Motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in fatalities than other types of motor vehicle accidents. In some years, there have been 35 times more deaths in motorcycle accidents than in other types of motor vehicle accidents. Understanding the common causes of such accidents can help motorcyclists protect themselves and their passengers, believes this Vancouver motorcycle accident attorney.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are:
Approximately 56 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities involve collisions between motorcycles and other types of vehicles. 78 percent of these accidents are caused when a passenger vehicle hits the front of the motorcycle. Head-on collisions have a number of causes, including the passenger vehicle driver not seeing the motorcycle, distracted driving and speeding. Regardless of the cause, the results of head-on collisions are often disastrous.
42 percent of motorcycle accidents occur when a passenger vehicle makes a left-hand turn in front of a motorcycle driver. Often, the motorcycle is going through an intersection, passing the vehicle or attempting to overtake the vehicle. This Vancouver motorcycle accident attorney understands that this type of accident occurs because motorcycles are harder to spot than larger vehicles. In most situations, the vehicle that hits a motorcycle while making a left-hand turn is found at fault for the accident. There are some exceptions to this general rule, however. For example, if the motorcycle was speeding or in the wrong lane, its driver may be found partially at fault.
Lane splitting happens when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of stopped traffic. This usually happens in a traffic jam. This situation often causes accidents because drivers of passenger vehicles are not expecting such movement. Additionally, the vehicles are close together and less space is available for the vehicles to maneuver and avoid a collision.
Motorcyclist Speeding or Alcohol Use
About half of motorcycle accidents that involve only the motorcycle are caused by either speeding or alcohol use.
Collisions with Fixed Objects
25 percent of motorcyclist deaths are due to motorcycle collisions with fixed objects. In comparison, this cause results in 18 percent of passenger vehicle deaths. Due to the velocity at which the motorcycle is traveling, a collision with a fixed object is likely to result in a motorcyclist being thrown a substantial distance from the motorcycle.
Motorcyclists are also more vulnerable to road hazards than other drivers. Because motorcycles tend to be smaller and are generally less stable, road hazards present a greater risk of catastrophic injury to motorcycle riders than to the occupants of a passenger vehicle. Some potential hazards for motorcyclists include:
- Road debris
- Dead animals
- Slippery pavement due to oil spills or weather conditions
- Unexpected objects in the road
- Uneven lane heights
High Performance Motorcycles
High performance motorcycles pose an increased risk to motorcyclists than other types of motorcycles. Although they represent a relatively small portion of the total number of motorcycles on the road, high performance motorcycles account for a disproportionate number of motorcycle accidents.
High performance motorcycles include supersport motorcycles, which are built to race but can be modified to use on a highway. They often reach speeds up to 160 mph. High performance motorcycles also include sport motorcycles, which have a lower power to weight ratio when compared to supersport motorcycles.
The fatality rate for riders of supersport motorcycle accidents is four times greater than the fatality rate for other motorcycles, including touring motorcycles, cruisers or standards. The fatality rate for riders of sport motorcycles is two times greater than the rate for conventional motorcycles.
Because motorcyclists face a greater risk of fatalities or serious injuries than drivers of other vehicles, they must be diligent in following safe driving rules. If you ride a motorcycle, you can increase the likelihood of avoiding an accident by being aware of these common causes and taking proactive steps to reduce such risks. This may include keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, avoiding lane splitting, driving no faster than the speed limit and anticipating potential road hazards.
For more information on how to avoid motorcycle accidents or to find out what to do after an accident, contact a Vancouver motorcycle accident lawyer from The Law Offices of Loren Scott Etengoff at (360) 693-2919.