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Knowing how motorcycle crashes happen can keep you safe

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2018 | Motorcycle Accidents

The physics of a motorcycle accident are unique. Motorcycle accidents are often more violent, and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration says that over 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents result in death or serious injury,

One of the main reasons that motorcycle accidents can lead to such significant injuries is the fact that motorcycle riders do not have the protection of a vehicle such as roofs, side beams, and bumpers and often involves the rider being thrown from their vehicle onto the road or into objects. Additionally, motorcycle riders do not have the benefit of the safety features that come standard on many vehicles such as seatbelts, airbags, and impact absorbing zones. 

Common causes of motorcycle accidents

An estimated 40% of all motorcycle accidents were listed as single-vehicle crashes with a number of causes and a range of injuries. While there are many causes of motorcycle accidents, some of the most common causes can be attributed to four primary reasons.

Failure to appreciate the limitations of the bike

A motorcycle has certain limitations in both its design and safety to provide it with the maneuverability it needs to function how it is supposed to. Unfortunately, many drivers, especially those new to riding a motorcycle, may drive more aggressively as though they were on the inside of a vehicle. Due to their size and lack of visibility when compared to other larger vehicles, motorcycle riders must drive more defensively than car and truck drivers, exercising special caution when driving through intersections. The NHTSA reports that one-third of all multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents occur because a vehicle has turned in the path of a motorcycle at an intersection.

Riding on poor road conditions

Poor road conditions due to weather, construction, or improper maintenance are a significant cause of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents. Slippery roads require slower speeds and more caution, especially when taking corners or having to move through traffic. Additionally, road hazards such as potholes or roadway debris can cause a rider to be thrown from their bike or cause them to lose control of their vehicle. Riders need to exercise more caution than larger vehicle drivers that can normally collide with such hazards without significant damage or injury.

Alcohol and drugs

While there are many alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, alcohol-related motorcycle accidents tend to result in a higher risk of fatality. It is estimated that 43% of all motorcycle collision fatalities are linked to alcohol impairment. Since operating a motorcycle requires much more skill, coordination, and concentration for its operation even a slight impairment from alcohol can cause a decline in the riders operating abilities.

Unskilled riders operating without a motorcycle endorsement

One-third of the of motorcycle operators that are killed in crashes are not licensed to be operating the vehicle. Many people mistakenly believe that being licensed to operate a car will license them to operate a motorcycle as well. It is essential for those planning to ride a motorcycle to obtain the training and be provided with the safety information they need to obtain their motorcycle license to help prevent the risk of injury due to lack of knowledge.

Motorcycle helmets are your most crucial defense

While proper safety training and knowledge is a vital part of preventing motorcycles accidents, even experienced riders can help lower their risk of severe injury or fatality by having a properly designed helmet and utilizing it at all times. Not only does the hard outer shell of the helmet prevent your head from objects that can puncture your skull, but the helmets are also designed to absorb the impact from a collision to protect your brain from suffering the effects of the impact.

Motorcycle crashes can result in debilitating injuries and even death so exercising proper motorcycle safety is the most important way to protect yourself.