Countless individuals across the country will tell you there’s nothing like hitting the open road on a motorcycle. Some enjoy cruising local roadways on warm spring days, while others love taking in the sights on long road trip vacations. Regardless of the weather or the length of the trip, however, it is important to follow strict safety protocols to avoid disastrous accidents.
Other vehicles offer a protective structure that may help prevent severe injuries and fatalities in an accident. However, motorcycles have no such protection, so there is rarely a “minor” motorcycle crash. Motorcyclists are five times as likely to be injured in an accident than those in a passenger car and 27 times more likely to suffer a fatality.
The key to practicing safety when riding a motorcycle is learning about accidents and how they occur and being prepared to ride safely. Unfortunately, other drivers may be negligent of safety measures to protect the motorcyclists around them, so the best practice for bikers is to be diligent about awareness of the road and the actions of others.
What Causes the Most Motorcycle Accidents?
Most motorcycle accidents occur in intersections and are typically the result of other drivers failing to recognize the motorcycle. Since bikes are much smaller than other vehicles, drivers often fail to detect them due to visual obstructions or glare. Cars making left-hand turns are one of the most treacherous circumstances for motorcyclists. Collisions that occur when a motorcycle or another vehicle make a left turn account for 42% of all crashes between a bike and another vehicle.
Motor vehicle drivers often make the mistake of turning into a motorcycle when they make a left-hand turn. Motorcycles may be difficult to see, even when the other driver checks their mirrors since they can easily fall into the driver’s blind spot. In other situations, a driver may fail to see a motorcyclist’s turn signal when the bike is making a left turn. Disasters happen when a turning car hits a biker trying to pass or one coming straight through the intersection from the other direction.
When these accidents happen, the vehicle turning left is typically found at fault. However, there are certain situations in which the motorcycle driver may share fault. This is usually the case when the biker is in the wrong lane or is speeding.
What Are the Other Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Although most bike accidents happen because other drivers fail to detect the motorcycle, there are various other reasons these crashes occur. Consider the following dangerous scenarios.
- Motorcycles turning corners. One of the great things about motorcycles is that they are designed to give the driver a great deal of control when going around corners. However, it is essential to understand that it is difficult to correct oneself or compensate for misjudgments when rounding a sharp turn. Additionally, there may be excessive road debris on the corner, which is likely to cause a wipeout. Drivers traveling on roads they haven’t been on before may misjudge the tightness of the turn, so it is vital to always exercise caution. One of the greatest dangers of wipeouts is the risk of injury from road hazards, as well as from other vehicles that are traveling the same path.
- Alcohol use, speeding, and reckless driving. Just like other vehicle accidents, these factors are a big cause of motorcycle accidents. Whenever a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving aggressively, speeding, or driving distracted, an accident is more likely to happen. For thrill-seekers, especially those who ride high-end supersport motorcycles, riding at excessively high speeds is a tempting endeavor. Unfortunately, it is extremely unsafe for the biker and for others on the road.
- Lane splitting. This hazard is the act of a motorcyclist driving between two lanes of vehicles, as many do when there is a traffic jam. The reason for danger in this situation is that the bike is extremely close to the other vehicles and doesn’t have enough room to maneuver around them. It also presents a danger because drivers of the other vehicles do not expect anyone to be passing them when they are in a traffic jam. Drivers should be aware that motorcyclists are not always found at fault for accidents caused by this dangerous action. Laws regarding lane splitting vary from one state to another, and the police officer and judge may consider various factors that led to the accident.
- Head-on collisions. Fifty-six percent of deaths in motorcycle accidents occur in collisions between the bike and another vehicle. Of these accidents, 78% are head-on crashes, and unfortunately, many of these accidents result in the death of the motorcycle riders. Many times, these accidents occur at a high rate of speed. When this happens, the biker is thrown through the air or crushed by a larger vehicle, resulting in severe injury or even death.
- Hazardous road conditions. Poor road conditions are a danger to any vehicle, but motorcycles are especially vulnerable. Whereas a car may easily recover from sliding on a wet or icy roadway, a motorcycle is more likely to lose control and end in disaster for the cyclist. Motorcycles simply don’t have the same stability as passenger vehicles because of their size. They tend to be more susceptible to debris, loose gravel, uneven pavement, and weather conditions that cause the road to be slippery.
When Motorcycle Accidents Happen, Call the Attorneys You Can Trust
America’s roads give motorcyclists a means to enjoy their favorite pastime all year long. Unfortunately, they can be a very treacherous place, especially during inclement weather. Other drivers have trouble detecting motorcycles around them, and even the safest bikers are sometimes injured due to an accident caused by a driver who didn’t see them.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed on a motorcycle due to another driver’s negligence, it is vital to get the compensation you deserve to cover your expenses. The Sacramento motorcycle accident lawyers at Guenard & Bozarth, LLP have a combined 60-plus years of experience in personal injury law and have built a reputation clients can trust. Contact Guenard & Bozarth online today to find out how we can help you.