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3 Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

According to data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in 2012, with a staggering 93,000 left injured. With such shocking statistics, one thing is clear: while motorcycle accidents are less frequent than automobile accidents, they are far more deadly. "Per vehicle mile traveled", states NHTSA, "motorcyclists were more than 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash.

One of the main attractions of a motorcycle is the freedom and agility the vehicle offers. However, these traits come at the cost of protection and weight. Thus, motorcycle accidents can result from a diverse set of factors and variables. Listed below are the three most common causes.

Motorcycle-Car Collision

The most common and deadly cause, of course, is when a motorcycle collides into a vehicle much larger and sturdier. The NHTSA cites that in 2012, 52% of all fatal motorcycle crashes involved the motorcyclist colliding with another type of motor vehicle. 75% of two-vehicle crashes occurred as a result of the motorcycle running into vehicles in front of them.

Besides direct collisions, vehicles turning left are a serious hazard. Motorcyclists often pass cars on the left, sometimes within the same lane. Because of the motorcycle's compact size, automobile drivers making a left turn may fail to spot the passing motorcyclist, resulting in an accident. In 2012, 41% of crashes between a motorcycle and another vehicle occurred because the motorcyclist collided with a vehicle turning left.

Motorcycles and Alcohol 

Alcohol, combined with the lowered levels of protection and vehicle weight, can result in disastrous consequences. One slip of the handlebars can send a motorcycle skidding off the road or into another vehicle.  Roughly thirty percent of fatally injured motorcyclists in 2012 had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 g/dL or higher.

Studies by the NHTSA show that motorcycle drivers are more likely to drive under the influence than any other type of driver on the road. Alcohol-impaired motorcyclists in accidents account for 27% of all motorcyclists, compared to 23% for automobile drivers, 22% for light truck drivers, and 2% for large truck drivers.

Motorcycles and the Environment

While most motorcycle accidents are a result of alcohol and direct collisions with other vehicles, motorcyclists are also more susceptible to environmental hazards than other types of vehicles. Automobile drivers can manage driving through a thunderstorm. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, must fight through the rain and wind, which can result in reduced visibility or loss of control.

Road hazards are much more severe for motorcyclists as well. Automobile drivers may only experience a slight bump as they pass over a tree branch or rock in the road; motorcyclists could possibly skid, slip, or be thrown completely off of their vehicle.

Motorcycle accidents can be life-changing. As such, it is imperative to hire an experienced attorney to help guide you through the complex legal process.

Speak with a lawyer in East Texas if you have been involved in a biker accident of any kind. Colley & Colley of East Texas will be able to answer all of your questions, along with providing you your rights and options for potential compensation. Contact us today!