Some motorcycle accidents are caused by the motorcyclist driving recklessly, speeding, or being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. However, it may be surprising to learn that the most common reason for a motorcycle accident is other drivers’ failure to see the motorcycle rider.
Here are the top causes of motorcycle accidents:
1. Not Being Seen by Other Drivers
Motorcycles are involved in head-on collisions and accidents with other cars making left-hand turns when the other drivers do not see them. Crashes involving other vehicles are responsible for 56% of the motorcyclists’ deaths. Head-on collisions, which happen in 78% of the accidents, are the most fatal. Accidents from the side happen 17% of the time and only 5% of the time from the rear.
2. Lane Splitting
Lane splitting happens when a motorcycle passes another car using the same lane that the car is using. This situation commonly occurs in traffic jams when a motorcycle rider passes slower moving vehicles by driving between them.
The trouble is that the space between vehicles is very small. There is no room for a motorcycle to maneuver if the space between the vehicles suddenly narrows due to any change in direction made by any of the other vehicles’ drivers.
For example, if the traffic suddenly stops in one lane, a vehicle driver may swerve to avoid a collision with another vehicle in front and hit a motorcycle passing on the side of the vehicle at that same moment. Another accident might happen if the driver of a stopped vehicle opens a door that is then hit by a motorcyclist passing in the same lane.
3. Motorcycle Speeding and Alcohol/Drugs
When a motorcyclist is involved in an accident that does not involve another vehicle, about half of those accidents are caused by excessive speed or the motorcyclist being under the influence of alcohol/drugs. About one-quarter of accidents where a motorcycle hits a fixed object result in the death of the motorcyclist.
4. High-Performance Motorcycles
The mortality rate in motorcycles accidents for high-performance motorcycles is four times greater when compared to conventional motorcycles.
5. Younger Riders
Motorcyclists under the age of 30 have a higher accident rate because they tend to be less careful and drive in a riskier way.
6. Road Hazards
The dangers on the road for motorcycles include potholes, hitting road-kill animals, gravel, stones, slippery roads, uneven pavement, debris, insects, and running into other unexpected items.
7. Bad Weather
Riding a motorcycle in bad weather is more dangerous than being in a passenger vehicle. It is much easier for a motorcyclist to lose control due to unsafe road conditions caused by rain, sleet, ice, and snow.
How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents
Here are the safety rules to follow to avoid motorcycle accidents:
- Drive defensively. Always assume other drivers cannot see you.
- Always ride with the headlamp on.
- Wear brightly-colored safety clothing.
- Drive at a safe speed.
- Do not use alcohol or drugs when riding.
- Avoid reckless riding.
- Do not ride in bad weather.
To reduce the likelihood of dying in an accident, always wear protective gear, including an undamaged helmet with a face shield. It is best to wear leather gloves, pants, and a jacket. Make sure any rider also does the same.