Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
Each year, more than 5,000 motorcyclists are killed on U.S. roadways every year, making them more than 29 times more likely to die in an accident than passengers in other vehicles.
Thousands more motorcyclists are injured every year in these accidents—and all too often, these accidents and injuries are through no fault of the motorcyclist's driving behavior. The risk of becoming injured in a motorcycle accident is understood by anyone who mounts a motorcycle to drive on public roadways, but this doesn't make the accidents themselves any easier to face when you or a loved one crashes and suffers an injury.
When these accidents occur, it's important to understand your rights as a cyclist and the steps you need to take to protect and advocate for yourself to make sure your healthcare expenses and other costs are covered by the responsible party. Read on for an overview of the top causes of motorcycle accidents, as well as what steps you can take to protect yourself before and after an accident occurs.
What is the Primary Cause of Motorcycle Crashes in the U.S.?
The leading cause of motorcycle accidents is a collision with another moving vehicle. According to the most recently available motorcycle driving statistics, collisions with another vehicle accounted for more than 53 percent of injuries occurred while riding a motorcycle in 2018.
In many cases, these accidents are due to the other vehicle's inability to identify a motorcyclist on the road. Drivers of other vehicles may change lanes without realizing that a motorcycle is in their blind spot, or they might turn onto a different road without checking to see if their turn is cutting off a motorcyclist.
Motorcyclists are well aware of the high risk that other vehicles will not spot them on the road, which is why defensive driving is preached to motorcyclists in an effort to reduce the risk of injury. Even so, motorcycle crashes continue to be disproportionately caused by crashes involving at least one other passenger vehicle in motion at the time of the accident.
Other Common Causes of a Motorcycle Crash
While passenger vehicle collisions account for the majority of motorcycle accidents, other common causes include the following:
-— Collision with a fixed object. This can include vehicles, signs, trees and other obstructions in the road. Motorcyclists should note that, even in cases where a motorcycle strikes a fixed object, the motorcyclist is not necessarily liable for the crash, depending on the object and who is responsible for that roadway obstruction.
-— Collision with a non-fixed object. This could include moving non-vehicles and other non-stationary objects, including animals or pedestrians.
-— Noncollision accidents. This could include situations where the motorcyclist loses control of their vehicle and crashes. Common causes could include icy or slick conditions, damaged roadways, or operator error.
Safe Riding Tips to Avoid Accidents and Serious Injury
Even though motorcyclists are often not liable for the accidents causing them injury, every cyclist should practice defensive driving and take preventative measures to avoid injury and/or reduce the potential seriousness of an injury.
Consider taking the following steps:
-— Wear a helmet when riding. While helmets are not legally required for motorcyclists in every state, they are required for all Georgia motorcyclists. This includes both drivers and passengers. Wearing a helmet will save you from getting pulled over and fined, and it could end up saving your life.
-— Wear reflective clothing when riding during poor visibility. This will improve your visibility and make you less likely to suffer a collision.
-— Maintain a safe riding distance from other vehicles. Other vehicles may struggle to see you if you're riding too close. By keeping to a safe distance, you will be more visible, and have more time to react if roadway hazards develop up ahead.
-— Ride in groups when possible. Motorcyclists are more visible when driving as part of a larger group rather than solo.
-— Enroll in a motorcycle safety course to brush up on safety techniques. If it has been a while since you received proper safety training, a safety course can offer a refresh on defensive driving and other tactics to avoid accidents and protect yourself in a crash.
What to Do if You've Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If you do find yourself in a motorcycle crash, the first thing you should do is call 911 to get emergency services to the scene of the accident—even if you think you've escaped with minor injuries.
You should also get the contact information of the other parties involved in the accident, as you will need this information when dealing with police and insurance. Once your emergency care needs are met, make sure you contact a (motorcycle crash attorney) to get the legal support you need to navigate this process and make sure your needs for healthcare and other compensation are properly met by the responsible party. Even if you believe you're at fault, an attorney can review your situation and determine if other parties are partially or fully to blame for your accident.
How you respond to a motorcycle crash—including whether you are properly compensated for your losses and suffering—will have a tremendous impact on your ability to recover from this event and move forward with your life. Always make sure you have the support and advocacy of a trusted motorcycle crash attorney to help you through this process.