Motorcycles are fast, fuel-efficient and exciting. For these reasons, and the seemingly never-ending warm weather in Texas, we see motorcycles on the road regularly. Unfortunately, more riders on the road increase the number of motorcycle injuries and accidents each year, ranging from fender-benders at lower speeds to more severe, tragic collisions.
Risking Motorcycle Injuries
These accidents are especially disastrous because with little to no protective barriers between the driver and the road, motorcyclists are left in a tremendously vulnerable position and are more likely to sustain critical injuries such as traumatic brain injuries or even death. Evidence shows that per vehicle mile travelled, motorcyclists’ risk of a fatal crash is 26 times greater than a passenger car. There are many factors that play into motorcycle crashes. We’ve listed some of the most common causes below so you can stay informed and know what to look for when driving a motorcycle.
Cars Making Left Hand Turns
Many motorcycle accidents occur because the car driver fails to see the motorcyclist and they turn left into the rider’s path at an intersection. This is the case for more than 40 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Because of this, motorcyclists need to be extra alert when it comes to driving behaviors of those nearby.
Although certain states allow motorcycle lane-splitting, it’s a dangerous maneuver that should be implemented with extreme caution. With congested traffic come distracted, inattentive drivers and stop-and-go vehicles, which poses a greater threat for on-highway motorcyclists splitting lanes. Other drivers don’t anticipate a motorcycle riding between them and the vehicle next to them, which is why so many accidents are caused by lane-splitting. Leave enough space between your motorcycle and other vehicles so that they can see you.
Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Some motorcyclists have a need for speed and get a kick out of the exhilarating rush that comes with it. Speeding is a leading cause in motorcycle crashes. Exceeding the speed limit places riders at a higher risk to lose control and miss seeing road hazards or obstacles. Keeping close to legal speed limits will help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Motorcycle Collision with Fixed Objects
Motorcycles are more frequently involved in fatal crashes with fixed objects than any other vehicle. In 2013, 22 percent of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with fixed objects, compared to 18 percent for passenger cars. Motorcyclists must be intensely perceptive of their surroundings; anything from guard rails to road signs to construction cones can pose a serious threat.
Avoid Motorcycle Injuries
When driving a motorcycle, it’s extremely important to keep these things in mind. Obviously, certain dangers of the road such as other drivers’ poor actions are out of your control, but remember to be on high alert for hazards, fixed objects and the behaviors of other drivers on the road to protect your safety as much as you can.