The Primary Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Last updated Monday, February 13th, 2023
There’s something magical about driving down the road on a motorcycle on a beautiful day. You feel the power of the motorcycle beneath you. You feel the contact between the tires and the road. You feel the wind as it flows around you. And you feel the sunshine on your back.
For many people, the freedom and pleasure that comes from riding is almost therapeutic. You don’t feel the constraints of anything surrounding you like you do when you drive a passenger vehicle. It’s just you and the road. The exhilaration is enough for many riders. If you are an avid cyclist, you know this feeling all too well.
True motorcyclists also understand that driving a motorcycle on a public road is both a privilege and a responsibility. The privilege of it includes the feelings listed above. The responsibilities, however, are numerous and not something to be taken lightly.
Driving a motorcycle safely isn’t just about keeping yourself or your passenger safe. It’s also about driving responsibly and keeping the other drivers on the road safe as well.
Many seasoned motorcyclists find that they have heightened senses when riding, but not only because of the exhilaration. They also find that they are more aware of the things going on around them from a safety standpoint. Because of the lack of protection surrounding them, thinking and reacting safely isn’t just optional. It is more important than ever.
Yes, motorcycles can be dangerous. But they don’t have to be.
When driving or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, it’s impossible not to feel a bit apprehensive in the beginning because of the lack of protection around you. If you ride and aren’t thinking about this, you need to start, because being aware is your first and most important line of defense.
Keep in mind that because of the small size of cycles, they are more difficult for other drivers to see. They don’t have the surface area surrounding them to increase visibility. This is something that a biker needs to always keep in the back of his or her mind.
This is especially important for inexperienced motorcyclists. Experience is always the best teacher but, let’s face it, we all have to start somewhere and the only way to gain experience is to… well… experience it. Learning about safely operating a motorcycle long before ever sitting on one is a great way to begin this exciting hobby or lifestyle.
Unfortunately, there will always be reckless motorcycle drivers out there on the roads. At some level, they must understand that they are not only risking their own lives, but the lives of other people on the road as well.
Reckless driving has been proven to be extremely dangerous and the possibly of causing an accident increases significantly. Too often injuries are severe because of the lack of protection surrounding a motorcycle. There are no airbags on motorcycles. Motorcycle drivers are much more likely to be seriously injured in a road accident than a driver of a car. Sadly, death is also a real possibility.
Other examples of reckless motorcycling include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Not signaling when turning
- Driving at inconsistent speeds
- Distracted driving
- And other unsafe practices
Recognizing reckless or careless behavior in other drivers while riding a motorcycle, whether it is a passenger vehicle or another motorcycle, is an important way to help keep yourself and your passenger safe.
Using safety equipment such as helmets, eye protection, long pants, boots, and gloves are another way to help ensure your safety. These items aren’t always required by law, depending upon which state you live in. Even so, regardless of the requirements, wearing protective gear can keep you alive. You may find that these precautions are largely used by seasoned motorcyclists for a reason – they understand what it takes to keep them as safe as possible.
Unfortunately, there are certain factors that will always be out of our control. As a driver, we have no say over the road conditions or the weather, as examples. Driving on gravel roads will sometimes be necessary. Driving over, or hopefully around, potholes is also something that is just there. The only thing we can do is to remain diligent and attentive to the conditions around us.
Weather is a perfect example. We’ve all been caught in a storm where we had no idea that a storm was coming. If you look at this from a motorcyclist point of view, imagine not only being surprised by what’s happening but also having to decide how to adjust to driving in those conditions.
If there is less visibility due to weather-related conditions, think about how this would affect how you drive your bike. You are less likely to be seen by other drivers. How would you adjust?
Factors like rain or fog can cause physical differences to the road that you’re driving on and the visibility of you or other vehicles. Driving on a slippery road is hard enough in a car. On a motorcycle is even more important to be careful and mindful of the present conditions.
Most importantly, keep in mind that you have no way of knowing what other drivers will do, regardless of what kind of a vehicle it is – a car or truck or even another motorcycle. The best way to protect yourself is to be observant, follow your gut instincts, and do everything you can to avoid the possibility of an accident.
Inattentive, distracted, or even impaired drivers ARE out on the roads. They are unfortunately a major cause of motorcycle accidents.
Defective or malfunctioning motorcycle parts also can be a cause of an accident, often through no fault of the owner. Think of this – what would you do if your motorcycle brakes failed? What dangers do you face if your tires aren’t up to par?
Motorcycle riding doesn’t have to be risky. Keeping observant and following general safety guidelines are there for a reason – because they help.
What can you do?
- Take a rider safety course
- Educate yourself on safety techniques
- Always wear a helmet and other safety gear
- Obey all traffic laws
- Be observant and attentive to your surroundings – be defensive!
- Maintain your motorcycle
Motorcycle accidents happen every day and the sad truth is that many could have been avoided by using common sense, observation, and proper safety gear. There is only one you and your friends and loved ones will thank you for doing everything you can to keep yourself in tip-top shape!