motorcycle accident

Motorcycle Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Every day, an average of three motorcyclists are killed in the U.S. as a result of multi-vehicle crashes at intersections. In 2012, 4,667 motorcyclists died in crashes according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Almost half of the motorcyclists killed were killed during a crash involving two vehicles. 38% of these fatal motorcycle accidents resulted from another vehicle turning left in front of a motorcycle that was either going straight, passing, or overtaking another vehicle. Although motorcyclist deaths declined in the early 1980s, they began to increase again in 1998. Motorcycle rider deaths have continued to increase in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and are now more than double the 1997 numbers.

The harsh reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, according to the IIHS. Not only are motorcycles less stable and less visible than cars; but, when motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they’re more likely to be injured or killed. While helmets can save lives and prevent traumatic brain injuries, motorcyclists have little else to rely on should they crash.

Causes Of A Motorcycle Accident

  • Bad weather
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Ignoring traffic conditions
  • Inexperienced motorists
  • Lane splitting (i.e. when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes)
  • Motorcycle defects
  • Road hazards
  • Speeding

How to Prevent Motorcycle Injury and Death

  • Avoid bad weather
  • Do not drink and drive or drive while under the influence of drugs
  • Don’t ride in blind spots and always use your headlights so drivers can see you
  • Don’t tailgate other vehicles
  • Don’t weave through traffic, split the lane, or drive on the shoulder
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Stay alert, especially to others engaged in distracted driving
  • Use turn signals
  • Watch for road hazards
  • Wear appropriate safety gear. Always wear a helmet and for maximum protection, wear a leather or other reinforced jacket, gloves, full pants, and over-the-ankle footwear

A 2010 report by the University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research found that car drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time in collisions involving a motorcycle. Unfortunately drivers of passenger vehicles do not always look out for motorcycles and have the mentality that motorcyclists should yield to them. Let’s be honest: You need to do everything you can to keep yourself safe while riding to avoid motorcycle accidents that all too often result in catastrophic injuries and death.