The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

motorcycle accident common causes

When riding a motorcycle, we can enjoy the thrill of the open road and the feeling of the wind whipping around us. So many Americans enjoy riding a motorcycle, whether as an individual or in a group. In fact, more Americans than ever are riding motorcycles. Over 1.5 million American households have purchased motorcycles in the last four years. A recent Motorcycle Industry Council report revealed that U.S. motorcycle ownership increased to 13,158,200 in 2018 from 11,704,500 motorcycles in 2009. With an increase in motorcycle ownership, it is helpful to learn more about the causes of motorcycle accidents and ways to prevent them. The best way to stop Atlanta motorcycle accidents from happening is for all drivers on the road to be more cautious and to follow all traffic laws.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics in the United States

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the following regarding motorcycle accidents in 2016:

  • 5,286 motorcyclists were killed in 2016, a 5.1% increase from 2017
  • Motorcycle fatalities happened 28 times more often than passenger car fatalities per miles traveled.
  • 37% of motorcycle riders in fatal crashes had the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers than any other vehicle type.
  • 26% of motorcyclists involved in fatal traffic accidents did not have a valid motorcycle license while riding. 
  • Helmets saved an estimated 1,859 motorcyclists. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, approximately 802 more lives could have been saved in 2016.

Where do Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

  • 34% of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections.
  • Weather does not appear to be a significant reason for motorcycle accidents. 97% of motorcycle accidents occur in clear or cloudy weather. Only 2% occurred in rainy weather. 
  • 59% of motorcycle accidents occurred during daylight hours. 36% happened when it was dark outside.
  • 32% of crashes happened on a non-interstate principal arterial road. The next largest group, 21% occurred on a non-interstate minor arterial road. One might think that due to the higher speed of drivers on highways, more accidents would happen on highways, but only 9% of motorcycle accidents occurred on highways.
  • The majority of motorcycle accidents, 57% occurred in urban areas. 43% occurred in rural areas

What are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

  • In 2016, 55% of fatal motorcycle accidents were collisions with other motor vehicles. 
  • 72% of motorcycle crashes occurred when a car hit a motorcycle in the motorcycle’s front end. 
  • In 2016, 33% of motorcycle riders were speeding who were involved in fatal motorcycle crashes. This percentage is higher than in other types of car accidents. For example, in 19% of passenger car fatal accidents, the driver was speeding.
  • Of the 4,950 fatal motorcycle accidents, 25% of them involved a driver with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher.

Wearing a Helmet is an Easy Way to Prevent Death or Injury

Another major cause of fatalities is failure to wear a helmet. Helmets saved an estimated 1,859 motorcyclists in 2016. According to estimates, helmets have a 37% chance of preventing fatal motorcycle rider injuries. They have a 41% chance of saving the life of motorcycle passengers when worn. The National Occupant Protection Use Survey estimated that only 65.3% of motorcycle riders wore helmets in 2016. This is a woefully small percentage. This is especially true when wearing a helmet can save one’s life or reduce the amount of injury to those in motorcycle accidents.

Only 19 states legally required helmet use for motorcyclists. Interestingly, in states that require that motorcyclists wear helmets, 96% of riders involved in fatal crashes were wearing helmets when the accident occurred. It appears that legally requiring helmets increases the percentage of motorcyclists that actually wear them. This decreases the risk of death or injury among riders in those states.

What Damages are Available to Injured Victims of Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia?

In Georgia, motorcycle owners must carry $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person. They must also cover $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident and $25,000 of property liability coverage per accident. It is a wise decision to carry medical payments insurance as well when you ride a motorcycle.

If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, we can make sure you receive a fair amount from the other party’s insurance company. If they do not offer a reasonable amount, you may need to bring a personal injury lawsuit against them. Successful personal injury plaintiffs are entitled to two types of compensation — specific and general compensation. 

Specific compensation covers easily quantifiable losses such as medical bills, hospital bills, physical therapy costs, property damage, lost wages, the cost of in-home health care, etc. General damages cover physical and emotional pain and suffering, emotional distress, and capacity to work.

If You Have Been in an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident, We are Here to Help

We recommend setting up a legal consultation with an attorney as soon as possible after your motorcycle accident. You may not even think that you have been injured severely enough to warrant seeing an attorney. Keep in mind, however, that some injuries from motorcycle accidents get worse in the days after the crash. Common motorcycle accident injuries include whiplash, head injuries, and neck injuries. 

After the shock of the accident wears off, you may begin to feel more pain or notice more problems in the weeks after the accident. It is crucial to have a full medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident to determine the true extent of your injuries. It is wise not to agree to a settlement or insurance payment until you have discussed your case with an attorney. The attorneys at Cambre & Associates represent clients throughout Atlanta, Georgia, and the greater surrounding area. We are experts at Atlanta motorcycle accident personal injury law and look forward to hearing from you. Please contact us or call us at (770) 769-5964 to set up a consultation today.