Vacationing by motorcycle is a fun and enjoyable way to travel, particularly during the early autumn months of the year. Recreational drivers and passengers take their annual road trips during the fall because the weather can be so pleasant and compatible with the joy and freedom that leisure cycling provides.
Passenger vehicles are disproportionately responsible for motorcycle accidents
Research conducted at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation found that drivers operating passenger-style vehicles (cars, SUVs and trucks) are at fault for collisions with motorcycles 60 percent of the time. This is likely due to motorists’ anticipation bias towards larger vehicles. As a seasoned motorcycle crash lawyer in Indianapolis, I have learned that drivers often do not see motorcycles until it is too late.
Causes of motorcycle accidents
Of course, this does not relieve motorcyclists of their own responsibility for accidents. The same study showed that 50% of motorcycle fatalities involve only the motorcycle. The following is a list of some common causes of motorcycle accidents that come through our law firm:
- Road conditions ― It is as true for motorcyclists as it is for drivers of trucks and passenger vehicles: adjust your speed according to road conditions, particularly in higher elevations where weather and visibility change rapidly. But the weather is not the only road hazard to be mindful of. Watch for gravel in the road and reduce your speed as the engineered design requires.
- Drivers turning in front of motorcycles ― Research has shown that it may be harder to perceive the speed of an oncoming motorcycle than a larger vehicle, such as a passenger car, SUV, or truck. Be wary of slowed or stopped oncoming drivers (including other cyclists) that appear as if they may be making a turn in front of you. Prepare to take calm and evasive action.
- Cars that encroach into your lane ― When a motorist only uses their rear-view mirror to make a lane change, you and your motorbike could be the object of a collision between the two vehicles. Anticipate this in advance when you operate your motorbike on a dual lane roadway.
- Rear-end collisions ― According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6% of motorcycle accidents involve rear-end collisions. Keep a reasonable speed for traffic and weather conditions and try not to stop suddenly. When you are at a standstill, keep a watchful eye on creeping vehicles and rear traffic. Again, motorists may experience a depth perception and size bias relative to a motorcycle.
- Opening of doors ― Occasionally, an automobile driver or passenger will suddenly open their car door in front of a passing cyclist. Stay vigilant when overtaking stopped vehicles.
- Alcohol ― Unfortunately, nearly one-third of motorcycle operator fatalities are deemed alcohol-impaired. Most people know when they are impaired. Use this awareness to call a friend, have some coffee, and wait it out until you are rested and alert. Your life and the lives of your loved ones depend upon it.
Hire an attorney whose practice is limited to vehicular accidents and injuries
If you have been injured while riding a motorcycle due to another driver’s negligence, call me, Charlie Ward, at (317) 639-9501 for a free consultation. As an experienced motorcycle crash lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana, I would like to talk with you.