According to a June 2010 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Motorcycle Crash Courses and Outcomes: Pilot Study, the number of motorcyclist crash-related fatalities has more than doubled during the past 10 years.
Figure 1-1 from the study compares the number of passenger vehicle occupant fatalities with motorcyclist fatalities over the past 10 years. While occupant (and non-occupant) fatalities have decreased, motorcyclist fatalities have steadily increased.
Figure 1-1: Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities by Vehicle Type and Year
Often, other motorists do not see and recognize the motorcycle and unintentionally veer into the motorbike’s lane, violating the motorcyclist’s right of way. Or inexperienced motorcycle drivers do not recognize the inherent limitations of their vehicle, including violating the speed limit. The smallest slip or an unexpected object on the road can cause the motorcycle to veer out of control.
However, motorcyclists are by no means always at fault for their accidents. Other vehicles striking motorcycles from the front, resulting in a head-on collision, cars making left-hand turns and striking motorcycles that are either going straight through an intersection or passing the car are both examples of accidents in which other drivers are completely or at least partially at fault. In addition, sometime poorly maintained roads peppered with such obstacles as potholes can result in serious motorcycle accidents.
While there are many causes of motorcycle accidents, the overarching problem is that motorcycles lack a protective barrier between their rider and the road, and other motorists are often not aware of how to drive alongside motorcycles. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, think about seeking the advice of an attorney who can help you determine fault and protect your rights.
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