Who is Generally at Fault in Motorcycle Accidents?

The passing of Memorial Day brings the return of summer. The season's warm weather invites many outdoor activities, including motorcycle riding.

Motorcyclists face more dangers than others with whom they share the road. Driving without exterior protections and outweighed by their motor vehicle counterparts, motorcycle riders unfortunately are victims of a high percentage of fatal crashes. In a report of 2013 motorcycle traffic fatalities, the Governors Highway Safety Administration notes that motorcycles suffered six times more occupant deaths per registration than passenger cars did in 2011.

However, the same report says that motorcycle accident deaths in 2013 fell 7 percent compared to the previous year. The report projects motorcycle fatalities for all of 2013 to be 4,610. A decrease over 2012, but still a large number. And the report suggests that a major reason for the decline in motorcycle accident deaths was the weather. In 2013, the winter was colder than the mild winter of 2012, meaning less motorcycle riders.

Missouri and Illinois Motorcycle Fatalities

According to the GHSA report, Missouri motorcycle accident deaths decreased 31 percent in the first 9 months of 2013 compared to 2012. For Illinois, motorcycle fatalities increased 7 percent in the same period.

Motorcycle owners are aware of the dangers they face. They're rightly concerned with other inattentive drivers causing them harm. The Hurt Report, a comprehensive U.S. motorcycle safety report, concluded that about three out of every four motorcycle accidents involved a collision with another car or truck, and in two-thirds of those accidents, drivers violating the motorcyclists' right-of-way were responsible. It further stated that motorcycle accidents are likely to occur at traffic intersections, where drivers frequently fail to yield to traffic lights or motorcyclists.

Negligent Driver Actions in Motorcycle Accidents

Other drivers should use caution around motorcyclists, including:

  • Never drive distracted
  • Never try to share a lane with a motorcycle
  • Check their mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles, as they are harder to see than passenger vehicles
  • Allow plenty of following distance - more so than they would other vehicles. Motorcyclists may need time to avoid roadway dangers such as potholes and loose gravel that other vehicles do not.

As statistics bear out, other drivers cause a large share of motorcycle accidents. If you or a family member suffered severe injuries in a crash after being hit while riding a motorcycle, consult an attorney experienced in conducting motor vehicle accident investigations and obtaining financial compensation for their victims.

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