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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

There is nothing quite as liberating as riding a motorcycle, but it comes at a price – motorcyclists are more prone to die in accidents than passenger vehicles motorists.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 5,290 motorcyclists were killed and 96,000 were injured in 2008.

In addition to factors that often cause or contribute to auto and large truck accidents (e.g., inclement weather, reckless driving, and vehicle malfunction), motorcyclists must face other hazards. These also include road hazards (e.g., potholes, gravel, and road slicks), and other motorists failure to see the motorcyclist.

Several reports suggest that nearly two thirds of all motor vehicle accidents are a result of a motorist in the car turning into the lane of a motorcycle and violating the motorcyclist’s right of way.  This most often occurs during heavy traffic or at night.  Other common causes include:

  • Speeding and disobeying traffic signals
  • Drinking and driving
  • Poor road and weather conditions
  • Negligence of other drivers
  • Equipment failure

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two percent more motorcyclists were killed in 2008 (totaling 5,290) than 2007 (totaling 5,174).  The total number of motorcycle motorists who were injured in 2008 also decreased, from 103,000 in 2007 to 96,000 in 2008.  Even though this number has decreased in a year, the number of motorcyclists injured has nearly doubled in the last 10 years.  In 1998, only 49,000 people were injured, and there were less than 2,300 fatalities.

Motorcycle Laws

A number of laws that are meant to promote the safety of motorcyclists are enacted in every state.  California has slightly more stringent laws.  For instance, California is one of a handful of states that requires the motorist to wear a helmet, regardless of his or her age and whether he or she has passengers.  Many other states only require a rider wear a helmet if the rider is younger than a certain age or if the rider has a passenger who’s younger than a certain age.  A study conducted by the University of Southern California found that the single most important factor in determining whether the rider (or passenger) lived or died after a crash was whether he or she wore a helmet.

California has several other requirements, such as daytime use of headlights, a passenger footrest if carrying a passenger, both a right and left mirror, rider’s education to be completed in California, among many other regulations.  These regulations promote motorcycle safety.

Motorcycle Accidents vs. Passenger Car Accidents

Many motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or death, whereas passenger vehicles can withstand much harder collisions and result in less severe injuries.  The potential severity of motorcycle accidents as compared to passenger car accidents makes it all the more important to seek legal representation and to find an attorney you trust.

Contact York Law Firm

As with any motor vehicle accident, motorcycle accidents can be the result of another driver’s negligence, recklessness or carelessness.  If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries or resulted in your loved one’s untimely death (known as wrongful death), you may be entitled to compensation.  York Law Firm has handled several motorcycle accidents and can help you get the compensation you deserve for your resulting injuries.

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