It’s no secret motorcycles are particularly dangerous. In 2015, almost 5,000 people died in motorcycle crashes in the United States alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That same year, another 88,000 people were injured in motorcycle accidents. According to the same data, motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to die in crashes per vehicle mile traveled than passenger car occupants and were almost 5 times more likely to be injured. So, why are motorcycles so dangerous? We’ve listed some of the most common reasons bikers get into accidents.
Lack of Protection
While motorcyclists can don as much protective gear as they like, it still doesn’t offer as much coverage as the body of a car or truck. If a motorcycle crashes headlong into a car or fixed object, the motorcyclist will likely go flying, as might his or her bike. Not only can getting knocked off the bike cause significant damage but also, if a car hits the biker after the crash, it’s less likely to have a positive outcome. Likewise, the bike itself can become a danger if it also goes flying and lands on its rider.
The biggest danger to motorcyclists is mostly other drivers in larger vehicles. One of the greatest risks for bikers is cars making left-hand turns. These collisions make up about 42% of all accidents involving cars and motorcycles. The car will usually hit the motorcycle when the bike is going straight through an intersection, passing the car, or trying to overtake the vehicle.
Likewise, many motorcyclists also lane split, which means the biker drives between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars. In some states this is illegal, but in others, it is not explicitly outlawed, or it is a sanctioned practice. Lane splitting can be dangerous because the bike is in close proximity to cars and has less space to maneuver if it needs to get out of the way. Likewise, cars don’t usually anticipate bikes passing them in slow traffic, so they may accidentally change lanes without checking for motorcycles.
Speeding and Alcohol Use
Almost half of all motorcycle accidents involving a single bike are caused by speeding or alcohol use. While these factors can also cause many car accidents, motorcycles offer less protection in the event the rider crashes. Increases in speed decrease a person’s control of their vehicle, and alcohol can also cause people to make poor decisions, including the choice to ride a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol. Riding a bike also requires balance and precision, which are often compromised the more alcohol a person drinks.
Road hazards, such as patches of sand or animal carcasses, are easily avoided by cars. Even if a car accidentally runs over roadkill, the vehicle is unlikely to be affected by it. A motorcycle is a different story, however. Motorcycles are smaller and less stable, so potholes and other road hazards can pose a serious safety threat to the rider.
There are few high-performance bikes on the road, but those that are can pose a safety hazard to the rider. Supersport bikes are built on racing platforms modified for highway use. These are meant for racing, so they are lighter than standard bikes and have high-horsepower engines. Some of them can go up to 160 miles per hour. If you crash at that speed, you could be looking at extensive bodily injury if not death. Those who ride supersport motorcycles are 4 times as likely to die compared to riders of conventional bikes.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident through someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to call us. Injuries sustained in these kinds of collisions can be severe and can lead to high medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages. Our Palmyra motorcycle accident attorneys can help. The lawyers at Foley & Foley have been helping victims of personal injury for decades. We are committed to helping people recover from their injuries and put their lives back together. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (315) 883-2650 or fill out our online form to schedule your free case consultation today.