Similar to automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents are very common throughout the United States. Unlike automobile accidents, however, motorcycle accidents are far more likely to be fatal or to cause the operator of the vehicle serious harm. Because the incidence of motorcycle fatalities is so high, it is helpful for anyone who rides a motorcycle to understand the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in order to reduce the risk of accidents in the future.
Hit From The Front
The majority of motorcycle accident deaths are caused by collisions with other vehicles on the road. Of these crashes, many of them involve head-on collisions, while very few of them involve rear-end crashes. When a car hits a motorcycle in a head-on collision, it is very common for motorcyclist to die as a result of the accident.
Left Turn Failure To Yield
An extremely common accident scenario is where a car is attempting to make a left turn but must yield to oncoming traffic. Sometimes when the driver of the car fails to see the approaching motorcyclist and proceeds to make a left turn, an accident ensues. While it is also true that left-hand turns and failures to yield are common causes for accidents between two cars, it is the smaller size of the motorcycle that makes it harder for the driver of the car to detect on the road.
The act of maneuvering a motorcycle through traffic composed of stopped or slowly moving cars is called “lane splitting.” Often motorcyclists might try to get ahead and save travel time by lane splitting in a traffic jam. Unfortunately, this practice can easily result in a motorcycle accident.
Accidents resulting from lane splitting occur due to how close the automobiles are to the motorcycle, how little space the motorcycle has in which to maneuver his or her vehicle, and due to the common perspective of auto operators that they are not expecting motorcycles to engage in lane splitting.
Jurisdictions vary on the lawfulness of lane splitting. Often the determination of who is at fault when an accident is preceded by lane splitting will depend on the viewpoint of the police officer on the scene, the specific actions of the parties involved and the inclinations of the judge who hears the case.
Alcohol and/or Speeding
Unsurprisingly, the consumption of alcohol and speeding on a motorcycle often do not mix well. Accidents involving alcohol and excessive speed are particularly common and, due to the fact that a motorcycle provides very little protection, often result in serious injury or death to the motorcyclist.
Collisions With Standing Objects
A significant number of motorcycle accidents involve a collision between the motorcycle and a fixed object. Statistically, the number of motorcycles hitting fixed objects is higher than the same type of accidents involving automobiles. Once again, because motorcycles provide so little protection, the injuries caused by such accidents can be severe.
Hazards In The Road
These types of accidents are not difficult to imagine. Have you ever hit a pothole unexpectedly and felt a huge bump as a result? If you are driving a car under those circumstances, the damage to you and the vehicle are likely to be minor. When, however, the operator is on a motorcycle, the effect of the impact can be far more severe for both the rider and the motorcycle itself. Road hazards are one of the more common causes of motorcycle accidents, particularly when the driver is not paying adequate attention to the road. Such hazards can include potholes, uneven lanes, and other irregularities, dead animals, slick pavement conditions, or other unexpected obstacles in the driver’s path.
Motorcycles Designed For Racing
There is a category of motorcycles available for use on public roads that are actually built on a racing platform. These vehicles typically have a lot of power and can travel at speeds well above 100 mph. Drivers of such vehicles tend to be younger adults who may not exercise enough caution when they are on the road with a vehicle that has such a high level of power. Divers of this category of motorcycle tend to be in accidents several times more often than operators of less powerful bikes.
There is no question that riding a motorcycle poses significant risks. If, however, the operator of a motorcycle remains aware of the kinds of risks that exists and actively seeks to minimize them, it is very possible to avoid accidents. Often accident avoidance may come down to simply exercising greater caution on the road or being more aware of road conditions.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, contact our attorneys to learn more about your legal options. Contact the El Dabe Law Firm to discuss your legal rights with lawyers who have knowledge and experience in motorcycle accident law.