Cruising down an open road on a motorcycle is one of life’s simple pleasures for many Americans. However, a weekend ride or daily commute can quickly turn dangerous, leading to serious injuries, lifelong medical treatment, and even death.
Motorcycle accidents are rampant on both back roads and major highways in the United States. With minimal protection when compared to that of a standard passenger vehicle, motorcycle drivers face increased risk of injury and death. In fact, motorcycle accidents are over 28 times more likely to result in a fatality.
Dangerous and deadly motorcycle accidents can be attributed to more than a lack of physical protection. Certainly, much can be done to prevent such situations in the first place, but what exactly are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?
1. Left hand turns and lane changes
Unsurprisingly, a majority of motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles. Head-on collisions are among the most frequent car/truck-motorcycle accidents. Due to their small size, motorcycles are easily missed by car and truck drivers, most commonly when a car is making a left-hand turn or during a lane change. Motorcycles may be lost in a driver’s blind spot or remain out of sight entirely from often poorly-adjusted mirrors. It takes no more than a moment to clip a motorcycle in the next lane that seemed to come completely out of nowhere. When making a left-hand turn, confusion about right-of-way can easily lead to a collision.
2. Speeding, tailgating, and sudden stops
Passenger vehicle drivers must be mindful of their own driving behaviors, including speeding, tailgating, and making sudden stops. Getting rear-ended is common danger for a motorcyclist, as drivers often fail to maintain a safe following distance. This type of accident is frequently accompanied with speeding, as a driver has less time to both see and react to sudden stops or lane changes.
3. Lane splitting
Of course, one cannot discount unsafe driving as a major cause of motorcycle accidents, by passenger vehicles and motorcyclists alike. Many of us who frequently use highways have been witness to “lane splitting,” when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of traffic. Not only is this illegal, but it is incredibly dangerous for all drivers present. This occurs both in moving and stationary traffic and drivers in their own lanes cannot adequately prepare for a “lane splitter” to move past at such close proximity.
4. Car doors
Interestingly, a stationary vehicle parked on a roadway is also known to pose a threat to motorcycles. Simply opening the driver’s side door without first looking at quickly approaching vehicles may cause a motorcycle crash.
5. Poor driving conditions and motorcycle defects
Due to a motorcyclist’s lack of protection, they are more easily subject to the dangers of poor road conditions and inclement weather. Ice, flooding, and potholes can cause a driver to lose control of his/her motorcycle and these conditions become especially dangerous if unsafe driving or other vehicles are involved. Motorcycle defects and malfunctioning can also attribute to a driver losing control.
The best way to ensure safer roads for motorcyclists is practicing safe driving behavior, no matter your vehicle. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills, damage to your property, and time off from work.
For an assessment of your case and to discuss your options moving forward, contact our team of skilled and experienced motorcycle injury attorneys. We would be happy to review your case and help you recover the compensation you deserve.