What Causes Motorcycle Accidents
For millions of Americans, motorcycles are not just a way to get from place to place, but are an important part of a larger connection to their community. Riders are often involved with riding clubs and other groups that revolve around biker culture. The relatively low cost to own a motorcycle, as well as the community and new friends a motorcycle owner can join, make owning a motorcycle an attractive prospect. In 2017 alone, over four hundred thousand motorcycles were purchased, and the number continues to grow every year.
While owning a motorcycle seems like a great idea to many, consumers worry about the increased dangers of riding. In 2018, over 33,000 fatal motorcycle accidents occurred. Unlike the enclosed frame and airbags of a traditional passenger vehicle, motorcycles have nothing between them and the roadway. On January 7, 2020 in Houston, a motorcyclist was struck unexpectedly by a drunk driver, resulting in an inferno that was caught on camera. These tragedies and statistics make owning a motorcycle a dangerous prospect for many consumers, however, many people still ride motorcycles and want to know what to be aware of in order to avoid an accident.
Like accidents involving only traditional vehicles, those involving motorcycle have many causes. However, the most serious motorcycle accidents seen by Louisiana lawyers have several common factors. Whenever someone is driving or riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the likelihood of a fatal accident is greatly elevated. Intoxicants slow down the reaction time of most individuals, and that slower reaction time makes them a danger to others and themselves on the road. Driving under the influence makes a driver open to civil and criminal liability for any accident they are involved in, but that deterrent unfortunately does not stop this needless danger from happening. A motorcyclist should always be cautious of drivers under the influence, especially during the nighttime.
Even more common than drunk driving are accidents caused by drivers who make unsafe turns in front of a motorcyclist. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 40% of all fatal accidents involving a motorcycle involve another vehicle pulling in front of them in either a left hand turn or a U-turn. Usually, the driver overlooks the motorcyclist due to its relative lack of size. There are a multitude of other reasons why a driver pulls in front of a motorcyclist, but if they do they can be held civilly liable for any of the damages done to the motorcyclist. When crossing into an intersection, a motorcyclist should be aware of other vehicles which could be turning at any time.
There are a number of other reasons why motorcycle accidents occur:
- Unsafe lane changes: A driver can collide with a motorcyclist when they do not check their blindspot when they are changing lanes, leading to a massively damaging crash if they do collide. A motorcyclist should be actively watching other drivers in the neighboring lanes, and to be cautious around them.
- Speeding: Speeding is dangerous to everyone on the road, no matter who you are. Speeding causes all kinds of car accidents, as the driver or motorcyclist who is speeding has less of a chance to react to others before a collision occurs. The faster the speed, the more likely someone is going to get hurt, so motorcyclists should always be vigilant of others’ speed.
- Dangerous road conditions: If the road is crumbling, wet, full of potholes, covered in debris, or lacking necessary signals and signs to warn drivers of unexpected conditions, motorcyclists can be put in a dangerous situation without even knowing it. Unsafe conditions can be damaging to all drivers on the road, but a motorcyclist has to be uniquely aware of their surroundings due to the dangers associated with their vehicle of choice. A motorcyclist should always keep an eye on the road and be ready to slow down in the event of inclement conditions.
- Car doors: A passenger may forget to look before opening their door, and they may open their door directly into the path of a motorcyclist, leading to a crash. Motorcyclists should pay attention to parked cars, especially if they are moving at speed.
If you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle accident and are not at-fault, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An experienced, well-trained attorney can guide you through the recovery process, and get you the compensation you deserve for your medical treatment, pain and suffering, and lost wages.