For some people, riding a motorcycle is no more than an economical form of transportation. But for most riders it’s a way of life. Regardless of the reason for riding, motorcyclists have long complained that they are frequently endangered by the poor driving habits exhibited by so many car and truck drivers.
Automobile drivers, on the other hand, contend that motorcycle drivers are the problem – weaving in and out of traffic, driving too fast for conditions, and acting reckless in general.
So, who is right? Who is really to blame for motorcycle accidents? We’ll attempt to get to the bottom of that issue in this article.
Who Is to Blame for Accidents Involving Motorcycles and Automobiles?
While it turns out that both groups can be blamed for plenty of accidents, there is evidence that automobile drivers are more often to blame. For example, a study performed by the Florida Department of Transportation (PDF) determined that, in Florida accidents involving an automobile and a motorcycle, the automobile driver was at fault 60 percent of the time. This figure is based upon findings by the South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research, which analyzed 10 years’ worth of motorcycle crash data.
How Do Automobiles Cause Motorcycle Accidents?
A number of actions by automobile drivers are frequently cited as causes for accidents with motorcycles. We will discuss several below.
- Dangerous left turns by automobiles – Many accidents are caused when an automobile turns left in front of a motorcycle that is going straight and has the right of way. Sometimes the automobile driver doesn’t see the motorcycle, or misjudges its speed.
- Pulling in front of a motorcycle – Sometimes, a car seeking to go the same direction as the motorcycle pulls out in front of it and causes a crash. As with left turns, the automobile driver may not have seen the motorcycle or may have misjudged the bike’s speed. Unfortunately, people sometimes also pull out simply because they do not fear the motorcycle the way they would fear an oncoming truck or auto.
- A car changes lanes into a motorcycle – On roads with multiple lanes traveling in the same direction, cars sometimes move into the motorcycle’s lane without ever seeing the motorcycle.
- The motorcycle is hit from behind – Just as with automobiles, motorcycles may simply be struck from behind when the automobile driver is not being careful or paying adequate attention.
The Dangers of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders are not protected inside a compartment like occupants in an automobile. Therefore, motorcyclists and their passengers are at much greater risk of serious injury and death. In 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists died in crashes, and many more were injured.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2017, motorcycle deaths were almost 27 times that of automobile deaths when calculated on a “per mile traveled” basis.
It’s really not surprising to learn that automobile drivers cause many motorcycle accidents. We have discussed the issue of distracted driving on many occasions. Add to that the fact that motorcycles are harder to see and that the riders have less protection, and you have the makings of real danger for motorcycle riders.
If you ride a motorcycle, take steps to protect yourself. Take safety courses, always wear a helmet, drive defensively, and never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Call with Questions
No matter how safely you ride, the negligence of others can cause an accident. If you have been harmed in a motorcycle accident, please feel free to call the experienced Oregon personal injury attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield. We will answer all of your questions in a free consultation. And if you need further assistance, we will be here to provide it. We believe that keeping society safe for everyone requires that those who act wrongfully and cause harm must be held accountable under the law.