Motorcycle crashes account for 18% of all occupant fatalities and 4% of all injuries to vehicle occupants. In 2020, there were 5,579 motorcycle riders killed in fatal traffic accidents, the highest number since 1975. Motorcycle accidents accounted for 14% of all traffic deaths, despite motorcycles making up only 3% of registered vehicles.
- Not wearing a helmet was a major risk factor, with 2,143 fatalities occurring when riders were not helmeted.
- Speeding was involved in 34% of fatal motorcycle accidents, and alcohol was a factor in 27% of deaths.
- Alcohol-impaired motorcycle crashes increase at night, and the most common time for motorcycle fatalities on weekends is 6pm-9pm, while weekdays see more accidents between 3pm-6pm .
Motorcycle accidents have become a growing concern on our roads today. While motorcycles offer a thrilling sense of freedom, they also come with inherent risks that can result in serious accidents. In order to effectively prevent these accidents and improve road safety, it is crucial to understand the causes behind them.
1. Speeding and Reckless Driving
One of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents is reckless driving. Motorcyclists who exceed the speed limit and engage in reckless behaviors put themselves and others at great risk. Speeding not only reduces the rider’s ability to react to sudden obstacles or hazards, but it also increases the severity of injuries in the event of a collision. Abrupt lane changes, failure to obey traffic laws, and weaving in and out of traffic are all reckless driving behaviors that can contribute to devastating accidents. It is essential for motorcyclists to prioritize responsible and law-abiding driving practices to prevent unnecessary accidents.
2. Distracted Driving and Phone Use
In today’s digital age, distracted driving has become a significant problem on our roads. Many drivers are guilty of using their phones while behind the wheel, which diverts their attention from the road and increases the likelihood of accidents. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of distracted driving, as they are less visible than larger vehicles and require constant vigilance from other drivers. The use of mobile devices while operating a motorcycle is not only illegal but also highly dangerous. By eliminating distractions and focusing on the road, both motorcyclists and drivers can contribute to a safer driving environment.
3. Failure to Yield Right of Way
Another common cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of other drivers to yield the right of way. Many drivers fail to properly judge the speed and distance of motorcycles, leading to collisions at intersections or when changing lanes. This lack of awareness can have catastrophic consequences for motorcyclists who are simply trying to navigate through traffic safely. Education and awareness campaigns aimed at promoting the importance of yielding to motorcycles can help prevent these accidents and foster a culture of mutual respect on the roads.
4. Lane Splitting and Improper Lane Changing
Lane splitting, the practice of riding between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic, is a controversial issue that contributes to motorcycle accidents. While legal in some jurisdictions, it requires careful maneuvering and judgment on the part of the rider. Improper lane changing by drivers who fail to check their blind spots or signal their intentions can also lead to dangerous situations for motorcyclists. Clear guidelines and regulations regarding lane splitting, coupled with increased awareness among all road users, are necessary to prevent accidents resulting from these behaviors.
5. Drunk Driving and Impaired Riding
Alcohol and drug use play a significant role in motorcycle accidents. Operating a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs motor skills, reaction time, and judgment, making it a deadly combination. Impaired motorcyclists are more likely to lose control, underestimate risks, and engage in reckless behavior, increasing the chances of accidents. Strict enforcement of laws against drunk driving and increased education on the dangers of impaired riding are essential in saving lives and reducing motorcycle accidents.
6. Poor Road Conditions and Weather
The condition of the road and adverse weather conditions can pose significant risks to motorcyclists. Potholes, debris, and uneven road surfaces can cause a motorcyclist to lose control and crash. Slippery roads due to rain, snow, or ice further increase the chances of accidents. Municipalities and transportation authorities must prioritize regular road maintenance and repair to ensure safe conditions for all road users. Additionally, motorcyclists should exercise caution when riding in adverse weather conditions and adjust their speed and riding style accordingly.
