Motorcycle Crashes and Fatalities: Understanding the Most Common Causes
Although summer is over, many motorcycle enthusiasts still enjoy riding during the autumn months. Unfortunately, this also means there will be motorcycle accidents that may lead to serious injury or fatality. The causes of motorcycle crashes are mixed, but previous studies suggest that vehicle drivers – not motorcyclists – are most often responsible. If you are a motorcyclist, then understanding the most common causes may be able to help keep you safe. If you are a driver, then it is critical that you know how to effectively share the road with two-wheeled motorists; it could save a life.
Human Error Most Frequent Cause of Motorcycle Crashes
Generally, a motor vehicle accident is caused by environmental factors, human error, vehicle failure, or any combination of these three. When it comes to crashes that involve two-wheeled vehicles, an in-depth study from the Association of European Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM), the most common cause can be traced back to human error. In particular, the analysis of 921 motorcycle accidents found that the automobile driver (referred to in the study as the “other vehicles”) had been primarily responsible for the accident (just over half). In contrast, motorcyclists were found to be the primary cause of approximately 38 percent of the accidents.
An Alarming 70 Percent of Drivers Did Not “See” the Motorcyclist
Despite the annual campaigns and consistent use of phrases that remind drivers to “look twice,” the study found that most still fail to “see” motorcyclists. In fact, an alarming 70 percent reported that they had not perceived the motorcycle rider prior to the crash. Yet, interestingly enough, the study shows that drivers who are also licensed motorcyclists were less likely to experience this all too common phenomenon.
Additional Contributing Factors
Excess speed is often blamed for motorcycle accidents, particularly when it comes to addressing these accidents in lawsuits. However, the study analysis found that very few of the cases were actually caused by speeding. Instead, they determined that 18 percent could be attributed to differential lag – one vehicle (or both) was moving faster or slower than the traffic around them. Another 13 percent of the accidents involved poor accident-avoidance strategy or execution. In other words, in that short span of time that they could see the accident coming, they made the wrong choice.
Where to Turn When You or a Loved One is Injured
Immediately after an accident, life is often turned upside down. This can be especially true for those who were riding a motorcycle since their injuries are often more severe than automobile drivers and passengers. The addition of medical bills, final expenses, lost time from work, or the grief of losing someone you love can further compound the stress, anxiety, and sadness.
At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we understand just how much you have lost. Our experienced Milwaukee, Wisconsin motorcycle accident attorneys have been serving victims and their families since 1968, and we know how important it is to have someone you can trust. Dedicated to your best interest, we work hard to negotiate the fair settlement that you and your family deserve. Let us handle the details so you can focus on what is most important. Call 414-271-1440 and schedule your consultation today.