When the weather is nice, one of the most enjoyable ways to get around town–or perhaps even get from city to city–is via motorcycle. Providing freedom and flexibility, motorcycles are one of the most popular methods of transportation, and for good reason: they’re fun, convenient, and almost always less expensive than a car.
But the major downside to motorcycles is that they aren’t always safe. Indeed, 2015 crash data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights that across the country that year, there were 4,976 motorcyclists killed in crashes, an eight percent increase from the year before. Getting down to the bottom of motorcycle accidents and determining their root cause may help to prevent these crashes from occurring in the first place. Here’s a look into some of the most common reasons for motorcycle accidents:
Common Causes of Motorcycle Collisions
Motorcyclists are involved in crashes for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes of collision include:
- Speeding: According to the same NHTSA data source cited above, speed was a contributing factor in a large percentage of motorcycle crashes that occurred in 2015. 33 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of collision; the number does not account for the percentage of speeding operators of standard motor vehicles.
- Alcohol: Like speed, alcohol was a major contributing factor in motorcycle crashes in 2015, and continues to be a threat for those on the road today. Twenty-seven percent of motorcyclists killed in crashes were alcohol impaired; again, the number does not account for the number of drunk drivers of passenger cars.
- Blind spot collisions: A lot of accidents involving motorcyclists happen simply because the driver of a passenger car fails to see the motorcyclist–often because the motorcyclist is in the driver’s blind spot–changing lanes right into the motorcyclist’s path. Motorcyclists should always pass cars quickly, and make sure other drivers can see them.
- Lane-splitting: Lane-splitting, which is the act of motorcyclists riding between lanes of traffic, is against the law in most states. While some argue that the practice is safe, it can be dangerous when a motorcyclist is traveling at a much faster speed than surrounding traffic.
- Road hazards: Road hazards are a serious danger to motorcyclists, in part because they are completely beyond a motorcyclist’s control; a motorcyclist cannot predict a road hazard, and often does not have enough time to respond when facing one. Road hazards include debris, animals, potholes, and more. Improperly marked turns, curves, roads, and construction zones can all create a hazard, too.
Steps to Take if Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
For drivers of passenger vehicles and operators of motorcycles alike, it is important to exercise a high level of care when on the road, and take safety precautions like putting away a cellphone and wearing a helmet. If you are involved in a motorcycle collision and suffer injuries, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney near you.