Motorcycle crashes are not more common than any other type of vehicle accident, but they are more likely to cause severe injuries and death to motorcycle riders. Statistics from the United States government indicate that, in 2006, there were 35 times more fatalities resulting from motorcycle crashes than from larger motor vehicle accidents. These are alarming statistics that show it is crucial for motorcycle riders to understand and be able to be aware of frequent causes of motorcycle crashes. This can mean the difference between life or death.
Motorcycles and Head-On Accidents
Collisions between motorcycles and other motor vehicles account for 56 percent of motorcycle crash deaths. In a great many of these incidents, the car hits the motorcycle from the front – at least 78 percent of the time. (The car strikes the rear of the motorcycle only 5% of the time.) Head-on crashes involving a car and motorcycle are usually deadly for the motorcyclist.
Vehicles Making Left-Hand Turns
The most dangerous scenario for a motorcycle rider takes place when a car is making a left-hand turn. These account for 42 percent of collisions involving a motorcycle. Most of the time, the car turning will hit the motorcycle when it is:
- Traveling straight through an intersection
- Passing the vehicle
- Attempting to overtake the vehicle
These kinds of crashes are typical between two cars too, but the small size of the motorcycle makes it even harder to see for the turning car. Motorcycles passing cars inside the same lane are even more at risk. Cars usually don’t expect them to be there and are usually surprised by these maneuvers on part of the motorcyclist.
More often than not, when a car hits another car when making a left-hand turn, the car turning will be deemed to be liable for the incident. In the event that motorcyclist was speeding or traveling in the wrong lane, they may be held partly liable for the crash. In most states, including Utah, this means that they will receive less compensation from the at-fault driver for injuries and damages resulting from the crash.
Lane splitting happens when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of non-moving or slow vehicles, often during traffic jams. Lane splitting is a common factor in motorcycle crashes because of a few factors:
- The close distance between the vehicle to the motorcycle
- The reduced room the motorcycle has to maneuver
- The reality that the driver of the car does not expect that any vehicle, including a motorcycle, will be passing them in the middle of traffic
If an accident happens when a motorcycle rider is splitting lanes, despite whether the motorcycle or vehicle is at fault depends on if lane splitting is permissible in the state, the view of the judge and police officials on lane splitting, and the actions of the involved parties before the crash. Utah has recently legalized lane splitting, but it is still a dangerous driving practice.
Speeding & Alcohol Use
Around half of all crashes involving a single motorcycle are due to speeding or intoxication. This is not very surprising overall, and this is a very common factor amongst crashes with cars and other vehicles. However, due to the fact that motorcycles provide little protection to the rider, accidents due to speeding or alcohol have a greater likelihood of resulting in a fatality from severe injuries.
Collisions with Fixed Objects
Collision with stationary objects accounts for 25 percent of all motorcyclist fatalities. This is in comparison to 18 percent of car accident deaths. Again, the protection offered by motorcyclists is minimal in comparison to larger motor vehicles, and motorcyclists are more likely to be ejected from their vehicle. This is why these incidents are more deadly when operating a motorcycle.
High-performance motorcycles only account for a small portion of the total number of motorcycles on the roadway. However, these account for a disproportionately high number of motorcycle crashes overall. There are two primary categories for these vehicles: supersport
- Supersport motorcycles. Supersport motorcycles are designed to be used on racing platforms but are modified for use on the highway. These motorcycles are lightweight and can travel at extremely fast speeds, even up to 160 miles per hour. A majority of supersport motorcycle riders are under the age of 30, and this is another factor which contributes to higher collision rates. This is because younger motorcycle riders are often less cautious and likely to make more mistakes.
- Sport motorcycles. Sport motorcycles are like supersport motorcycles, but they have a much lower power to weight ratio. Drivers of these motorcycles are usually under 34.
There is a four times higher death rate in supersport motorcycle accidents when compared to riders of conventional motorcycles, such as cruisers, standards, and touring motorcycles. The riders of more conventional motorcycles are often older, usually 40 years or older. The death rate is two times higher for sport motorcyclists than conventional riders.
It goes without saying that motorcyclists are at a much greater risk of being involved in a deadly or severe accident on the roadway in comparison to other drivers. However, motorcyclists are able to increase their own safety by understanding and being aware of the common causes of crashes and taking the appropriate measures to avoid or reduce risk. This could mean being doubly careful when splitting lanes, paying attention to potential road hazards, or resisting the urge to speed.
Fatal Salt Lake City Motorcycle Accidents
The number of motorcycle rider deaths in Utah is on the increase in recent years. These accidents can result in the loss of a loved one, leaving families to take on the burden. They are left devastated due to their loss and often feel that they have no one to turn to. You can partner with a wrongful death attorney in Utah to protect your legal rights after an accident.
At Siegfried & Jensen, our skilled Salt Lake City car crash lawyers have been protecting the families of Utah for three decades. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash due to another driver’s negligence, contact us today at (801) 845-9000 to discuss your case.