7. Lack of Visibility and Blind Spots
Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than other vehicles, making them more susceptible to accidents caused by the lack of visibility. Drivers often fail to see motorcycles, especially in blind spots, resulting in collisions when changing lanes or making turns. Increasing awareness among drivers about sharing the road with motorcycles and the importance of checking blind spots can significantly reduce accidents. Motorcyclists can also take proactive steps to enhance their visibility, such as wearing reflective gear and using headlights during the day.
It’s essential for motorcyclists to stay vigilant, adapt to changing road conditions, and maintain a safe distance from potential hazards to minimize the risk of accidents.
Types of Road Hazards Causing Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists face several common road dangers that can lead to accidents and injuries. These hazards include:
- Railroad Crossings: Uneven tracks at railroad crossings can be hazardous for motorcyclists, causing loss of control and accidents.
- Edge Breaks Between Lanes: Sudden drops or raised edges between lanes can be treacherous, especially at high speeds, leading to accidents when riders change lanes or lose balance.
- Expansion Joints/Bridge Joints: These joints can create a jarring experience for motorcyclists, potentially causing them to lose control or experience a loss of traction.
- Gravel: Loose gravel on the road can reduce traction and stability, making it more challenging for riders to maintain control of their motorcycles.
- Wet Surfaces: Rain or other wet conditions can make roads slippery, increasing the risk of skidding or hydroplaning, particularly if the rider’s tires are not in optimal condition.
- Debris in the Roadway: Debris like rocks, tree branches, or discarded items can pose a significant risk, causing riders to swerve or lose balance.
- Uneven Road Surfaces: Roads with potholes, uneven pavement, or road joints can jolt riders and potentially lead to loss of control.
- Oil, Sand, Slick Surfaces: Slippery substances on the road, such as oil spills or sand, can reduce traction, making it difficult for motorcyclists to maneuver safely.
Being aware of these common road hazards is essential for motorcyclists. Taking precautions, maintaining proper riding skills, and wearing appropriate safety gear can help mitigate these risks and enhance road safety for riders.
Importance of Motorcycle Safety and Prevention Measures
Understanding the causes of motorcycle accidents is crucial for improving road safety and preventing unnecessary injuries and fatalities. By promoting safe driving practices, increasing awareness among drivers about sharing the road with motorcycles, and improving road conditions, we can collectively make a significant impact on reducing motorcycle accidents. Education campaigns targeting both motorcyclists and other road users, stricter enforcement of traffic laws, and investments in road infrastructure are all vital components of a comprehensive approach to motorcycle safety.
How a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help with Insurance Claims?
Dealing with insurance companies after a motorcycle accident can be challenging. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize claim payouts, and they may use various tactics to achieve this. Here’s how a motorcycle accident lawyer can help with your insurance claim:
- Communicating with Insurance Adjusters
Your lawyer will handle all communication with insurance adjusters, ensuring that your rights are protected. They will know how to navigate the insurance process, answer questions, and provide the necessary documentation to support your claim. By having a lawyer by your side, you can avoid making statements that could harm your case.
- Building a Strong Claim
A motorcycle accident lawyer will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with accident reconstruction experts to build a strong claim. They will compile medical records, bills, and other documentation to substantiate your injuries and damages. By presenting a well-documented claim, your lawyer can negotiate for fair compensation.
- Negotiating for Fair Settlement
Insurance companies often make low settlement offers to accident victims in the hopes of minimizing their payouts. Your lawyer will have experience negotiating with insurance adjusters and will know how to counter their tactics. They will advocate for your interests and fight for fair compensation that considers all your losses and damages.
- Pursuing Legal Action if Necessary
If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your motorcycle accident lawyer will be prepared to take your case to court. They will file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you throughout the litigation process. Having a lawyer with trial experience sends a strong message to insurance companies and can lead to a more favorable settlement offer.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with Joel A. Gordon and Associates Now!
Seeking legal advice is crucial after a motorcycle accident. Consult with a Houston motorcycle accident lawyer at Joel A. Gordon and Associates who specializes in these types of cases. Our team will evaluate the merits of your case, explain your legal options, and guide you through the entire process. Since the state of Texas allows a very limited time frame in which to initiate a claim, it is urgent that you contact us as soon as possible so we can learn all the details of your situation.