All vehicles have the potential to be dangerous, but motorcycles tend to be riskier than others. Some of the danger comes from the design of the motorcycles themselves, since they don’t offer as much protection to the rider as a car. Even more of the danger comes from behavior on the road, since motorcyclists often take excessive risks and drivers don’t know how to drive safely around them.
1. Head-on Collisions
Head-on collisions are among the most lethal accidents for motorcyclists. These accidents are almost always lethal to the motorcyclist because their bike can’t protect them from the impact. That means that accident prevention is vital, and all motorcyclists should wear high-visibility clothing while they are on their bike to improve the chance that other drivers see them coming.
- Most of these accidents occur when a car runs into the front of the motorcycle.
- Some of these accidents happen because the car driver was intoxicated or they swerved to avoid an obstacle and in the process hit the motorcycle.
- In most cases, head-on collisions happen because a car’s driver fails to see the motorcycle or because they were distracted.
2. Collisions with Fixed Objects
The United States Department of Transportation’s Hurt Report found that approximately one quarter of all motorcycle accidents happened when the motorcyclist ran into a fixed object. A variety of factors contribute to causing these accidents:
- The motorcyclist was intoxicated.
- The rider hit a fixed object while avoiding something else.
- Some hazards are unmarked and impossible for the rider to see, such as debris from construction projects. (In that scenario, other parties could be at fault and owe compensation to the rider for injuries and damage to the bike.)
3. Lane Splitting
Lane splitting, which is when a motorcyclist rides past cars along the edge of a lane, is popular, but it is also incredibly dangerous. It leaves very little room for either the car or the motorcycle to maneuver. It also puts the two vehicles in close proximity which surprises drivers who aren’t expecting it. That is a recipe for an accident, which is why some jurisdictions ban it, and others treat it as a unique scenario in the legal system. That makes legal help especially important for riders who are involved in an accident while lane splitting.
4. Left Turns
Cars often strike motorcycles while the cars are making left-hand turns. These accidents usually happen while the motorcycle is trying to pass the car or is riding through an intersection.
- This type of collision isn’t quite as dangerous as a head-on collision, but the fact that motorcycles lack protection for the rider means that fatalities are still common.
- The car’s driver is almost always considered to be at fault for the accident, unless the motorcyclist was also breaking one of the rules of the road. In that case, the legal situation gets significantly more complicated, and the motorcyclist might be found partially at fault for the accident.
5. Road Hazards
Road hazards, including potholes and slippery roads, are much more dangerous to motorcycles than they are to cars. These accidents tend to be less lethal than those involving other vehicles, especially for riders who wear protective gear, but they can still lead to serious injuries or death. Fortunately, skilled riders can greatly reduce their risk by watching these hazards and avoiding them. It does take some practice, but staying calm and observant will do a lot to keep a rider safe.
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt or killed while riding a motorcycle, talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer relies on about how you might be able to collect compensation for your losses. A lawsuit or claim can’t replace the loss of your loved one but it can help ease the financial stress for your family.