Personal Injury Blog

What Are The Leading Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents?

Posted by Stephanie Lowman on Nov 15, 2012 11:36:00 AM

Causes Of Motorcycle AccidentsThis is a topic we revisit from time to time here at the Lowman Law blog because, as a motorcycle accident attorney, I (and our staff) are faced with the often tragic consequences of motorcycle wrecks.

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration. There were 103,000 motorcyclists injured in 2007 and another 5,154 killed. "Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 35 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash," the agency said in its Traffic Safety Report for 2007.

The great majority of motorcycle accidents occur as the result of collisions with cars and trucks. There are several types of these accidents, many of which are caused by driver negligence on the part of the truck or automobile driver. It’s very common to hear an operator say that he or she did not see the motorcycle:

  1. Rear-end collisions
  2. Sudden braking vehicle ahead
  3. Intersection collisions
  4. Car doors opening
  5. Driveway accidents

These are but a few of the types of collision-based motorcycle wrecks that happen. It may seem unfair, but as a biker or a motorcycle enthusiast, it’s often on you to raise awareness of motorcycle safety and to make people more aware of your presence on the road.

The motorcycle accident attorneys here at Lowman understand that this is a full-time occupation, so we’re committed to helping raise awareness of motorcycle safety issues. One accident is one too many.

Other Factors That Contribute To Motorcycle Accidents

  • You may be familiar with The Hurt Report. It’s a very famous study done independently and has been universally recognized as essential reading for those concerned with motorcycle safety issues. Commissioned by the University of Southern California, researcher Harry Hurt found that "the failure of motorists to detect and recognize" motorcycles was a major cause of accidents."  The driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision," the report stated. The report also noted that inattention to driving by motorcyclists also was a factor in accidents.
  • Alcohol is another major factor. Motorcyclists who drink alcohol then drive are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than automobile drivers, the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration said. In 2007, 28 percent of motorcyclists who died had blood alcohol levels of .08 g/DL or higher, it said. The Hurt Report, which studied accidents in the Los Angeles area, found that alcohol was a factor in almost half of the accidents.
  • Stationary objects are often influencing factors in motorcycle accidents. If you were injured by colliding with a sign post, a road cone that caused you to crash or other similar object, you should consult with a savvy, experienced motorcycle accident attorney.

Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents

Based on the findings of these two studies, motorcyclists need to pay attention when they're riding. They further should avoid using alcohol before climbing on their bike. Motorcyclists should be thoroughly familiar with their bike, as the Hurt Report found a high rate of accidents among riders who had been using a bike less than five months. The transportation safety board suggests riders take an education course to familiarize themselves with motorcycle rules and regulations. Though many states do not require helmets, both studies said wearing helmets reduces the severity of head injuries, and may even save a rider's life.

If you’ve been injured and feel you have a case, contact a motorcycle accident attorney here at Lowman Law Firm. We are a caring, small town firm that keeps our client’s best interest in mind – our clients always come first.

And as opposed to the coldness you’ll often experience at larger law firms in more populated cities, Lowman Law Firm, located in Brooksville, Florida, maintains a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Our clients’ comfort and lowered stress level is important to us. You can always rest easy knowing, though, that we will fight hard for you.

Other notable findings in the Hurt report (quoted below) were:

  • 75% of accidents were found to involve a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle, while the remaining 25% of accidents were single motorcycle accidents.
  • "In the single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slide-out and fall due to over braking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering."
  • "Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement" and "injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size."
  • In the multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
  • The report's additional findings show that the wearing of appropriate gear, specifically, helmets and durable garment, mitigates crash injuries substantially.
  • "Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat" and "Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents."
  • "The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents... Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps-on in daylight and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets."

Has A Loved-One Died As The Result Of A Motorcycle Accident?

If a family member passed away as the result of a motorcycle accident, you should consult with an experienced attorney. While it may seem crass to some that people try to seek financial recompense for their loved one’s death, there are stark financial realities for doing so, particularly if the deceased was the main breadwinner of the family.

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Topics: motorcycle accident, motorcycle safety