Do car drivers cause as many accidents as motorcyclists claim? What are the most common reasons for them and when do they happen?
You know it’s more dangerous to drive a motorcycle than a car. But, you accept that risk. After all, motorcycle riders get idealized as tough, rugged, independent, focused on freedom, and willing to take risks.
There’s nothing wrong with that. At the same time, you have to be ready to accept additional risks and responsibility for your own safety.
Automobile drivers can’t always see motorcycles as easily as another car. They get distracted with their smartphones. They’re not always aware that you’ll stop much faster than a car.
So, let’s take a look at motorcycle accidents and how they happen. Because, even if you’re right and within the law, you still face a dramatically higher risk of serious injury and permanent physical disability.
Drivers Blame Motorcyclists, Who Blame Car Drivers – Who’s Right?
Ask any car driver and they’ll tell you how they see motorcyclists darting in and out of traffic. Talk to a motorcyclist, and they’ll tell you car drivers are often inattentive around motorcyclists.
So who’s right?
A Florida study found motorcyclists are right. The study reviewed 10 years of motorcycle crash data and found 60% of the time car drivers were at fault in accidents involving motorcycles.
It’s likely due to routine. Car drivers see other cars and trucks most of the time. So that’s what they are most focused on. They forget to look for motorcycles and simply have more difficulty seeing them because they’re smaller.
But Motorcyclists Still Have to Be Careful
The same study found 19% of car accidents involved just the driver, with no other vehicles. With motorcycles, that number nearly doubled to 34%. The Insurance Information Institute has also found you’re about 26 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident.
So when you ride alone, you have to be extra cautious.
Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Collisions
Generally, these are the most common reasons for motorcycle accidents:
- A motorcyclist coming into a curve too fast, panicking, and hitting the brakes too hard
- Not seeing a motorcycle approaching from the left when turning left
- Failing to signal changing lanes when a motorcycle is behind you in your blind spot
- Cars pulling out into traffic abruptly to pass and failing to check for motorcyclists
Common Circumstances Surrounding Wrecks on Motorcycles
According to stats from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute, most motorcycle deaths happen on the weekend from 6-9 P.M. Most happen on major roads, but that does not include the interstate. 30% of injured riders in 2014 had a BAC of .08% or higher. Men almost always drive, and when male deaths happen, nearly 100% are driving. Women ride much more often, and 66% of women that die are passengers.
Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years (since 1983). Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.