge settlement offer for bike accident victims. The following are some of the most common damages awarded by Texas courts:
Future medical costs
Pain and suffering
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Is Here for Motorcycle Accident Victims
Even low-speed, lowside crashes can result in victims suffering severe injuries that will take a long time to heal and a lot of money for treatment. Luckily, the law in Texas entitles victims to fair compensation for their injuries and other damages suffered.
Motorbike accident victims looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer to fight for their rights in court need look no further than Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, Texas lawyers ready to go to war for their clients.