10 Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
There are few road experiences as exhilarating as a motorcycle ride in the open air on winding scenic routes, but the same unenclosed, unencumbered format of a motorcycle also leaves riders vulnerable to serious and even catastrophic injuries in a crash. Motorcycles in the United States make up only three percent of total registered vehicles, yet 14% of traffic fatalities occur to motorcyclists. Even the most careful and experienced motorcyclist can experience an accident. Not only does a two-wheeled vehicle offer less stability than a car with four tires, but often motorists sharing the road with bikers don’t take the proper care to avoid causing accidents. Understanding how most motorcycle accidents in Oklahoma occur can help both motorcyclists and drivers on the road to avoid them. There are ten top causes of motorcycle accidents on roadways in the United States.
Cars Taking Left Turns
Compared to most vehicles on the roads, motorcycles have a slim design that makes them more difficult for motorists to detect or quickly recognize in traffic. It’s also harder to accurately judge a motorcycle’s speed. Nowhere is this as evident as in left-turn accidents which make up almost half of all traffic accidents involving motorcycles and full-sized vehicles.
When a driver prepares to make a left turn, they’re typically focusing on traffic approaching from the right. Even if they look to the left, careless motorists may fail to recognize a motorcycle approaching from the left or accurately judge its speed, resulting in a collision in the intersection.
Motorist Distracted Driving
Distracted driving accidents have been on the rise in the past decade, as more and more of American’s lives depend on our cell phones. When distracted drivers share the roadway with motorcycles, their failure to remain alert and vigilant often results in devastating accidents with motorcyclists taking the worst of the impact.
Many motorcycle accidents result from drivers who fail to leave enough distance between their vehicle and a motorcycle directly in front of them in the lane. Neglecting to leave enough room to allow for stopping time should a motorcyclist come to a sudden stop causes serious accidents with grave injuries to motorcyclists.
Car Door Accidents
A substantial number of motorcycle accidents occur due to motorists who park on the roadside and fail to check for approaching motorcycles before opening the driver’s side door into the path of an approaching motorcycle. While poor visibility in inclement weather conditions can cause a driver to fail to see an approaching motorcycle before opening their door, often this accident happens due to driver negligence or illegal roadside parking or double-parking.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Drivers owe a duty of care to remain vigilant to the presence of motorcyclists on the road, including when changing lanes. Because motorcycles are smaller and have a more slim design than full-sized vehicles, they are more difficult to see in a vehicle’s blind spot. Drivers making unsafe lane changes cause devastating accidents when they cause a sideswipe accident with a motorcycle.
Many motorcycle accidents directly result from excessive speeds on the part of both motorcyclists and drivers. When a driver speeds, they may be unable to come to a stop in time to avoid a slowed or stopped motorcycle. Motorcyclists who exceed the speed limit place themselves at increased risk of accidents, especially when taking curves or making turns.
Lane splitting is the practice of driving a motorcycle between lanes of traffic to bypass slowed or stopped traffic on multi-lane highways. When an accident occurs due to lane splitting, motorcyclists are at a high risk of serious injuries. Lane splitting is illegal in all states except California.
Poor Road Conditions
Motorcycles are less stable than full-sized vehicles, leaving them more likely to experience accidents due to poor road conditions. Potholes, lawn clippings, and other natural debris in the road, construction debris, or cracked road surfaces can cause accidents to motorcyclists.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances significantly reduces cognition, coordination, and alertness. When an intoxicated driver shares the roadway with motorcyclists, poor reaction times combined with a decreased ability to recognize and react to motorcycles on the roadway result in serious accidents. Similarly, intoxicated motorcyclists put themselves and others at a greatly increased risk of an accident.
Motorcycles require unique skills and abilities to operate safely. Many motorcycle accidents result from inexperienced motorcyclists who haven’t yet developed the confidence to successfully operate their motorcycles in all traffic, road, and weather conditions.
Some individuals will seek assistance and legal guidance by contacting an Oklahoma personal injury attorney for support and advice. These professionals offer valuable help to those navigating through personal injury cases, such as motorcycle accidents, in the state.