If a motorcycle and a car each travel one mile, the motorcyclist is 26 times more likely to die in a traffic collision than the driver of the car. Driving any vehicle can be dangerous, but motorcycles are especially risky due to issues with stability and visibility. Further, motorcycles offer little to no protection to riders.
Most cars have four wheels, which allow them to distribute weight and create stability on the road. Motorcycles, on the other hand, only have two wheels. As a result, motorcyclists must use their own body weight to balance the vehicle and maintain stability on the road. If they lean even the slightest bit too far, their entire vehicle has the potential to fall over, or on top of them – especially on curvy roads or during turns. This instability, added to the high speeds achieved by motorcycles, presents a recipe for disaster.
In addition to being less stable, motorcycles weigh less than cars. Because of this, they are more likely to be influenced by environmental factors or lose traction on uneven surfaces.
Another structural difference between cars and motorcycles is the presence of a passenger cab. More than ever before, cars are designed to be crashworthy and protect their occupants. Even in a severe crash, the car will crumple, allowing the passengers inside the cab a better chance of survival. If a motorcycle crashes, however, the impact and velocity of the collision is entirely absorbed by the riders.
In 2017, 38% of motorcyclist deaths were caused by single-vehicle crashes. Driving a motorcycle requires not only skill, but also a special license. Thirty-one percent of fatally injured drivers were unlicensed in 2017. As we discussed earlier, motorcycles are more susceptible to road and weather conditions. A patch of gravel, for example, would pose no threat to a car, but could cause a motorcyclist to completely lose control of their vehicle. Driver inexperience can also cause motorcyclists to take turns too fast or fail to recognize dangerous conditions. Still, motorcycle riders can take several steps to protect themselves.
Sixty-two percent of fatal motorcycle accidents occur in multiple-vehicle crashes. Motorcycles are smaller than typical motor vehicles and are therefore harder to see. While motorcycles are swift and agile, and in some cases can quickly get out of the way, they also run the risk of forcibly striking objects in their path. Most frequently, motorcycle accidents involve unsafe lane changes, lane splitting, and intersections. Other factors include open doors and sudden stops. No matter how it happens, a collision with another vehicle is extremely likely to end a motorcyclist’s life.
Precautions and Consequences
While many people understand the risks of riding a motorcycle, most of them choose to do so anyway. Riders and other drivers can both take precautions to minimize the chance of a motorcycle accident or fatality. Motorcyclists, for example, should always wear helmets, consider road and weather conditions, and practice defensive driving. Other drivers should be sure to check their blind spots, follow all right-of-way rules, and keep a special watch for motorcycles in their vicinity.
If you or a loved one were involved in a motorcycle accident and aren’t sure who to blame or how to move forward, Attorney Bryan Caulfield may be able to help. Mr. Caulfield works on contingency fees, which means our firm won’t collect any money unless you win your case.
Our office is available by phone at (727) 308-6060 and online, via contact form. If you wish to speak to Mr. Caulfield directly, simply call and ask for Bryan!