There is nothing quite like the freedom of riding a motorcycle on the open road. There is nothing quite as dangerous either. While the benefits are rewarding, every motorcyclist in New Jersey and Pennsylvania knows that danger is lurking around every corner. To ensure you and your group stay safe on the road, read up on these common causes of motorcycle accidents and always keep an eye out for them.
There were 27 alcohol-related traffic fatalities every day in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Because motorcycle riders have much less protection than a vehicle driver does, a drunk driving motorcycle accident often leads to severe or even fatal injuries for the rider.
While you often see the blame on the rider, intoxicated drivers of passenger vehicles are an all too common motorcycle accident cause. Because alcohol slows reaction time, decreases visibility, and impairs hand eye coordination, it can make it very difficult — or even impossible — for a driver to avoid an accident with a rider.
While drunk driving is extremely dangerous, it is also against the law. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with an intoxicated driver, you will likely be able to use the driver’s intoxication as an example of negligent behavior.
Failure to Detect/Failure to Yield to a Motorcycle
The simple fact is that many drivers are not looking closely enough for motorcycles. Motorcycles are smaller, have only one headlight, and are therefore harder to see.
One of the most common types of motorcycle accidents occurs when a car fails to yield to a motorcyclist. Common failure to detect or failure to yield accidents involve drivers:
- Turning left in an intersection
- Sideswiping a rider in their blind spot
- Cutting off a rider
These accidents often occur because:
- The driver was distracted.
- The motorcycle was in the driver’s blind spot.
- The driver did not use turn signals.
While the responsibility of looking out for motorcyclists should be on the driver, unfortunately it is usually on the rider to predict what a driver is going to do and when he is going to do it.
If drivers simply looked twice, waited until they knew the intersection was completely clear before turning, or used turn signals, we could avoid many of these accidents.
In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, reports Distraction.gov. Motorcycle riders are already at a distinct disadvantage because they are very difficult to see, especially to someone who is not actively looking for a motorcycle. Combine that with a driver distracted by a text, passengers, GPS, or the radio and the results can be deadly.
If drivers put down the phone or limited conversation with passengers, we could save countless lives each year.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
Speeding was a factor in 28 percent of all motorcycle accidents in 2014, reports the NHTSA. Speeding reduces the amount of time a driver has to react and increases the amount of distance needed to stop. This is especially true when the driver is engaging in other reckless driving behaviors such as tailgating or weaving in and out of traffic.
If a driver is speeding and does not have time to stop or stops too quickly, a rider can rear-end a driver or be thrown from his bike. Most riders are prepared for this type of situation, but for those who are not, the results can be deadly.
Some accidents are not the result of a negligent driver or rider, but are instead the result of a defective vehicle. Defects can cause accidents through anything from a tire blowout to a brake malfunction.
If you believe your accident was due to a defect, you can check out the NHTSA’s Recall page. Just type in your VIN number to find out if your bike was under recall at the time.
Unsafe conditions are another cause of motorcycle accidents. Because motorcycles have only two wheels, poor road conditions and natural hazards pose a much bigger threat. Road conditions like a pot hole, uneven gravel, or unfinished pavement that may only result in minor bump for a passenger vehicle could cause a fatal accident for a motorcyclist. Debris left behind by road maintenance crews is equally dangerous.
Always look out for hazards and go into blind turns slowly. You never know what hazards could be waiting around the bend.
What can I do to protect myself from accidents?
Obeying all New Jersey and Pennsylvania motorcycle laws and keeping an eye out for hazards and distracted or intoxicated drivers can help keep you safe. However, we know that even the safest riders can be involved in a serious accident. To protect yourself make sure you:
- Always wear a helmet and other necessary safety gear,
- Stay away from alcohol
- Drive the speed limit and ride slower through busy intersections
- Never split lanes
- Always ride safely
If you have been injured an auto accident, it is important that you seek legal counsel immediately. Waiting could damage your case beyond repair. Evidence fades and the statute of limitations can bar you from ever filing suit. Call a motorcycle accident attorney in Pennsylvania or New Jersey before it is too late.
A motorcycle accident lawyer will know what evidence to look for, regardless of whether your accident was the result of speeding, distracted driving, or hazardous road conditions.
The attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC make it their mission to fight for injured riders and their families. If you or your loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, vehicle defect, or unsafe road condition, give Cordisco & Saile LLC a call today: 215-486-8196.