As you’re traveling to the Outer Banks or Rocky Mount, you’ll likely encounter at least one motorcycle on the road. Keep this in mind as you share the road with a motorcyclist, or you plan to take a ride on a motorcycle in the near future – motorcycles are 35 times more dangerous than a car, truck, or SUV.
In fact, a federal government study released in 2006 shows motorcyclists were 35 times more likely to die from an accident than similar accidents involving vehicles like sedans, SUVs, etc. The vast majority of these deaths occurred from head-on collisions (almost 78% of the time), with the single most dangerous situation for motorcycles being the left hand turn (occurring 42% of the time), where the turning car strikes the motorcyclist as they are going straight through the intersection, passing a car, or trying to overtake a car in the turn.
The following are other contributing factors to motorcycle accidents. All of these factors, with the right attention on the road, could be prevented:
Lane splitting is a common practice of motorcycles on the road today, and a common cause of motorcycle accidents, where a motorcyclist will drive between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving traffic, presumably to avoid a traffic jam. Lane splitting is dangerous as it reduces the proximity of the motorcyclist to the motorists, reduces the maneuvering space for the motorcycle, and causes reduced reaction time for motorists when being passed by faster moving motorcycles.
Speeding and Alcohol Abuse by Another Driver
About half of the accidents involving a motorcycle have to do with speeding or alcohol abuse. These factors play a part in motor vehicle accidents as well. The fact remains that motorcyclists are less protected than automobile drivers so they take a greater brunt of the damage and suffer worse injuries as a result.
Potholes, dead animals, slick pavement, and uneven lanes can all cause problems for motorcyclists. Due to their lowered stability, many bikes can face troubles navigating roads under construction or under heavy congestion.
High Performance Bikes
Although high performance bikes only account for a small number of motorcycles on the road, the account for a disproportionate amount of traffic accidents. As they are built for racing use, and sometimes barely street legal, the speed and handling can surprise even the most veteran rider. The death rate of high performance motorcyclists is twice that of conventional riders.
The statistics are alarming, and only add to the danger, but with the right preparation, defensive driving, and attention to traffic and road conditions, both automobiles and motorcyclist can enjoy the road in a safe and protected manner.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, I encourage you to seek help immediately. A qualified North Carolina motorcycle accident injury attorney can assist you in identifying the responsible party, and collecting the damages you are owed.
About Our Firm: We have offices in Virginia Beach, Hampton, and Norfolk, VA along with an office in Elizabeth City, NC. Our team of personal injury attorneys publish and edit articles on three Legal Examiner sites as a pro bono service to the general public.