The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government organization dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries, and reducing vehicle-related crashes. This includes motorcycle crashes. According to the NHTSA, over 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents result either in the injury or the death of the motorcyclist. Below are the top 5 most common causes of a motorcycle accident. While these are not the only causes, they are the most prevalent. Of note, all of these causes of motorcycle accidents are preventable or avoidable. Understanding the most common causes of motorcycle accidents can go a long way in preventing them.
Inexperience and Motorcycle Accidents
Ideally, a motorcycle rider spends dozens of hours in training, learning how to operate their motorcycle, as well as how to gauge conditions, respond to situations, and generally gaining competence. Unfortunately, all too often, people start riding motorcycles on the roads well before they are ready. Their inexperience can often result in motorcycle accidents. A full 25% of all motorcycle fatalities involved riders without a valid motorcycle license.
Alcohol and Motorcycle Accidents
Alcohol impairs judgment – on and off the roads. Riding a motorcycle requires razor sharp reflexes, and even one beer can reduce reaction times. Nearly 40% of all single vehicle motorcycle fatalities involved alcohol in 2013. Additionally, 18% of multiple vehicle crash fatalities included motorcyclists with a blood alcohol concentration over .08, the legal limit, in 2015.
Motor Vehicle Drivers and Left-Hand Turns
In fatality cases involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle, an astonishing 42% involved the other vehicle turning left while the motorcyclist was traveling straight ahead, passing, or overtaking another vehicle. Unfortunately, motorcycles are more difficult to see, and many car drivers don’t spend enough time looking for motorcycles before turning left at an intersection.
Excessive Rates of Speed
An excessive rate of speed may mean traveling in excess of the posted speed limits. However, it can also refer to traveling too fast for conditions. For example, if the speed limit is 50 miles per hour, but a windstorm is occurring, 50 miles per hours is probably too fast. Given the reduced visibility during a windstorm, such speed would be foolish. Speed was considered a factor in 34% of motorcycle fatalities in 2013.
Inattentive driving, both on the part of vehicle drivers and motorcycle drivers, contribute to motorcycle accidents resulting in injuries and death. For example, a vehicle may drift into oncoming traffic if the driver is texting, rather than focusing on driving. A motorcyclist enjoying the freedom of the open road may fail to appreciate traffic slowing in front of them. Distracted driving is a danger in this country, and both car drivers and motorcycle riders bear some responsibility for this factor contributingto motorcycle accidents.
If You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident or If You Have Lost a Loved One in a Motorcycle Accident
Whether you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, or you or a family member has been injured in a motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to compensation. At Miller Weber Kory, LLP, our motorcycle accident lawyers have the experience necessary to successfully advocate on your behalf. We offer free consultations, because we are very selective in the motorcycle accident cases we take on. Contact us today to discuss your case at 602-648-4045.