Oklahoma drivers share the road with over 126,000 motorcyclists each year. Motorcycles aren’t involved in more accidents than cars or trucks, but their riders experience increased injury and fatality rates compared to their passenger vehicle counterparts. Motorcyclists don’t have the protection of a vehicle; therefore, crashes that are minor for a passenger vehicle are devastating on a motorcycle.
Fortunately, educating yourself about the causes of motorcycle crashes can help prevent them. Keep reading to learn more about how to stay safe on the road, no matter what you drive.
Motorists Don’t Anticipate Motorcycles on the Road
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is a passenger vehicle driver failing to see or yield to a motorcycle on the road and maneuvering into them. Motorcycles are small vehicles that are easy to miss, especially if you don’t drive expecting to encounter them on the road. Merging into a motorcycle, cutting them off, or sideswiping them can result in catastrophic injuries for the person or people on the bike.
Many car-motorcycle collisions are head-on. These crashes are usually fatal for the motorcyclist and are a result of negligent driving, such as driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
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Drunk Driving Causes Motorcycle Crashes
When it comes to driving impaired, motorists and motorcyclists share in the responsibility. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2015, 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than the legal limit of 0.08%, compared to 21% for cars and 20% for pickup trucks. Over 5,000 motorcycle riders are killed each year in alcohol-related crashes.
Lane Splitting on Motorcycles Is Dangerous
When traffic is at a stand-still, it can be tempting to slip between lanes of traffic on your motorcycle. Lane splitting is a dangerous practice that causes countless injuries to motorcyclists each year. Motorcyclists that drive between cars, with little room to navigate, create a bigger chance of a motorcycle-car collision.
Dangerous Road Conditions Lead to Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycles are smaller and lighter than cars. When they encounter adverse weather conditions or poorly maintained roads, their chances of a crash increase. This is because motorcycles don’t have the same amount of traction as cars. Water or ice on the road, rain, or even loose gravel can cause a motorcycle to lose control unexpectedly – even when the driver is maneuvering safely.
Negligent Driving Can Injure Motorcyclists
Simple collisions are one of the most common types of car-motorcycle accidents, and one of the most dangerous. Sudden stops that might result in a minor rear-end collision between two cars can be devastating for the motorcyclist. An impact from behind can send the cyclist flying over their windshield and cause great bodily harm. Some of the most common accidents occur when cars make a left turn into a motorcyclist who is proceeding safely and legally through the intersection. When drivers don’t double check their path and don’t anticipate a motorcycle on the road with them, the results can be deadly.
RELATED ARTICLE: Do You Know Oklahoma’s Motorcycle Laws?
Tips for Staying Safe on the Road
No matter how careful we are, preventing motorcycle accidents isn’t always possible. However, there are steps drivers and bikers alike can take to reduce the possibility of injury on the road.
- Follow the law. No matter what you drive (or ride), everyone on the road will be safer when you follow the law. Driving a safe and legal speed, staying in your lane, and changing lanes safely are important ways to stay safe on the road.
- Expect motorcycles around you and look out for them. One of the major underlying factors in motorcycle crashes is drivers not expecting motorcycles in the space around them. Always double-check your surroundings for vehicles that are smaller than yours. You could save a life.
Atkins & Markoff: Fighting for Injured Motorcyclists in Oklahoma
At Atkins & Markoff, we’re proud to represent those who need help putting their lives back together after a devastating motorcycle crash. We believe motorcycles have a fair right to drive safely on the road — just like any car, truck, or big rig.
Burton, J. (2017, April 25). The number of motorcycles by state. World Atlas. Retrieved from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/who-rides-the-most-motorcycles-in-the-us.html
Facts + Statistics: Motorcycle crashes. Insurance Information Institute. Retrieved from https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-motorcycle-crashes
Motorcycle Safety. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.