4 driver behaviors that cause motorcycle accidents

Motorbike in a low angle shot in nature

Motorbike in a low angle shot in nature

When most motorists head out on the road, the last thing they want to experience is being involved in a deadly accident. However, this very thing happens every day. One of the most vulnerable populations on the roadway today are motorcyclists. Without great sheets of steel that have been specially designed to absorb the forces of an impact, motorcyclists may be severely injured in many kinds of accidents. For this reason, it is vital that other motorists increase their awareness of bikers.  A motorcycle accident lawyer in Las Vegas knows that it is a task that needs immediate attention if lives are to be saved.

A common sight

A recent motorcycle crash in the Las Vegas valley injured two people and led to the arrest of a third. According to the Review Journal, the accident occurred when a 17-year-old girl made a left turn in her sedan onto Maryland Parkway near Le Baron Drive. When the sedan made the turn, she pulled out in front of an oncoming motorcycle carrying two riders. The motorcycle hit the sedan’s driver side rear door and the bikers were thrown from the motorcycle. Both riders sustained substantial injuries and one was in critical condition following the crash, but the sedan’s occupants reported no injuries.

The most disturbing part of collisions like this is how they are largely preventable in nature.  Unfortunately, they are also very common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,553 motorcyclists were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2005. Of those killed, 2,532, or 56 percent, were involved in multivehicle collisions. Two-vehicle crashes occurred in 89 percent of these cases, and of those two vehicle-crashes, 85 percent involved a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle. The NHTSA reports that when this type of accident occurs, 98 percent of fatalities are the bikers.

What motorists can do

A motorcycle accident lawyer in Las Vegas knows that motorist education is the most vital and effective tool that can be used to prevent motorcycle accidents from occurring. Motorists should consider the following four driver behaviors that cause or contribute to motorcycle accidents every day:

  1. Failure to yield

The NHTSA reports that in three-quarters of all fatal accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, the motorcycle crashes into the other vehicle. Furthermore, in 35 percent of these accidents, the driver of the motor vehicle fails to yield right-of-way to the motorcyclist. This often occurs at left-hand turns. When a motorist is preparing to make a left turn onto a major road, they may not see a biker traveling straight through the intersection. When making the left turn, the bike is unable to stop in time and collides with the side of the car. Many motorist actions give bikers little to no time to respond to prevent a collision.

  1. Speeding

Although motorcyclists often assume the blame for speeding, motor vehicle drivers are not immune to the practice. Unfortunately, speeding is a major problem for drivers of all types of vehicles. Speeding can be especially dangerous around motorcycles because bikes are able to maneuver in ways that other motorists cannot. Motorists who are driving the speed limit usually have ample time to stop responsibly without fear of colliding with the back of a motorcycle.

  1. Low awareness

A major root cause behind most motorcycle vs. car accidents is inattention while driving. Motorists simply often fail to look for and expect motorcyclists to be there, therefore they are prone to missing a biker’s presence. A study performed by researchers at The Australian National University examined why motorists often fail to yield to bikers. It found that instead of inexperience or carelessness, drivers’ brains may not be trained to recognize that motorcycles are even present.

Forty adult drivers participated in the study. Their driver perception was evaluated while using a driving simulator. Researchers aimed to measure how well drivers detected and responded to different vehicles if they appeared with greater frequency in the simulation. Drivers were to indicate when they noticed a motorcycle or bus, the amount of which varied for each driver.

Through the study, researchers found that even when motorists were reminded to be aware of motorcycles or buses, they instead showed a bias for the type of vehicle that they saw most often throughout the test. When the participants were shown more motorcycles, their detection time decreased and their reaction time increased by three seconds. Researchers state that this low-prevalence effect may be a major factor in many motorcycle accidents.

  1. Dangerous lane change

When cars make lane changes around bikers, it can result in serious accidents. If a motorist is aware of the biker and consciously takes note of his or her presence, the lane change can be executed safely. However, many motorists fail to look for motorcycles and instead look for cars. Once their brains have signaled that cars are not occupying a lane, they will often move over without looking for a bike. Additionally, many motorists fail to understand that bikers may not be visible in their mirrors because of their smaller size. This can result in a bike striking the back of a passenger vehicle, or the car side-swiping the motorcycle.

Regardless of the cause of an accident, motorists are held responsible for their actions while on the roadway. Motorcyclists who have been injured in an accident can receive compensation for their injuries. Accident victims should contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Las Vegas as soon after an accident as possible for the best chance at receiving maximum results.