The number of injuries and deaths from motorcyclist accidents each year remains stubbornly high. Fortunately, many motorcyclists injured on our roads are able to access TAC benefits and compensation.
What the statistics say about motorcycle accidents in Victoria
Over 1000 bike riders and their passengers are seriously injured each year, representing 17% of road crash hospitalisations despite accounting for only 4% of registered vehicles on our roads. This is not for a moment to suggest that motorbike riders are to blame in all or even the majority of those crashes.
It’s true that the majority of motorbike riders are in high risk-taking categories; generally young, overwhelmingly male, and engaged in an activity that is well known to be risky. But this in no way speaks to the issue of fault or responsibility.
Motorcyclists often speak about the precautions and the awareness needed to safely share the road with potentially careless car drivers and other road users who aren’t looking out for them.
For every instance where a bike rider is injured by excessive speed, poor shoulder sealing or a risky manoeuvre (either required by them or another road user), there is a rider injured or killed by a careless driver, a momentary lapse of attention, a failure to give way or do a head check. In 2018, 5 motorbike riders were killed in crashes involving another vehicle at an intersection.
In 2020, 36 motorcyclists were killed on Victorian roads. And for every motorcyclist killed, 35 were hospitalised with serious injuries.
Whether all these figures sound more or less than expected, it is an unacceptable injury rate and loss of life.
Even in the middle of COVID lockdowns, and with vastly reduced traffic on our roads during 2020 and 2021, the number of motorbike riders injured or killed remained stubbornly high.
TAC benefits for motorcyclists after a road accident
In Victoria, the registrations paid on over 420,000 motorbikes makes a substantial contribution to the TAC safety net which is in place to provide benefits and compensation when someone is injured or killed on Victorian Roads.
Most riders are aware of some of the benefits that are available from the TAC after a crash: in particular ambulance and helicopter transport, hospital, surgical and medical expenses, and wage support.
But just as many riders appear to be unaware that they are also entitled to a lump benefit (impairment benefit) in single vehicle crashes, and to compensation for pain and suffering and economic loss where the driver of another vehicle is at fault in the crash.
Compensation for seriously injured riders can be up to $1,876,260, with the TAC being obligated to continue to pay for medical benefits after the compensation is paid.
The circumstances where the TAC pays benefits and compensation is wider than many people realise. Scenarios where TAC compensation and benefits are payable can include:
- Benefits and a lump sum benefit for injuries occurring in single vehicle crashes, including after loss of control due to poor weather on dirt bikes;
- Benefits and lump sums for people injured on motorbikes where registration is not current (including farm bikes and quad bikes);
- Crashes on private property such as farms;
- Crashes that occur outside Victoria, but where the injured or killed rider is a Victorian resident or the crash involves a Victorian registered vehicle; and
- Wage support through to retirement age where a crash results in severe injuries.
An important note for riders involved in a road accident
Because of disputes about who might be at fault in a crash involving a motorcyclist – witness details and dash cam footage can be critical in ensuring that compensation is properly paid to an injured rider or their family after a crash.
With the number of injuries and deaths involving motorbike riders in Victoria remaining stubbornly high, it is critical that there is a strong insurance safety net which can help provide medical and financial support after a crash.
The TAC scheme is designed well to support injured riders at a difficult time. Polaris has extensive experience representing injured riders in making sure that they receive their TAC entitlements and compensation after a crash, so that they can maximise their recovery and get back on track as soon as possible.