Motorcycle riders often wonder about the most common type of motorcycle accident, so they can take steps to minimize their risks of being in one. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most motorcycle accidents cause injury or death to the motorcyclist. Motorcyclists are not protected from the elements and have no protection against a negligent driver, making the chances of injury extremely high if something goes wrong on the road.
Below, the personal injury attorneys at TonaLaw describe several of the most common types of motorcycle accidents. We also list some steps you can take to minimize your chances of getting in an accident.
You can be a cautious motorcyclist who takes every step to minimize risks and still get in an accident. If someone caused your motorcycle accident, you are not to blame. Contact us today to see how we can fight for your rights and get you the compensation you need for your recovery.
The Most Common Motorcycle Accident: Single Vehicle Accident
According to the NHTSA, the most common type of motorcycle accident is a single-vehicle accident. A single-vehicle accident is where only one vehicle is involved in the accident. This means that the most common type of motorcycle accident is one where the motorcycle is the only vehicle involved. One can attribute the prevalence of this kind of motorcycle accident to several different factors, including:
- Inexperienced motorcyclists–an inexperienced rider may not fully understand how to ride a motorcycle or may not appreciate the unique risks inherent to motorcycling;
- Riding under the influence–drunk riders accounted for 29% of motorcyclist fatalities in 2020;
- Challenging weather conditions–because a motorcycle lacks protection from the elements, riding in the wind, rain, snow, or other weather conditions can be hazardous;
- Unlicensed motorcyclists–a significant number of motorcyclist fatalities–approximately 30% according to one study by the NHTSA–involve unlicensed motorcyclists; and
- Poor road conditions–motorcyclists must be cautious about road conditions because something as small as a crack in the road can send them flying.
You can do several things to avoid the most common motorcycle accident. For example, taking a motorcycle safety course and lessons in a safe environment can help you become familiar with your bike and learn to minimize your risks on the road. Additionally, you can avoid riding in weather that may impair your ability to maneuver your bike. Plus, you should always follow traffic laws and never ride if you are tired or under the influence of any mind impairing substances including alcohol.
Other Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Although a single-vehicle accident is the most common motorcycle accident, riders should be aware of the other types of accidents. Many of the most common motorcycle accident types below involve another person’s negligence. Drivers are supposed to share the road with motorcyclists and be alert. However, they do not always follow these expectations.
Left-Turning Vehicle Accidents
Arguably, the most common type of motorcycle accident with a second vehicle involves a vehicle turning left. This can happen when a driver waiting to turn left scans the road only for the absence of other cars rather than the absence of motorcycles, bikes, or even pedestrians.
A motorcyclist cannot help it if a driver fails to see them. There are, however, ways you can minimize your risks. If you are approaching an intersection with a left-turning car, try to determine if the driver can see you. Look at the wheels to see if they’re turned. If you are in a break in traffic, think of ways to make yourself more visible to them or move to a more visible place on the road.
Another of the most common motorcycle accident types involves a car or other vehicle switching lanes without checking their mirrors or over their shoulders to see if the lane is open. Motorcycles are relatively small and can be more challenging for a driver to see. If the driver is not paying attention or is lazy and switches lanes without checking their blind spots over their shoulder, they’ll hit whatever is in that lane, including a motorcyclist.
If you are a rider, you can minimize this risk by trying to stay visible to the driver and maintain some distance between you and other cars on the road. However, if a driver fails to see you and switches lanes, causing a collision, the accident is their fault, not yours.
Intersection accidents are prevalent for trucks, cars, and motorcycles. An intersection accident can be caused by drivers who are:
- Running red lights,
- Failing to yield, or
- Disobeying traffic laws.
As a motorcyclist, be particularly alert when coming to intersections because danger could be lurking anywhere.
A rear-end collision is a very common type of accident. However, where a rear-end collision may cause light damage to a passenger vehicle, it could kill a motorcyclist. To minimize risk as a motorcyclist, try to pull in front of motor vehicles already stopped at a traffic light. They can offer you protection from a distracted driver. Also, be particularly aware when you’re stopped at a light during bad weather or at night.
Accidents Caused by Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is not solely a problem for motorcyclists. It’s an issue for all people who operate vehicles. According to the NHTSA, 37 people die due to accidents involving a drunk driver in the United States daily.
Motorcyclists represent a significant portion of drunk driving fatalities. For example, during the 2020 Labor Day weekend, the NHTSA’s data shows that 31% of motorcycle fatalities involved a drunk driver. As a motorcyclist, you should be aware of your surroundings, be alert when driving at night because that’s the most common time for a drunk driving accident, and of course, do not ride under the influence.
Distracted Driver Accidents
With the widespread use of smartphones, drivers are more distracted than ever, making a distracted driving accident one of the most common types of motorcycle accident. Distracted driving accidents killed 3,522 people in 2021, according to the NHTSA. When a driver checks a text message or uploads a post to social media while driving, they may not see a motorcyclist. This can have fatal consequences.
TonaLaw Can Help with a Motorcycle Accident Claim
As a responsible motorcyclist, you can take every step to minimize the risk of an accident and still have a terrible encounter with a negligent or reckless driver. Since the most common motorcycle accident results in a motorcycle rider’s injury, you’re likely wondering how to get compensation for your damages if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident. TonaLaw is here to help Long Island motorcyclists injured in accidents. We understand that a motorcyclist’s injuries may be significant, and, unfortunately, due to the no-fault insurance system in New York, compensation can be difficult to obtain. Fortunately, our attorneys fight hard so you can get the compensation you need to recover. Discover the TonaLaw difference. Contact us online or call 1-833-TONALAW for a consultation today.