Motorcycle riders face unique risks on the road and are 24 times more likely to be killed in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants. In 2021, there were 5,932 motorcycle accident fatalities in the United States. Understanding the top causes of motorcycle accidents is crucial for all road users to promote safety and help prevent tragedies. In this blog, we’ll explore the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and what to do if you are involved in a crash.
Speeding is one of the leading causes of motorcycle crashes in the US and claimed 12,330 lives in 2021. When motorists exceed the speed limit, they have less time to react to potential hazards and avoid collisions. Additionally, speeding increases the severity of a crash due to the force of the impact that occurs at higher traveling speeds. It’s crucial for riders and motor vehicle drivers alike to adhere to speed limits and adjust their speed according to road conditions.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents across the United States, killing about 3,000 people each year. Activities like texting, talking on the phone, or adjusting GPS while operating a motor vehicle divert the motorist’s attention away from the road. Engaging in other activities while driving compromises your safety and the safety of others.
Reckless driving is intentional disregard for the safety of oneself and others. Reckless driving behaviors like aggressive lane changes, tailgating, or disregarding traffic signals, contribute to motorcycle accidents. These actions not only endanger the motorcycle rider but also put other road users at great risk. It’s essential for motorists to prioritize safety, follow traffic laws, and be considerate of other motor vehicles on the road.
It may be surprising, but rider age is a factor that affects motorcycle accident rates. Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that 53% of motorcyclists killed in motorcycle crashes in 2019 were age 40 or older. The average age for motorcycle riders killed in crashes that year was 43.
On the other hand, the age group that is involved in the most motorcyclist collisions is aged 25 to 29. Riders in older age groups may face physical limitations that affect their reaction times, while younger riders may not have as much experience or training. All riders need to be aware of their limitations and take appropriate precautions to mitigate the risk of motorcycle collisions.
Riding or Driving While Intoxicated
Driving or riding while intoxicated is highly dangerous and significantly increases the likelihood of motorcycle accidents. Out of 2,158 motorcycle operators who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2020, 41% were riding under the influence of alcohol. Drugs and alcohol significantly impair coordination, judgment, and reaction time, making it challenging for motorists to control their motor vehicles and react to sudden changes on the road.
Lack of Experience or Training
Lack of experience and training is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. Proper training programs teach riders crucial skills, such as balance, maneuvering, and hazard awareness. Riders who lack adequate training may struggle to control their motorcycles effectively, increasing the chances of motorcycle collisions. It’s recommended that all motorcyclists, especially new riders, invest in quality training programs to enhance their riding skills and reduce the risk of accidents.
Poor weather poses significant risks and challenges to riders and increases the risk of motorcycle accidents. Rain, snow, ice, fog, or strong winds can reduce traction and visibility, making it harder to control motorcycles and navigate safely. Motorcyclists should always be aware of the weather conditions before heading out and adjust their riding style to the weather conditions.
A significant number of car accidents occur in urban areas, especially at intersections, where left-turn accidents are common. Left-turn accidents can occur when a motor vehicle driver going straight and hits a motorcyclist that is turning left. They can also occur when a turning car hits a motorcyclist that is making a left turn.
Often, drivers fail to notice approaching motorcycles or misjudge their speed, leading to left-turn accidents. Motorcyclists should exercise caution at intersections, anticipate the possibility of left-turning passenger vehicles, and employ defensive riding techniques to enhance their visibility. By understanding and addressing these top causes of motorcycle accidents, riders can take proactive measures to enhance their safety on the road.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
Experiencing a motorcycle accident can be traumatic and overwhelming. Understanding what to do after a motorcycle accident is crucial. Here are the steps victims can take to protect their rights and best interests:
Get to Safety
After a motorcycle crash, the first priority is to ensure your safety. If possible, move yourself and others involved to a safe location away from oncoming traffic. This can help prevent potential secondary accidents. Remember to assess your surroundings and use caution when moving. It’s best not to move or remove your gear if you sustained serious injuries.
Call the Police
Contact the police and ensure you obtain a police report. The police will document the incident, gather information from all of the parties involved, and create an official accident report. This report will serve as crucial evidence when dealing with insurance companies and potential legal matters.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it is important to seek medical attention immediately after a crash. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent or can worsen without medical treatment. A medical professional can assess your injuries and provide prompt treatment. Additionally, obtaining medical records of your injuries will be essential when pursuing a personal injury claim.
Collect contact and insurance information from all of the parties involved. Also, speak to witnesses, get their contact information, and ask if they are willing to provide a statement of what they saw. This evidence will be valuable when determining liability and can help support your personal injury claim.
Gather Evidence at the Accident Scene
If you are able to, gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, including skid marks, broken glass, injuries, and property damage.
Don’t Deal with the Insurance Company Alone
The other party’s insurance company may try to reach out after an accident. It is crucial not to handle insurance matters on your own after a motorcycle crash. Insurance companies may try to minimize your claim or offer a low settlement that does not fully compensate you for your damages. Consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who will communicate and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and ensure your rights are protected.
Consult an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
After a motorcycle collision, it’s vital to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Motorcycle crash attorneys will help you understand your rights, calculate the value of your case, gather crucial evidence, and advocate for you in court to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
At Empire Accident Attorneys, our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping injured victims obtain justice and recover full and fair compensation. We proudly maintain a 99% success rate and have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. We will help you navigate the claims process, understand your legal options, and pursue a fair settlement. Contact our personal injury law firm today to schedule a free consultation.