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Motorcycle Accidents – Understanding the Common Causes
Motorcycles have become increasingly popular over the years with thousands of motorcyclists taking to the streets, whether for sport or recreation. Although the idea of feeling the wind in your face while riding a motorcycle appeals to many people, cyclists face many risks every time they get on the bike, especially when other motorists do not see them on the road. the road. Ultimately, understanding why motorcycle accidents happen can help drivers and riders make safer decisions when sharing the road.
There are a few common causes of motorcycle accidents in Indiana and across the country. Some of these include drivers failing to see motorcyclists, drivers violating the motorcyclist’s right of way, vehicles turning left in front of motorcyclists at intersections, and motorcyclist errors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that in 2008 there were 5,290 motorcycle accident deaths and another 96,000 injuries. 119 of those deaths occurred in Indiana alone.
Since motorcycles are much smaller than passenger cars, light trucks, and large trucks, many drivers often don’t see a motorcyclist until it’s too late. Two-vehicle crashes accounted for 2,554 (47%) of motorcyclist fatalities in 2008. Motorcyclists also do not have the benefit of a metal frame to protect them in a crash, so in almost all crashes to two vehicles involving a motorcycle, the rider will take the most damage.
Crashes at intersections where a vehicle turned left in front of a motorcyclist claimed 985 lives. In most cases, the motorcyclist was going straight ahead or passing another vehicle. 666 deaths resulted from both the vehicle and the motorcycle traveling in a straight line. When motorcyclists have the right of way at an intersection, they may be traveling at a higher speed, which plays a role in the severity of injuries sustained in a crash. If a motorcyclist is traveling at 40 mph and a vehicle turns left in front of them, causing the motorcycle to strike the vehicle, the risk of catastrophic injury or death increases dramatically. Drivers should always be alert and watch for motorcyclists when turning at an intersection.
Nearly two-thirds of motorcycle accidents occur due to driver error. In many cases, speed and driver inexperience contribute to single-vehicle crashes. Some riders may also buy the wrong bike for their experience level, opting for a bigger engine with more power like a 900cc instead of a 250cc or 600cc. Because fat bikes are heavier, they can be harder to control for a smaller or inexperienced rider. Statistics show that motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in a collision with a fixed object such as a tree or lamppost, compared to 19% of passenger vehicles, 14% of light trucks and only 4% of large trucks.
As indicated above, motorcyclists do not benefit from a metal frame protecting them in the event of an accident like the occupants of passenger vehicles. There are steps motorcyclists can take to prevent motorcycle accidents and personal injury, including but not limited to:
- Choose the appropriate size motorcycle for the stature and experience level of the rider.
- Always wear a helmet, eye protection, jacket, pants and riding boots. In the event that a cyclist is hit and slides on the road, it is better that the protective equipment is destroyed instead of the body of the cyclist.
- Obey traffic rules and share the road. Don’t speed up or weave through traffic. As much as other drivers should pay attention to a driver, the driver should show the same courtesy to other drivers.
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