Many factors can contribute to a motorcycle accident. One of the biggest factors is alcohol impairment, which is the leading cause of death or injury for motorcycle drivers. The next biggest factor is a fixed object or a car, which makes up 36 percent of motorcycle accidents.
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Motorcyclists face a unique set of challenges when traveling on the road. Not only do they face dangerous driving conditions, but also they are required to obey traffic laws. In most cases, drivers are not trained to be aware of motorcycles on the road, and this can lead to an accident. Fortunately, there are several ways to minimize the risk of a motorcycle crash and prevent it from happening.
One of the most common motorcycle accidents involves a loss of control during a bend in the road. This can be disastrous for riders, as the risk of injury is significantly higher than that of a car crash. Statistics show that over half of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. Many of these crashes involve multiple vehicles, and many are the result of drivers not seeing the motorcycle.
In 2016, more than thirty-six times as many people died in motorcycle crashes than in car crashes. In addition to the higher death rate, motorcyclists are more likely than car passengers to sustain serious injuries. Motorcycles are also more unstable than cars and often have high-performance capabilities. Despite the benefits of wearing a helmet, it is difficult to prevent catastrophic collisions on the road. Only 18 states require helmet use for all motorcycle riders.
In addition to the physical trauma caused by a motorcycle crash, mental trauma and psychological damage can also be devastating. In many cases, motorcycle crash victims will struggle to recover from the trauma and may experience long-lasting psychological damage. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most common complication of motor vehicle accidents. Nearly half of all individuals involved in an accident develop symptoms of PTSD afterward.
Research shows that motorcycle riders with high blood alcohol content (BAC) are at a greater risk for injury or death. There is a 3-fold risk of fatality for motorcycle riders with BACs between 0.03% and 0.08%. The study also showed that motorcycle riders with BACs above the legal limit were less likely to wear a helmet. In addition, they had a greater risk of in-hospital mortality. Therefore, strict enforcement of BAC limits in motorcycle accidents could reduce deaths and injuries.
Although alcohol impairment has been identified as a factor in fatal motorcycle crashes, research has also shown that buzzed driving is just as dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 40% of motorcycle fatalities in 2016 involved a driver who was impaired by alcohol. Alcohol consumption while driving a motorcycle is particularly risky because it can decrease a driver’s judgment and reaction time. Furthermore, it reduces one’s vision and makes the person less alert.
Fixed objects are often a factor in motorcycle accidents, which can cause injuries and even death. Because motorcycles are not as stable as four-wheel vehicles, they are particularly vulnerable to collisions with obstacles on the road, including trees, utility poles, and traffic barriers. Also, motorcycles often have poor visibility, and the presence of such objects can make them lose control and crash into other vehicles. Approximately 23% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve collisions with fixed objects. The most common fixed objects in these accidents are fences, telephone poles, and trees.
Although the motorcyclist is most often at fault for fixed object collisions, other factors can also contribute to the fatality. These factors can include other vehicles, construction zones, or poor road conditions. Defective guardrails and other road hazards can also contribute to motorcycle accidents. In these cases, the municipality that created or maintains the hazard may be liable.
The weather is an important factor in motorcycle accidents. While cold temperatures generally result in fewer collisions, warm weather leads to more collisions. The fatality rate for motorcycles is low in January through March and in October through December, while the rate is double that in April through September. In July alone, the fatality rate has increased by 14 percent since 2017.
The time of day is also a factor. Many motorcycle accidents occur during the daytime. However, there are times of the day when weather conditions are especially dangerous. For example, rain can make it harder for motorcycles to get traction. Motorcycles are more vulnerable to accidents in rain than other vehicles because drivers in passenger vehicles can use their windshield wipers to increase visibility.