Top Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
As the weather warms, we begin to see more motorcycles on Atlanta-area roadways. It’s a sign of the coming of spring. Not only are there more bikes on the road in warmer weather, there are more motorcycle crashes. Taking steps to avoid these accidents can help ensure you don’t end the summer as a statistic.
Owning or riding a motorcycle is a big responsibility. Unlike riding in a car, when you are on a bike, there is nothing protecting you in the event of a collision—no airbags, safety belts, and definitely no passenger compartment. Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those in cars. This means you have to be extra cautious to avoid an accident at every turn.
Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and what you can do to avoid them.
Speeding is one of the top causes of motorcycle crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Avoiding speed-related accidents is as simple as abiding by speed limits. While racing your motorcycle can be an amazing adrenaline rush, it’s simply not worth the added risk.
If you have the need for speed, seek out controlled tracks where traffic is not an issue.
Cars Turning Left in Front of Motorcycles
Over 40 percent of motorcycle crashes are attributed to incidents when a vehicle makes a left-hand turn, often in front of a motorcycle they “didn’t see”. But these accidents also happen when a motorcycle tries to overtake a vehicle that is turning left, not realizing their intention to turn and thereby riding straight into their path.
These accidents happen between cars as well, but the size of a motorcycle makes them less visible and therefore the accidents more common. Bottom line: if the car in front of you slows at an intersection, even if they don’t have their turn signal on, assume they are going to turn and assume they do not see you.
Lane splitting is the term used to describe motorcycles moving in between vehicles in slowed or stopped traffic, not necessarily taking a whole lane to themselves. Lane splitting is an accident waiting to happen because other drivers are not expecting a motorcycle to be coming up in between them in a traffic jam.
While slow and stopped traffic can be a headache, don’t try to get ahead by swerving between cars or riding on the shoulder. Though tempting, lane splitting puts you at a higher risk of collision.
Loss of Control
It doesn’t take much to lose control of your motorcycle. Ice, rain, standing water, gravel, or even wet leaves can be enough to send a motorcycle out of control and off of the road. Paying attention to the road ahead of you can help you spot these obstacles before you reach them, but learning how to maintain control of your bike is crucial.
Not all motorcyclists crash when they come in contact with a wet road or loose gravel. Those who are prepared are usually able to manage the obstacle. Taking a motorcycle safety course can help you prepare for these conditions and learn how to avoid losing control and laying down your bike.
While not wearing a helmet won’t cause an accident, it could cause your death if you’re involved in a crash. Riding without a helmet makes you 3 times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury. In 2012, 134 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents in Georgia, including 8 who were not wearing helmets.
As a motorcyclist, you cannot control how other people drive. But you must take responsibility for your own safety by doing everything possible to avoid a collision. Your life depends on it.