Did you know that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a collision than other motorists? Collisions involving motorcycles have been rising steadily at almost 10% each year. Unfortunately, most people assume that when a motorcycle is involved in a collision, it’s always the rider who is at fault. But this could not be further from the truth as nearly 2/3rds of all motorcycle collisions are caused by other motorists violating the smaller vehicle’s right-of-way.
The grim statistics of motorcycle collisions.
- – More than 80% of motorcycle collisions result in serious injuries or death of the rider; compare this with the 20% injury and fatality rate of regular car collisions.
- – Over 2,000 motorcyclists lose their lives in car collisions every year.
- – Motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to suffer from serious injuries when in a collision.
- – The majority of motorcycle collisions involving multiple vehicles occur at intersections.
- – Almost 98% of all motorcycle collisions occur in clear weather conditions.
- – It’s not cross country trips that pose the greatest risk for motorcyclists but short distance rides within the city.
Are you endangering the lives of the motorcyclists on the road?
In 98% of multiple vehicle collisions (a motorcycle and a car) motorcyclists suffer from some form of injury. Generally, such collisions involve:
- 1. Head on collisions: Nearly 80% of the time, the car strikes the motorcycle head-on. Unfortunately, such collisions also have the highest risk of fatality.
- 2. The deadly left-turns: Almost 42% of all collisions involving a motorcycle and a car occur when the motorist is turning left and fails to see the motorcycle in time. This usually happens when the motorcyclist is riding straight through the intersection, trying to overtake the larger vehicle or simply passing the car.
Apart from the lower visibility of the vehicle, surprise and driver expectation are two other factors that play a role in such collisions. Most motorists report that they were taken by surprise by the sudden appearance of the motorcycle and that by the time the smaller vehicle came into view, it was too late to react appropriately.
Another reason cited by drivers of larger vehicles is that they expected the motorcycle to pass through and clear the road but the rider was simply going too slow/fast. The problem here is that they are comparing or rather expecting a motorcyclist to maneuver the vehicle the way a motorist of a larger vehicle would.
What role are motorcyclists playing in these collisions?
- 1. Lane splitting: This is a common motorcycle maneuver but one that stumps most motorists. Often riders tend to take advantage of the smaller size of their bikes by driving in between two lanes of slow moving or stopped vehicles. This is dangerous because it brings the motorcycle in close proximity to larger vehicles and reduces the space available for maneuvering. Additionally, since motorists are not expecting this movement, there is an increased level of risk.
- 2. Alcohol and speed: Alcohol and speed play a role in 50% of single vehicle collisions involving a motorcycle. Motorcyclists do not have the protection of the steel casing afforded by cars. Therefore, such collisions often result in grievous injury or death.
- 3. Collisions involving a fixed object: Although collisions involving a fixed object rarely result in fatalities when a car is involved, the story is different, and often tragic, for motorcyclists. Over 25% of all fatal motorcycle collisions involve a collision between the vehicle and a fixed object.
Other factors that lead to motorcycle collisions.
- 1. Road and weather conditions: Needless to say, motorcycles are more likely to get into a collision due to bad weather or road conditions. Whether it’s potholes, wild animals, uneven lane height, slick pavement or any other irregularity, these conditions are bound to pose a greater threat to a motorcycle than a car.
- 2. Motorcycles not meant for regular roads: Super sport motorcycles, which are built for racing and are then modified for regular use, are lightweight but have more powerful engines. They can easily reach speeds as high as 160 mph. Greater speed and lower stability equate to a higher fatality rate when a collision occurs – almost 4 times higher than that of conventional motorcycles.
Other factors that lead to motorcycle collisions.
- 1. Get the required knowledge: Riding a motorcycle is very different not just from driving a car but also from riding other two wheelers like mopeds and motor scooters. Consider taking a motorcycle rider training course to get the knowledge and the experience you will need to take your motorcycle out for a spin. Although the regulations for motorcycle licensing vary among states, such a program will get you ready for both the written and the on-cycle tests that you will need to pass to get your license.
- 2. Practice will make you perfect: Unlike cars, different motorcycles can vary greatly in terms of the handling and responsiveness they need. Even if you are an experienced rider, take time to get accustomed to a new bike by operating it in a controlled area.
- 3. How you handle the bike will make all the difference: Before you take your motorcycle out in traffic, learn to handle the vehicle in various road and weather conditions. Also, understand the adjustments that you need to make when carrying a passenger or cargo.
- 4. A safe machine will contribute to your safety on the road: Without exception, before every motorcycle ride, check the brakes, tire condition and pressure, fluid levels, and lights, including the turn signal indicators.
- 5. The need for protective gear has not been exaggerated: Most motorcycle collision fatalities are caused by serious injuries to the head and chest. Helmets are almost 70% effective in preventing serious head injuries and nearly 30% effective in preventing fatal injuries.
- 6. Traffic rules are in place for your safety: Just because motorcycles offer greater maneuverability does not mean you should take undue risks by flouting traffic laws. Safety is as much the responsibility of motorcyclists as it is of other motorists. Be diligent about obeying speed limits, traffic lights and lane markings. Follow the pace of the traffic and maintain adequate distance between your bike and other vehicles.
- 7. Ride responsibly: Never be on the road if you are under the influence of any substance (alcohol, prescription medication or drugs) that impacts your alertness, focus and reaction time.
Take the pledge of motorcycle safety!
Here are two simple tips that will help you to contribute to the safety of motorcyclists in your city/area:
- 1. Awareness is the key: Given its smaller size, a motorcycle can appear farther and slower/faster than it actually is. Play it safe by assuming that the smaller vehicle is closer than it looks.
- 2. Keep an eye out for bikes: Motorcycles often seem to appear out of nowhere. In reality they tend to be obstructed by other vehicles. When changing lanes or making a turn, be extra careful and look for motorcycles around you.
Motorcycle collisions often result in fatalities and serious injuries. However, many motorcyclists fail to get just compensation simply because people harbor the stereotypical belief that motorcycle riders are reckless daredevils. Insurance companies, as expected, tend to use this misconception to their advantage when settling collision claims. If you are a motorcyclist who has suffered from injuries in an auto collision, you will need legal representation to combat the tactics of the insurance company. Contact us today and let our experienced attorneys help you pursue fair compensation.