Many people like to hit the open road on two or three wheels. You may be one of them. Unfortunately, your love of riding a motorcycle could put you in danger. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were an estimated 88,000 motorcyclists injured and 4,976 killed in traffic crashes in 2015. In 2016, Colorado had 125 motorcyclists die from crashes.
Unfortunately, that figure represented another rise for motorcycle fatalities in the state. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, motorcycle deaths rose 20 percent between 2013 and 2017.
Motorcycle accidents, whether they lead to injuries or fatalities, can be attributed to many different causes. However, there is usually one underlying issue: drivers do not see motorcycles.
Many drivers head out onto the road and keep an eye out for other cars and trucks. They do not make any effort to see smaller vehicles, such as motorcycles, which increases the
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Throughout the U.S., the most common reasons for vehicle-motorcycle collisions include:
- Left turns by vehicles—these turns can cause the vehicle to collide directly with a motorcycle rider, or they can cause the motorcycle to collide with the vehicle when the rider is unable to stop in time. Unprotected left turns in which vehicles can turn while oncoming traffic is coming through the intersection are the most dangerous.
- Lane changes by vehicles—many drivers fail to check their blind spots and change lanes into motorcycles. Riders may be forced off the road or into oncoming traffic.
- Rear-end collisions—vehicles often follow motorcycles too closely and then rear-end them when the rider stops. These types of accidents, which would be mild for other vehicles, can be fatal for riders.
- Blind corners—vehicles that speed or take blind turns or corners too wide are at risk for running into a motorcycle they cannot see. Motorcycle riders also have to be especially careful going around blind curves.
- Speeding—the risk of traffic accidents involving all types of vehicles increases when drivers speed. Moving too fast means a driver is often unable to stop in time to avoid a hazard or changing conditions on the road. Drivers also may lose control of their vehicle at high speeds.
- Doored by vehicles—Drivers who do not check for oncoming traffic may open their door into a motorcyclist’s path. The rider may be unable to stop in time to avoid a collision or may get crash when attempting to swerve out of the way.
- Lane splitting—Motorcyclists may ride in between lanes or rows of traffic. In many cases, this is recommended for the riders’ safety, though it is not legal in Colorado. Drivers who are not watching out for motorcycles may change lanes into them.
- Alcohol—Intoxicated drivers are much more likely to cause a crash with another vehicle or motorcycle.
- Weather—Riding a motorcycle in poor weather takes a great degree of care and expertise, which many riders have. However, careless drivers or drivers who are not looking out for motorcycles during fog, rain, or snow are more likely to hit the rider.
- Road Hazards—Motorcyclists experience the road far differently than a driver inside a vehicle, and they have to carefully maneuver around hazards vehicles don’t notice, like cracks and smaller pot holes. These hazards increase the likelihood of a rider being involved in a crash.
Steps to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents
Whether you are a new or experienced motorcycle rider, there are steps you can take to decrease the risk of motorcycle accidents:
- Compete all necessary education and training courses and consider taking additional training courses to gain more skills and experience.
- Be aware of how visible you are—or are not—to vehicles. Never remain in a vehicle’s blind spot.
- Be extra cautious driving through intersections, especially those you know have unprotected left turns.
- Avoid sharing a lane with a vehicle—it is illegal in Colorado to lane split with a car.
- Never drink alcohol or imbibe drugs before riding.
- Do not follow vehicles too closely in case of sudden stops.
- Take curves and turns slowly to avoid going into opposing lanes, laying down your bike, or riding off the road.
If You Were in a Motorcycle Crash, Call Today
If you were involved in a traffic accident while riding your motorcycle, and you believe the driver was at fault, contact a Denver motorcycle accident lawyer today at the Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson. You can reach us through our online form or call (866) 458-5008 to schedule a free consultation.