What is the Primary Cause of Motorcycle Crashes?

What is the Primary Cause of Motorcycle Crashes?

Motorcycle crashes, primarily caused by human factors, are a serious concern. Statistics show a higher risk of fatalities and severe injuries compared to other types of vehicular accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that motorcycles accounted for 14% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2019, despite motorcycles representing only about 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States.

Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers offers several decades of experience helping victims of motorcycle accidents. This simple but critical philosophy guides our practice: Trust Guss. Your well-being is at the heart of everything we do, so when the chaos of a motorcycle accident seems overwhelming, you can Trust Guss to guide you through the entire process.

The Primary Cause of Motorcycle Crashes: Human Factors

Rider Inexperience

Inexperience can significantly affect your ability to react to sudden changes on the road. If you haven't had much time riding, you might not be as prepared to deal with challenging traffic or bad weather. This is why taking training courses is crucial: the numbers tell us that riders without formal training are more likely to be involved in crashes.

Impaired Riding

Motorcycle riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a significant issue that compromises your reaction time, judgment, and overall ability to ride safely. Impaired riding is not just illegal; it can be fatal. Remember, even over-the-counter medication can impair your driving ability.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

Speeding is a common factor in motorcycle crashes, as higher speeds give you less time to notice and react to obstacles or road conditions. Reckless behaviors such as weaving through traffic heighten the risk of crashes. It's crucial to be aware that the faster you ride, the harder it is to control your motorcycle and the more severe a potential crash can become.

Environmental Conditions

Weather Hazards

When you're riding a motorcycle:

  • Rain can decrease your tire grip on the road, leading to slipping or hydroplaning
  • Fog might reduce visibility, increasing the chance of accidents due to unseen obstacles
  • Heavy winds can cause instability, especially for lighter bikes or during high-speed travel
  • Temperature extremes can affect rider performance due to discomfort and motorcycle functionality

Poor Road Maintenance

Even the most skilled motorcyclists can be caught off guard by bad road conditions, making their riding experience much more challenging:

  • Potholes and uneven surfaces may lead to loss of control or sudden jolts affecting balance
  • Riding over slick surfaces, like oil spills or road paint, can be as hazardous as riding in inclement weather and increase slipping incidents
  • When road signs are not enough to warn you about upcoming changes or obstacles, it doesn't give you enough time to react

Vehicle Performance Issues

  • Tire Blowouts: A tire blowout can happen unexpectedly, causing you to lose control. Regular tire inspection is essential to identify wear and tear and incorrect pressure levels.
  • Brake Failures: Faulty brakes reduce your ability to stop effectively. Ensure your brake system is routinely checked for fluid leaks and pad deterioration.
  • Stability Problems: Some motorcycles have inherent design issues that affect stability. Researching your motorcycle's design for high-speed wobble incidents and center of gravity concerns is essential.
  • Lighting and Visibility: Poor motorcycle lighting design can compromise visibility. Be aware of inadequate headlight strength and ineffective turn signal placement.

Traffic Scenarios

These complexities often involve how one interacts with other vehicles and the road.

Intersections and Merging Lanes

Intersections are a familiar spot for motorcycle crashes. As a motorcyclist, it's often harder for car drivers to see you, especially when making left turns. This lack of visibility and split-second decision-making can lead to accidents. When merging into a lane, the mix of high speeds and close distances increases your risk of being in a blind spot, which can lead to side-swipe incidents.

Here are our top tips for intersections and merging:

  • Make sure you're visible with reflective gear or daytime running lights
  • Reduce speed and approach intersections and merging points with caution
  • Be aware of blind spots and avoid them when possible

Rear-End Collisions

In rear-end collisions, motorcycles are at a higher risk because they are smaller and less protective than cars. If a vehicle ahead suddenly stops, you might not be able to brake in time, causing a crash.

To avoid rear-end collisions:

  • Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you
  • Use both brakes for the best stopping power
  • Stay alert to traffic patterns that could indicate sudden stops

How to Minimize the Chances of a Motorcycle Crash

Safety gear plays a crucial role in minimizing injuries during motorcycle crashes. Your choice of protection can significantly affect the outcome of an accident.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Importance of Helmet Use: Helmets are 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries. A full-face helmet offers the most protection by covering your entire face and jaw area.
  • Choosing the Right Helmet: Ensure your helmet fits snugly; a loose helmet can come off in a crash. Look for DOT, ECE, or Snell certification, which signifies rigorous safety testing.
  • Enhancing Visibility: Wear jackets or helmets in high-visibility colors like neon yellow or orange. Use reflective tape or decals on your clothing and bike to be seen at night.
  • Choosing Protective Clothing: Wear abrasion-resistant materials like leather or reinforced synthetic fabrics. Look for clothing with built-in armor in high-impact areas such as knees, elbows, and shoulders.

If you're in a motorcycle crash, it's essential to understand your legal options. Start by consulting with a personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents. They can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected.

What to Do

  • Call the police right away to report the accident.
  • Take pictures of the scene and your injuries, and get statements from witnesses
  • Get medical help, even for minor injuries

Filing a Claim

  • Tell your insurance company about the crash
  • If another driver caused the crash, file a claim with their insurance
  • Be aware of your state’s time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit
  • Negligence lawsuit, if someone else's carelessness caused the crash
  • Product liability, if a problem with your motorcycle is what caused the accident
  • Wrongful death claim, if the collision caused death and you're a close relative or the person's estate representative

Potential Compensation

  • Medical costs for treatment and rehab
  • Loss of income if you can't work
  • Property damage to fix or replace your motorcycle
  • Pain and suffering for the emotional trauma

Trust Guss Injury Lawyers is Here to Help

If you've been involved in a motorcycle crash, the complexities of navigating your case can be overwhelming. At Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers, we understand the intricate details that motorcycle crash cases involve, which is why you can be confident when you Trust Guss.

We know each crash has unique circumstances, and it's our job to investigate every aspect of your case meticulously. Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of traffic laws and motorcyclist rights. We combine this knowledge with a strong compassion for our clients, ensuring you receive expert advice and support throughout the legal process.

But more importantly, your safety and well-being are paramount, and our goal is to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. While you recover, we will handle the legal burdens. Our track record speaks for itself, and we are resilient in pursuing justice for our clients.

Let us help you with your motorcycle crash case. Contact us today and take the first step toward a resolution, acknowledging your experience and providing the support you need.

Trust that everything will be okay. Trust Guss.