Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2015. The death rate of motorcyclists increased in 2015 by 8.3%. 88,000 other motorcyclists were injured.
These numbers are alarming and we believe that educating drivers (cars and motorcyclists) is the best way to make a difference.
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If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident please read our blog on what to do after a motorcycle accident.
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12 Biggest Dangers to Motorcyclists on the Road
Riding a motorcycle can be fun but there are inherent risks involved. One would ask whether motorcycles are worth the risk.
The main cause of motorcycle accidents is inexperience on the road.
Here are the 12 biggest dangers to motorcyclists on the road:
- Oncoming Traffic
The main danger to riders are motorists who are distracted. Oncoming traffic doesn’t only imply traffic that is approaching from ahead but also covers traffic that is behind you. Oncoming traffic can cause serious motorbike crashes or wrecks that in many cases leave the rider seriously injured and can cause a lot of damage to the motorcycle.
- Cars that are waiting to turn
An intersection is one of the most dangerous areas for motorcyclists. The main cause are drivers who make careless turns without obeying the traffic rules. Each year, there are many motorcyclists who are hit in intersections by careless drivers. In other instances, drivers are unable to control their cars.
However, the main cause of motorcycle related accidents in intersections are distracted drivers who are either using their cellphones or talking to another passenger and they are not keen on the road.
- Panic Stops
This occurs when a rider suddenly pulls their brakes to make an abrupt stop. There are times when a rider has to make an abrupt stop, say when a car ahead makes an emergency brake or when there is a traffic signal to stop.
70 percent of stopping power is located in the front brakes and grabbing these brakes too hard locks the front wheel and may throw the rider off the bike. The passenger on the motorcycle may also be thrown off.
One can mitigate this problem by purchasing anti-lock brakes. If you don’t have them, the rider should learn how to handle the bike when there is heavy braking.
When a motorcycle is going into a corner at a high speed and there are obstacles such as gravel, it may cause the motorcycle to skid. Dirt, sticks or road kill can be handled but gravel makes the bike lose grip.
- Over speeding around corners
There is adrenaline rush when you are riding your motorcycle and you are cutting a corner at a high speed. However, chances are high that you may lose control and fall of the bike if you are an amateur. Cutting through the corners needs skill and expertise.
- Opening car doors
This is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in cities. Of course it rarely happens when you are on the highway since no one opens there car doors while on the highway. It is therefore recommended that a rider should be on the lookout for people who will be opening their doors.
If the rider is riding at a high speed and he slams on a door, the accident may be fatal.
In California, it has been reported that there are drivers who open their doors intentionally since they don’t like the idea of lane splitting. Riders in this State should always be on the lookout.
- Cars that are changing lanes
This is a major cause of motorcycle accidents. Even with advanced technology such as blind spot monitoring systems, some drivers continue to change lanes even without checking whether there is someone else using the lane. Riders are the ones who count their losses each time such an accident occurs.
In highways such accidents are normally fatal and can lead to multiple crashes.
- Drivers behind the rider
Drivers behind the rider often are a cause for worry especially in intersections. If the driver wasn’t paying attention and they come to a red light, they may stop suddenly and end up rear ending you motorcycle. The same applies to slow moving traffic. Unlike cars that have seatbelts, riders aren’t protected and even a rear end with a slow moving motorcycle may lead to injury.
- Bad weather
Riding a motorcycle in rain or snow is pretty bad for the rider. The rider gets soaked and if it’s raining, fast moving drivers may end up splashing water on you. Visibility is poor during these conditions and the road gets slicker. The road is also a dangerous place since drivers rarely adjust their speed.
- Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Riding a motorcycle under the influence of either alcohol or drugs increases the chances of one getting an accident. It is also dangerous since the rider cannot handle the motorcycle 100 percent. Alcohol and drugs reduce your reaction time and you may not be able to swerve on time or to brake on time and this may lead to a serious accident.
Staying sober while riding reduces your chances of wrecking.
- Uneven surfaces
Riders unlike motorists have to be extra careful and vigilant from uneven surfaces such as potholes since they can spell disaster and even cause the rider to lose control.
There are times you will get wildlife on the road such as a rabbit or a kamikaze squirrel. A motorcyclist who hits wildlife may be injured more as compared to a motorist. The motorcyclists may be thrown off balance or off the course. If there are large animals such as a moose or deer, it may lead to death. Motorcyclists are advised to exercise caution.
Where Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
- Drivers who are entering a rider’s right of way. This includes cars that are turning left in front of you and vehicles on the side streets who are pulling into your lane.
- 37 percent of all motorcycle fatalities occur during a curve.
- Majority of motorcycle collisions occur during the day
- More than half of all the collisions that occur are among riders who have less than six months experience. People who don’t know how to ride a motorcycle are often involved in motorcycle accidents.
- Most collisions occur when riders are going at speeds of 30 mph or less.
How Much More Dangerous is a Motorcycle vs Car?
A motorcyclist is 27 times more likely to die in a crash as compared to the occupant of a passenger car per vehicle mile traveled, while a motorcyclists is five time more likely to be injured.
Lane splitting is illegal in the United States except only in one State. California is the only State which allows lane splitting. Motorcyclists in this State can move in between lanes or rows of traffic.
The State legalized lane splitting with an intention to reduce traffic jams and reduce congestion. According to Californian Law, it is illegal to impede or block a motorcycle that is lane splitting in a way likely to cause harm.
In the past there have been cases of motorists opening their doors intentionally when motorcyclists were lane splitting.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents are fatal in many cases and can easily lead to death. This is because unlike vehicles whose safety is top notch, motorcycle safety is limited.
Motorcycles don’t have seat belts or airbags. The impact of the accident is therefore higher.
If a motorcycle is involved in an accident with high speed, in many cases it leads to death of the rider and the passenger if there was one.
Injuries sustained from motorcycle accidents can be life threatening.
These are some of the injuries that one can sustain when involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Damage to internal organs of the body
- Brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Road rash
- Cuts and bruises
Motorcycle Riding Tips
Ensure you follow these safety tips when riding:
- When shopping for a motor bike, go for one that you can handle or one that you find easiest to ride. If you are an amateur, go for a simple beginner rather than going for super bikes.
- Remember to always wear safety gear such as a helmet, gloves, boots, leather pants and a leather jacket when riding. Safety equipment especially helmets have saved many riders lives.
- Ensure you get antilock brakes for your bike as they can save your life.
- Improve your skills of riding and if possible go ahead and learn advanced skills
- Never ride your motor cycle when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Don’t listen to music either or talk with your phone when you’re riding your motorcycle.
- When riding, be defensive. This includes being extra alert of the vehicles that are around you and keeping a safe distance from them.
- Avoid riding your bike when there is bad weather such as heavy rain or a snow fall. There is poor visibility in these conditions and this increases your margin of error.
Why you Need a Lawyer?
Once you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, be sure to talk to a lawyer before talking to any insurance provider or adjuster.
An experienced attorney will assist you through your case and will ensure you get compensation. There are many lawsuits that may come up and this is another reason you should have an attorney by your side.