The majority of motorcycle riders abide by the rules and don’t take risks. The road is unforgiving when they have a lapse in judgment or they come up against the reckless driving of others.
Car and truck drivers are “used to” seeing 4-wheeled vehicles but not motorcycles. Drivers tend to misjudge motorcycle speed or fail to find them in their blind spot. Experienced motorcyclists often develop a defensive awareness to deal with the dangers around them.
Let’s look at the causes of motorcycle accidents—including those involving other vehicles and those that don’t.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says approximately 80 percent of motorcycle accidents don’t involve other vehicles. In fact, 30 percent of motorcycle accidents are not triggered by an initial collision with any object at all.
In these situations, the accident can be from bad road conditions, driver error, or a combination of those factors. Things like gravel or sand on the road, unexpected bends and turns, potholes, and going too fast fit into this category.
Impaired driving also factors into non-collision accidents. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reported 36 percent of motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents (both solo and multi-vehicle collisions) were driving under the influence of alcohol.
When looking at the data, more than 40 percent of the time the accident is the result of the other vehicle not yielding to the motorcycle. Vehicles making left-hand turns in front of a motorcycle account for most of these incidents.
It’s not surprising that riders bear the brunt of these multi-vehicle accidents. NHTSA compiled data about the initial point of impact in motorcycle collisions. Almost two-thirds were head-on. Left-side impact was the next most common (14 percent), rear collisions were next (12 percent), and right side impact with a bike was the least common (8 percent).
When it comes to avoiding accidents, riders have heard it all before but it bears repeating:
- Know your bike—it’s capabilities, limitations and responsiveness. Don’t get on the road until you do.
- Don’t drive impaired.
- Obey traffic laws.
- Expect dangerous road conditions and poor decisions by other drivers.
If you, or someone you love, have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our motorcycle accident attorneys for a free consultation. The Frickey Law Firm have been representing Colorado’s accident victims for more than 50 years.