Motorcycle riders are some of the most vulnerable motorists on the road. Even when riders follow the rules of the road and wear protective gear, such as helmets and Kevlar suits, they can be seriously injured when they are hit by a car or truck. As a motorcycle rider, you deserve the respect and space you are entitled to when riding through city streets and on the highway. When a driver is careless or negligent and fails to allow you the room you need to ride safely, you should not have to pay for the resulting damage—whether to your bike or your body. We review some of the common mistakes drivers make that leave motorcyclists injured—sometimes fatally so.
Motorcycle Riders Face Higher Crash Risks
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2015 and 88,000 were injured. Motorcycle riders are 29 times more likely to be killed in a collision than occupants of a car or truck. Despite only making up 4 percent of the vehicles on the road, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 4 percent of all injuries in 2015. The risks are clearly real and as drivers become more distracted and less attentive to the road, the danger to bikers will only increase.
What Drivers Do That Endanger Bikers
In most cases of motorcycle crashes caused by the driver of a car, the driver failed to see or yield to the motorcycle. This can happen for several reasons, including the following:
- The driver looked, but didn’t “see” the biker. Our brains are only capable of interpreting a limited amount of the data brought in by the eyes during a quick glance. According to research published in 2012, drivers often fail to see approaching motorcycles because they do not spend enough time looking for them. Because of their small size, motorcycles are essentially filtered out by the brain, where a car or truck would register. Drivers must consciously look for motorcycles before pulling out of a side street or through an intersection.
- The driver intentionally pulls out in front of a motorcycle. Even when a driver sees an approaching motorcycle, he may not see it as an obstacle to his path. Because it is small, the driver may ignore it and pull out anyway, even when there is not enough time or space to do so safely.
- Drunk drivers. When a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, his reaction time and visual acuity are diminished, meaning he is even less likely to see a motorcycle and to be able to stop in time to avoid a crash.
- Drowsy drivers. A fatigued driver experiences many of the same deficits as an impaired driver. If a driver is too tired to focus on the road, he is not likely to see and avoid a small vehicle like a motorcycle.
- Distracted drivers. While distracted drivers pose a threat to everyone on the road, someone looking at a phone or changing the radio station is more likely to see another car or truck in his peripheral vision than a small cycle, making a collision with a motorcycle more likely.
- Speeding drivers. When a driver is speeding, he has less control over his vehicle and will not be able to swerve or stop in time to avoid hitting a motorcycle that pops up into his line of sight.
If a driver caused the crash that left you injured or a loved one dead, you will need an attorney who specifically handles motorcycle accident cases. A motorcycle crash attorney will know what kinds of negligent driver behavior to look for in order to prove the driver’s fault and get you the compensation you need and deserve to recover from your devastating accident. In Indiana, that attorney can be found at Keller & Keller. Contact one of our Indiana offices today to discuss your motorcycle crash injuries.