Where and When Most Fatal Motorcycle Crashes Happen: It’s Probably Not What You Think!

downtown Albuquerque at duskEveryone knows that riding a motorcycle around Albuquerque is risky—even avid bikers accept this fact. With virtually no protection for the rider as they travel at highway speeds and share the road with much bigger and sturdier vehicles, no one is surprised that bikers suffer much higher rates of injuries and fatalities than drivers in cars and trucks. What might be surprising to some people, however, is where and when fatal motorcycle accidents have been happening. We take a look at the latest national statistics and then turn our attention to our local roads.

National Motorcycle Fatality Statistics

It’s logical to assume that the most dangerous situations for bikers are at night, in bad weather, and at high speeds on highways, but 2021 motorcycle fatality statistics from the National Safety Council show just the opposite. In fact, 67 percent of the nearly 6,000 fatal crashes in 2021 occurred on urban roads—not at high speeds out in the country—and 83 percent occurred in good weather. Fatalities were pretty much split 50/50 between daytime and nighttime, but more than half involved another vehicle, meaning they might not have been the biker’s fault.

The statistics also debunk some common assumptions about bikers. Nearly 60 percent of the riders who were killed in crashes were wearing helmets, and 72 percent of them were NOT riding while impaired by alcohol. The NSC study did not look at fault in the fatal crashes, but the statistics do not support the idea that motorcycle riders are reckless risk-takers with no concern for their own safety.

Fatal Bike Crashes in and Around Albuquerque

This is almost a trick question because bikers have been killed on almost every major road in the city. Wherever there is a lot of traffic and drivers are entering and exiting the road from stores and gas stations, motorcycles are going to get cut off, and riders are going to be injured and killed. Just in the last few months, bikers have been killed on Odelia Road near Edith, Louisiana near Copper, and at Juan Tabo and Lomas. In addition, the following roads are known to be dangerous for bikers:

  • I-25 and I-40. The sites of many serious crashes, especially at on-ramps and off-ramps, these highways run right through downtown ABQ. The area where they cross, known as the Big I, is particularly dangerous for bikers.
  • Sandia Crest Road. A popular scenic road for bikers outside of Albuquerque, Sandia Crest Road was the site of multiple fatal motorcycle crashes in 2021, possibly due to slick road conditions created by a fog sealing project. It continues to be a risky area for bikers because of the potential for high speeds and distracted drivers.

Regardless of where you are when a car causes your wreck, an experienced motorcycle crash lawyer will investigate to prove fault and help you fight for fair treatment.

How Negligent Drivers Cause Motorcycle Injuries and Fatalities

Experienced bikers know to be on the lookout for reckless drivers, but they can’t always prevent an accident from happening. Drivers who do not make an effort to look out for motorcycles often cause crashes by doing the following.

Failure to Yield the Right of Way

Negligent drivers frequently fail to yield the right of way to motorcycles, especially at intersections, when merging onto highways or making left-hand turns. These situations can result in devastating collisions, often with fatal consequences.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving, often involving activities such as texting, talking on the phone, or adjusting in-car entertainment systems, diverts a driver's attention away from the road. Motorcycles can be easily overlooked when a driver's focus is compromised, leading to fatal accidents.

Reckless or Aggressive Driving

Reckless behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, or aggressive maneuvers, create dangerous conditions for motorcyclists. These actions increase the likelihood of catastrophic collisions, particularly on highways and busy roads.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver's judgment, coordination, and reaction time. This impairment significantly elevates the risk of fatal accidents involving motorcycles.

Serious motorcycle accidents often result from the negligence of other drivers on the road. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a bike crash, it is crucial that you talk to an experienced Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller
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