When a relatively unprotected motorcycle collides with a passenger vehicle or a commercial truck or bus, it is very likely that the motorcyclist is going to be much more severely injured than the passengers in the other vehicle. While the driver and passengers in a vehicle have seat belts, air bags and are surrounded by steel, the motorcyclist has only his helmet and perhaps protective clothing. Per vehicle miles traveled the motorcyclist is 36 times more likely to die in a collision than the driver of a vehicle. Why do the majority of motorcycle accidents occur?
Perhaps the number one reason lies in the fact that because of the much smaller size of the motorcycle other drivers simply don’t see them. Intersections are particularly dangerous areas for motorcyclists, and, in fact over 68% off all motorcycle accidents occur in intersections. The other driver may not see the oncoming motorcyclist and turn in front of them or could change lanes without seeing the motorcyclist in the next lane. Other accidents caused by poor visual recognition occur when a driver is backing from their driveway or a parking lot and don’t look sufficiently to avoid hitting the motorcyclist who is driving by.
Many motorcycle accidents are the result of inexperience on the part of the driver. A motorcycle requires significantly more experience and coordination to operate than a car, and since over 90% of all motorcyclists are self-taught, this tells you how many of them may lack the necessary experience. An inexperienced driver can take a curve too fast, brake too quickly or not drive appropriately for weather or road hazards. Motorcycle riders have been known to take a curve too quickly resulting in the motorcycle falling over and sliding, potentially crashing into another car or a fixed object.
Those things which may only be minor annoyances for the drivers of vehicles such as a pothole in the road can lead to a fatal accident for a motorcyclist. In a car a hole in the road is just a bump, but on a motorcycle it can cause the rider to flip over, into traffic or a fixed object. In the same vein, oil slicks, ruts in the road, uneven pavement when the road is being repaired, puddles of water after a rain, or tree limbs and other debris can all cause a motorcyclist to lose control of his vehicle, resulting in a serious accident. Animals in the road can also lead to fatalities or serious injuries. When a car hits a deer it usually results only in a big repair bill, but when a motorcyclist hits a deer the consequences can be deadly.
Accidents happen nearly every day because of distracted drivers. This could happen on the part of the motorcyclist or the automobile driver, but distraction can and does cause many accidents. Today’s society takes great pride in their multi-tasking abilities, but when behind the wheel of a car those distractions can cause accidents. Drivers who talk on their phone, text, fiddle with the radio, talk to passengers in the vehicle, eat, turn around to scold the children in the back seat, look at what’s happening on the side of the road or even daydream are putting themselves and others at risk.
Surprisingly, speed is rarely a factor on the part of the motorcyclist for collisions. Our image of the “typical” motorcyclist is that they fly down the highway fast and free. The median crash speed of those on motorcycles is actually 21.5 mph, so speed rarely factors into the equation. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident it is imperative that you contact an experienced motorcycle attorney who will fight aggressively for your rights and work hard to protect your future.
If you were seriously injured in an accident because of another person’s negligence, contact Indiana motorcycle accident attorney James F. Ludlow to discuss your case. Call me toll-free at (877) 897-9466 or submit the simple form on the Contact Us page.