Motorcyclists face many risks and hazards each time they ride. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 5,579 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2020 – the highest number of motorcyclist deaths since data collection began in 1975. Identifying the most common types of motorcycle accidents can illuminate how and why these collisions take place, to help prevent them in the future.
The smaller size and shape of a motorcycle make it much more difficult for other drivers to see. Unfortunately, this puts motorcyclists perpetually at risk of being struck by other drivers. This includes visibility problems at intersections, such as a driver waiting for the right-of-way to turn left failing to see or notice an oncoming motorcyclist.
Left-hand turn accidents occur when a motor vehicle driver does not yield to a motorcyclist who is approaching the intersection from the opposite lane. At an intersection that is showing a steady green light, a driver turning left must yield to oncoming traffic and wait for a gap to make the turn. If a driver doesn’t see a motorcycle or misjudges the speed or distance of a motorcycle, the driver may turn prematurely. This could cause a T-bone or side-impact crash.
Lane-change accidents are common among all roadway users, not just motorcyclists. Changing lanes is dangerous if not done carefully, prudently and in accordance with traffic laws. When switching lanes, the driver making the change should check the destination lane for other vehicles, signal his or her intent to move, and slowly enter the destination lane only when it is safe to do so.
A motorcyclist could be injured in a lane-change accident if a driver is not paying attention or makes an unsafe maneuver in attempting the change. If a driver is distracted or does not see a motorcycle in his or her blind spot, for example, the driver may switch lanes on top of a motorcyclist. This could lead to a dangerous sideswipe accident or rear-end collision.
A motorcycle could be involved in a head-on collision with a car in many ways. If a motor vehicle driver fails to stop at an intersection, for example, he or she could collide head-on with a motorcyclist that had the right-of-way. A driver could also lose control of his or her vehicle or fall asleep behind the wheel and travel into the opposite lane, crashing head-on into a motorcyclist. Reckless driving behaviors, such as drinking and driving and driving the wrong way, increase the risk of head-on collisions. Head-on collisions involving a motorcycle and a car are much more often fatal for the motorcyclist.
A rear-end collision can be deadly for a motorcyclist. Unfortunately, distracted driving, speeding, tailgating and other dangerous driver behaviors lead to a high risk of rear-end collisions. According to the NHTSA, 34 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2020 involved speeding. While motorcycle advocates say that lane splitting (riding on the line between two lanes of same-direction traffic) could help prevent motorcyclists from being rear-ended, lane splitting is not allowed in Oregon or Washington. Drivers should pay attention to the road and leave adequate following distance to prevent these disasters.
A no-contact accident is when a driver’s dangerous or illegal behaviors force a motorcyclist to take evasive action to avoid a collision, resulting in a crash. For example, if a motorcyclist notices that a driver is encroaching upon his or her lane, the motorcyclist may jerk the handlebars of the bike to try to avoid a lane-change accident. Unfortunately, this maneuver itself could cause the motorcyclist to crash. In a no-contact accident, the driver of the motor vehicle could be held responsible even if the two vehicles never actually touched.
If you or a loved one was injured in any type of motorcycle accident, contact a Vancouver motorcycle accident lawyer at NW Injury Law Center for legal advice. One or more parties could be financially responsible for your crash.