Riding a motorcycle can be a fun activity, but accidents can happen. Motorcyclists can face a multitude of hazards, some of which are shared by cars and some that are unique. Motorcycles are smaller and harder for cars to see, which puts them at an increased risk of being hit. In a collision, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed than occupants of other vehicles. According to the Law Office of Edward W. Sampson, “motorcycle accidents can often result in serious injuries, due to the lack of protection that riders have.” It is crucial for riders to stay vigilant and to understand the common causes of accidents, so they can avoid these deadly collisions.
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is driver error. If drivers fail to see a motorcycle, misjudge the speed or distance of a motorcycle, and fail to yield to the right of way to a motorcycle. Car or truck drivers may not be accustomed to looking out for motorcycles, as they are smaller and more maneuverable. When sharing the road with cars and trucks, riders need to be particularly vigilant.
It is important for riders to wear high-visibility (bright) clothing and to use their headlights as these increase their chances of being seen by cars. Motorcyclists should also keep a safe distance from other cars and trucks and avoid blind spots, as well as ride defensively. Doing these things along with reacting quickly to any hazards, will help motorcycle riders to stay safe.
Another major cause of motorcycle accidents is speeding. Aside from bicyclists, motorcycles are the most vulnerable type of vehicle on the road which means that high speeds greatly increase the risk of serious accidents. Excessive speed makes it more difficult to control any vehicle, but especially motorcycles. When a rider is speeding, they are also more likely to lose control of their motorcycle and crash. According to the NHTSA, speeding was a factor in 33% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2019 as it makes it more difficult to react to other vehicles and hazards on the road.
Riders should always obey speed limits and adjust their speed according to road and weather conditions as this will help them avoid speeding-related accidents. High speeds can cause loss of control, so riders need to be particularly careful when navigating curves and corners.
Impaired driving, which includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a significant cause of motorcycle accidents. Impaired drivers often have slower reaction times and reduced judgment. This makes them more likely to cause a crash. According to the NHTSA, alcohol was involved in 27% of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2019
Riders should never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Motorcyclists should also be aware of the signs of impaired driving in other motorists, including cars and trucks, such as swerving or driving erratically, and they should keep an increased distance between these vehicles.
Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of traffic, is incredibly dangerous and is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Although lane splitting is legal in some states, such as California, it is illegal in others and puts motorcyclists at an increased risk of getting into an accident. Often, drivers are not expecting a motorcycle to be passing in between lanes, and riders can easily end up in a car or truck’s blind spot. Drivers may fail to check their blind spots and misjudge the distance and speed of the motorcycle. This leads to serious collisions.
Riders should only lane split in states and situations where it is legal and when it is safe to do so. They should also be aware of their surroundings and avoid riding in blind sports. Motorcyclists should be aware of the risk and take extra precautions when passing between lanes of traffic and utilize their horn to alert drivers of their presence if necessary.
Road hazards such as potholes, gravel, or uneven pavement can cause motorcycle accidents. Even a small obstacle, such as gravel, sand, or little potholes, can easily cause a motorcycle to lose control as they are more affected by these types of hazards than other vehicles. Unfortunately, other drivers on the road can also be a hazard for motorcyclists. Riders should always be aware of other vehicles around them and anticipate their movements to avoid collisions.
Riders should always be aware of their surroundings to avoid accidents caused by road hazards. It is important to always keep an eye out for potential hazards. Riders should slow down and take extra care when riding over uneven or damaged pavement.
Understanding the common causes of motorcycle accidents is crucial for staying safe on the road. It is important to understand and be aware of the risks and take the steps to minimize them. As always, riders should wear protective gear, obey traffic laws, and ride defensively. Riders can enjoy the exhilaration and freedom of riding while reducing the risk of an accident by being aware of and taking steps to reduce the risks.