Riding a motorcycle is a popular way of getting around in the United States. Motorcycles can be a great way to travel, especially during the summer when the weather is beautiful. However, motorcycle accidents are not uncommon in the United States and can be fatal. 14% of traffic-related deaths in 2019 were from motorcyclists, and 66% were caused by rider error.
Other factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents include head-on collisions with other vehicles and standstill objects, speeding, reckless driving, lane splitting, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, among other things. To avoid these fatal accidents, please drive responsibly and make sure you are following the rules of the road. Pay attention to these causes and how to prevent these accidents because it could save your life when riding your favorite bike.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Because motorcycle accidents and deaths are so common in the United States for several reasons, it’s important to be vigilant when riding on a motorcycle or driving on the road shared with motorcycles. In this section, you’ll learn about the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.
Head-On Collisions with Other Vehicles
Frontal collisions with other vehicles are the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. 74% of motorcycle accidents in 2021 were from frontal collisions. Most of these collisions are caused by motorists who fail to acknowledge the presence of bikes on the road. Other factors of these head-on collisions include distracted driving and poor driving conditions or visibility. Motorcyclists can avoid head-on collisions by wearing noticeable colors when riding, especially at night. Other ways to avoid collisions are by making sure your bike has a very visible headlight and that you stay out of the blind spot of a driver any time you can.
For motorcyclists, it might be shocking to learn that one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is cars turning left. Sharing the road with vehicular motorists can be difficult because many drivers aren’t entirely aware of a motorcycle’s turn signals. This results in many motorcyclists getting hit by cars in intersections who aren’t aware that the motorcycle is proceeding forward. While unintentional, it’s still the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. To prevent this, motorcyclists should be sure that their turn blinkers are clearly visible to other motorists and use proper hand signals at intersections. Many drivers have an issue with seeing motorcycles in their blind spots.
Speeding is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, but for both vehicular motorists and motorcyclists. Vehicular motorists who speed certainly pose a threat for motorcyclists on the road, as an impact with an unsuspecting motorcyclist is almost a guaranteed fatality. For motorcyclists, speeding is incredibly dangerous. Even more so, sports bike owners have nearly two to four times the death rate of traditional motorcycle riders. Popular due to their lightweight frame and performance, riders driving at dangerously high speeds pose a higher risk of collision with another vehicle or a standstill object. To avoid these deadly accidents, make sure that you’re driving your motorcycle at the legal speed limit and staying aware of other vehicles that could pose a threat on the road.
Driving Under the Influence
This common cause of motorcycle accidents is another cause that involves all those who share the road. Motorcyclists must be careful when riding on the road with other vehicles and be aware that there may perhaps be someone else on the road driving under the influence, depending on the time that they’re riding. Motorcyclists should also avoid driving while under the influence. Operating a motorcycle requires the ability to make quick reactions. Over 40% of all single-vehicle motorcycle deaths involved alcohol in 2018. Nearly 26% of multiple-vehicle collision deaths involved a motorcyclist with a blood alcohol percentage of more than the legal limit. Getting into a deadly accident or getting a DUI is not worth the risk. Avoid driving under the influence at all times, even if it’s one drink.
For motorcyclists, efficient riding can help you avoid long traffic jams that would take double the time in a car. One way of doing this is by lane splitting, which is when a rider drives between two lanes of traffic. While efficient, lane splitting can also be very dangerous to motorcyclists. So dangerous, in fact, that lane splitting is illegal in many states. Some states still allow it, however. Lane splitting accidents make up about 17% of motorcycle accidents. Sometimes drivers are not very vigilant when switching lanes and will not notice the motorcyclist who is lane splitting. Motorcyclists can avoid this by staying extremely vigilant when lane splitting in traffic and being aware of driver blind spots.
Poor Riding Conditions
Unless you ride a motorcycle somewhere where it is always sunny, you rarely have to worry about having to deal with poor riding conditions. For those that don’t get the pleasure of 300+ days of sunshine a year, they do have to worry about riding their bike in bad weather conditions. Rain and other inclement weather keep bikers off the road for the most part, but in the event of an unforeseen storm, it can lead to forced riding. One in every three motorcycle deaths was caused by wet weather. If you decide to ride in inclement weather, make sure that your bike is properly equipped to handle the conditions and that you have good visibility. If you don’t feel comfortable, wait out the weather as long as you can to ensure complete safety.
For both drivers and bikers, reckless driving rarely ends well. When a driver or rider drives recklessly, drives distracted, speeds, or follows the vehicles in front of them too closely, it will lead to accidents or worse. Following too closely can end up in rear-end accidents due to cars coming to an abrupt stop. These accidents can lead to fatal accidents for bikers, as it would almost certainly lead to them getting thrown from their bike. To avoid these motorcycle accidents, drive safely and stay vigilant of other vehicles on the road that are driving recklessly. Ride at a safe speed and keep a safe distance between yourself and the other vehicles on the road.
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