On Saturday March 31st, the Charlotte Motor Speedway was rocked by a fatal North Carolina motorcycle accident that took the lives of two motorcyclists and send a third biker to the hospital in critical condition.
According to reports, the Vietnam Veterans’ Homecoming Celebration had been a raucous event – over 62,000 people showed up to celebrate the service of American Armed Forces who fought in the Vietnam War. The festival featured an exhibition of the Vietnam Memorial itself, a performance by the Charlie Daniels Band, and thousands of motorcyclists riding around the track.
A report from the Yahoo! Sports Bureau painted a pretty scary picture of this motorcycle circus: “Several witnesses interviewed by area newspapers indicate there was plenty of unsafe driving going on…many of the estimated 2,000 riders were not wearing helmets. Some riders were attempting to scale the speedway’s high-banked turns, which aren’t meant for slower-speed driving. Finally, there were reports that traffic was going both ways on the speedway, which, of course, has no lane markers to guide riders.”
If this report is even close to correct, it’s easy to understand why a fatal North Carolina motorcycle accident took place there. It all comes down to the law of averages. If you get enough dangerous drivers together doing dangerous things for a long enough period of time, horrors are going to unfold.
Unfortunately, many riders who engage in unsafe practices — like riding without a helmet or driving too fast or attempting tricks on their bikes — will look at articles like this and come to a conclusion like “that will never happen to me.” And chances are, on any given day, they will be right. Statistics are very, very difficult for us to understand on a visceral, emotional level.
If doing something like riding your motorcycle without a helmet increases your chances of a fatal collision by 15% over five years (not accurate figures), you might be alarmed. But say you broke that stat down to a day-to-day number. You’d likely only be very fractionally more likely to get hurt on any given day as a result of your “reckless driving.” Only when we see behavior in aggregate – over long periods of time or, in this case, seeing thousands of drivers all behaving irrationally in tandem – can you truly appreciate the potential dangers of behaving carelessly.
This analysis, by the way, is not intended in any way to diminish this tragedy or to make any comments about the accident itself. Rather, we want to highlight the disconnect. That is, when would-be reckless drivers see reports like this, they ignore the potential ramifications, and we don’t want you to ignore the ramifications because they could be important.
For help with a specific case, connect with an experienced North Carolina car and motorcycle crash law firm.
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