If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, then you know there’s nothing quite like the open road. But with that freedom also comes risk. Motorcycle accidents are all too common, and often they result in serious injuries or even death. No matter how experienced or skilled a motorcycle rider you are, such accidents can still happen to anyone. According to alarming statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,976 motorcyclists killed in crashes in the United States in 2015 – a disturbing 8.3% increase from 2014!
Factors like speeding, alcohol impairment, and running red lights are among the most common factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents. But what causes these types of crashes? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes of these incidents and what riders can do to avoid them.
The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Just as a motorcycle accident lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo in Boca Raton, FL will tell you, collisions that happen while riding a motorcycle can be caused by multiple different things. There are, however, four main factors that contribute to these types of crashes: speed, distracted riding, drugs & alcohol impairment, and failing to yield.
Research has shown that many individuals who are involved in motorcycle accidents are distracted, making distracted driving the leading cause of motorcycle crashes in relation to other types of vehicle crashes. According to NHTSA, 28% of all motorcycle crashes were a result of distracted driving in 2015.
Distracted driving includes being on the phone or using an electronic device. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, talking on a cell phone while riding a bike increases your risk of an accident by 88%. In addition, texting while riding can cause you to slow down or stop completely.
Riding under influence is also common in motorcycle crashes. In fact, 94% of fatal motorcycle collisions resulted from a driver who was distracted or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (NHTSA). Of all fatalities of motorcycle crashes in 2015, 40% were not wearing helmets. Wearing all protective headgear reduces the risk of severe injury and death by 59% (NHTSA).
Speeding has also contributed to many motorcycle crashes. In 2015, approximately 30% of all motorcyclists killed in crashes were speeding (NHTSA). Speeding can play a role in different types of crashes, including head-on collisions and rear-end collisions. When a motorcyclist is speeding, they are more likely to have less time to react and brake and therefore cannot completely avoid a collision.
A driver failing to yield to a motorcyclist is another common contributing factor in multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes. For example, if you are riding on your way to work and a driver is stopped at a red light but fails to notice that you are next to them accelerating, that driver will not yield the right-of-way -possibly resulting in an accident.
Several crucial safety measures can help prevent a motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists should always obey traffic laws, always wear a helmet, and never drive impaired, for example. However, even the most careful, law-abiding, helmet-wearing motorcyclist is at risk of an accident if other drivers are not watching for them. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced attorney that is knowledgeable in these types of cases for advice about your legal options.