Each year, there are roughly 2,000 accidents involving motorcycles in Louisiana, including more than 80 biker fatalities. “Some of it are people not driving up to their ability; some of those crashes involved people not being aware of motorcycles in the area,” said Trooper Bryan Lee with the Louisiana State Police. Most accidents are caused by a variety of factors, including:
1. Left hand turns
The most dangerous situation for motorcycle drivers is approaching an intersection where cars are attempting to turn left. Cars making lefts are involved in 42 percent of all motorcycle accidents. Usually, cars strike motorcyclists who are driving straight through the intersection or attempting to pass. The car driver may misjudge the motorcycle’s speed or fail to realize a motorcycle is coming at all due to blind spots, inattention, or distraction.
2. Driver inexperience
The HURT Report, the most comprehensive motorcycle safety study ever done, found that more than half of motorcycle accident victims had less than five months of experience on the bike they were riding at the time and about 3 years of riding experience in total. Two-thirds of all accidents involved a slide-out from a preventable biker error, such as over-braking, taking a turn too wide, speeding, or under-cornering. The Louisiana Motorcycle Safety Program has trained over 200,000 local riders within the last 40 years.
3. Alcohol use
The NHTSA reported that 29 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol concentrations at or above the legal limit of .08 percent. Comparatively, 22 percent of motor vehicle drivers in fatal crashes were intoxicated at the time. In total, almost half of all motorcycle accidents involve some type of alcohol use. Other factors in these crashes include: low visibility from driving at night, inexperience with an average age between 35-39, and reckless behavior such as riding without a helmet.
The NHTSA also found that a third of motorcyclists killed in crashes were speeding at the time, compared to 20 percent of passenger car drivers, 17 percent of light truck drivers, and 7 percent of large truck drivers. Some motorcyclists are more likely to speed than others. More than half (57%) of super sport motorcycles were traveling in excess of the posted speed limit at the time of their accidents, compared to 27 percent of cruisers or standards, and 22 percent of touring motorcycles. The HURT Report found that 1 in 1,000 accidents involved motorcycles traveling over 86 mph. Speeding usually results in cars missing the oncoming cyclist entirely, and cyclists being ejected off their bikes.
5. Time of day
The most dangerous time of day to travel by bike is on the weekdays between 3-6pm. During rush hour, the largest percentage of motorcyclists are killed (24%) or injured (34.2%). Around this time of day, there is higher than normal volume of cars, more noise, and glare from the setting sun. Glare or view obstruction was cited in about half of all multiple vehicle accidents, according to the HURT Report. The early morning hours before 9 am are the safest for motorcycle travel.
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It has been estimated that less than 10 percent of motorcycle riders have sufficient insurance to cover medical or property damage involved in a crash. Passenger car drivers are responsible for 60 percent of collisions with motorcycles, according to a 10-year review of Urban Transportation Research crash data. Get the help you deserve to hold those accountable for your accident and obtain compensation to ease your burden! Lafayette and Baton Rouge Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Bart Bernard is in the Multi-Million-Dollar Advocates Forum, recognized for his outstanding achievements in winning huge settlements for his clients. Contact Bart Bernard for a free case review. All legal assistance is free until the case has been won!
Additional “causes of motorcycle crashes” resources
- III – Motorcycle Crashes http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes
- USC Traffic Safety Center – The Hurt Report http://isddc.dot.gov/OLPFiles/NHTSA/013695.pdf
- Florida Sun Sentinel – Car drivers cause most crashes with motorcycles, study finds http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-03-09/news/fl-finding-fault-in-motorcycle-crashes-20130309_1_motorcycle-crashes-chanyoung-lee-motorcycle-riders
- Ride Apart – 10 Common Motorcycle Accidents and How To Avoid Them https://rideapart.com/articles/10-common-motorcycle-accidents-and-how-to-avoid-them