According to the Insurance Information Institute, 4,976 people died as a result of motorcycle crashes in 2015. In addition, 88,000 others were injured. These alarming statistics mean that bikers are nearly 30 times more likely to be killed in a crash than car occupants.
Though the causes of motorcycle accidents vary, many of them are preventable. In this article, we will examine the most common causes of motorcycle crashes on the roads today. By understanding these causes, you will learn how to avoid many common causes of accidents and dangers on the roads today.
1. Alcohol consumption
A staggering 27 percent of bikers involved in fatal motorcycle crashes were considered legally drunk (a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.08 percent). Whether you are behind the wheel of a car or riding your motorcycle, drinking while on the road is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Also, remember that dehydration and lack of food can play a role in alcohol content levels. The warning is to wait one hour per drink before driving, but if you are dehydrated or hungry, you should wait even longer.
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Speeding is one of the most easily avoidable motorcycle accident causes. 33 percent of bikers killed in motorcycle crashes were not obeying the speed limit. This represents one of the most easily avoidable crash causes. When you are on a wide, open road, you can be tempted to exceed the normal speed. But remember, speeding puts you at a much greater risk of dying in a crash. In addition, speeding often results in high fines, points on your license, and even the loss of a license. It’s simply not worth the rush!
3. Riding Without a License
Believe it or not, 27 percent of bikers killed in motorcycle wrecks did not have a valid license. Although the lack of license did not cause the crash, bikers who are not licensed may not have completed a motorcycle safety course. In addition, they have not demonstrated their ability to ride without endangering themselves and others. The simple answer: if you’re thinking about riding a motorcycle without a license – don’t! Most states have a simple motorcycle license application process that allows prospective bikers to quickly get on their ride- legally!
4. Left Turn Crashes
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These crashes occur when car drivers are making a left turn and do not see the motorcyclist. The small size of the bike makes visibility a problem, and many motorists fail to properly check their surroundings before turning. Whatever the cause, bikers should proceed through intersections carefully, and never attempt to overtake a car driving through an intersection. Also, pay attention to the drivers around you. Are they watching carefully, or are they distracted with their cell phones, children in the car, or eating? Try to avoid distracted drivers as much as possible.
5. Lane Splitting
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Whether or not you agree with lane splitting, it is known that it does come with some risks. Lane splitting means that the biker drives between two lanes of traffic that are stopped or moving slowly. Motorists are part of the problem here, as well, as they do not expect to have a biker sharing the lane with them. Also, in these scenarios, bikes are closer to the vehicles they are passing, and lack an escape route in case either car tries to maneuver towards them. Even in states where it is legal, bikers should use extreme caution when lane splitting.
6. Road Hazards
One motorcycle accident cause that we all must deal with is road hazards. Oily substances, potholes, debris flying from trucks, poor pavement conditions, gravel roads, and wet road surfaces all contribute to crashes. Scan the roadway ahead and check for these potential hazards so you can avoid them. Also, avoid riding your bike during the first few minutes of a rain shower. Rain stirs up oil, dirt, and debris on the surface of the road, and the initial moments of rain can make for very slick surfaces. If you are riding in heavy traffic and cannot see far ahead, watch the movement of the vehicles. Often, it’s easy to detect bumps in the road and potholes by the jerks in motion of the vehicles around you. Also note that most drivers will swerve to avoid large objects in the road.
7. Failing to Notice Fixed Objects
Bikers striking fixed objects resulted in 25 percent of deaths from crashes. When a motorcycle strikes a barrier, tree, or sign, the biker is usually thrown off the bike. The force of the throw and resulting hard landing often ends with head injuries, broken bones, and even death. Be very aware of your surroundings when you are on a bike, and keep an escape route in mind at all times. What might be just a fender bender for a cager could be a fatal crash for a biker.
8. Cornering Too Fast
If you are riding an unfamiliar road, watch carefully for signs of upcoming twists and turns. If you are approaching a corner, slow down! If you are entering the corner too fast, the best thing to do is to try and let your bike guide you through. Don’t go for the brakes or throttle- just allow yourself to lean and ride it out. In many cases, the bike is capable of making it through.
9. A Car Cuts You Off
Most cagers are woefully unaware of bikers on the road. Be careful to avoid the blind spots of the drivers around you, and allow ample distance between yourself and the vehicles on the road. Make sure you have a safe escape route in case a driver starts to veer your way.
These 9 common causes of motorcycle crashes are useful to help bikers ride defensively. Remember that many crashes are avoidable. No matter the reason for your motorcycle crash, if you are involved in a motorcycle crash, even if you think you may be to blame, contact an experienced motorcycle crash lawyer at Kass & Moses today. Ride safe!