What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?
According to the New York State Department of Health, an average of 166 people die each year from motorcycle crashes throughout the state, and another 1,600 are treated and released from an emergency department each year as a result of motorcycle crashes, an average of 11 people per day.
There’s no denying that motorcycles appeal to a segment of the population that enjoys the freedom and connection with the road that is only offered on two wheels. But there is also no denying the elevated risk of injury or death posed to motorcycle drivers. Per mile driven, motorcyclists are approximately 37 times more likely to die in an auto accident than the occupants of a passenger car.
The inherent nature of driving a motorcycle poses higher risks to those driving them:
– Motorcycle drivers are exposed to direct contact between the pavement and other vehicles.
– Motorcycles are not as stable since they only have two wheels and are more susceptible to inclement weather and road defects such as potholes or poorly maintained roadways.
– They are smaller and lighter and thus susceptible to greater damage, even from light impacts, from larger vehicles like cars, trucks, or buses.
– Motorcycles lack the visibility of larger vehicles and are thus more susceptible to being involved in accidents with drivers who failed to notice them.
Motorcyclists must observe the same rules of the road as other drivers in New York, but even the most cautious and defensive motorcyclist may find themselves involved in a serious accident due to no fault of their own.
It’s important to be aware of what the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are so you can remain extra vigilant when those moments present themselves.
Cars Making Left-Hand Turns
The most dangerous situation for a motorcyclist occurs when cars are making left hand turns. Cars often strike a motorcycle when the motorcyclist is going straight through the intersection and trying to pass or overtake the turning car. Motorcycles that pass within the same lane are even more likely to be struck since car drivers don’t suspect such a maneuver.
These types of accidents are also common between two cars, but the smaller size of a motorcycle makes them difficult to notice, and the chance of injuries is much more likely for a motorcyclist.
Motorcyclists often take advantage of their small size by driving in between two lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic, which is known as lane splitting.
This poses a danger to motorcyclists due to their close proximity to other vehicles and the fact that most drivers would not expect someone to be passing them in slowed or stopped traffic.
Lane splitting is illegal in the state of New York.
Speeding and Alcohol Use
Approximately half of all accidents involving a single motorcycle are caused due to speeding or alcohol use. While these factors play a substantial role in car accidents as well, they are much more severe for motorcyclists since they are afforded no protection by their vehicle.
Motorcycles are also much more vulnerable to road hazards due to the smaller size and less stable nature of a two-wheeled vehicle. Potholes, slick pavement, uneven asphalt between lanes, unexpected objects like debris or litter can all pose a serious safety threat to motorcyclists.
Following a Motorcycle Accident
It is important to understand that New York’s no-fault insurance is not the same for cars and motorcycles. Normally, no fault covers the damages, hospital bills, and lost wages for car drivers, regardless of who was at fault. No-fault also limits lawsuits except in the case of severe injuries including fractures, loss of limb, and death, among others. But no-fault views motorcycles as inherently dangerous and does not cover them.
Therefore, motorcycle drivers must carry private insurance to cover them in case of an accident. Unlike car drivers, however, motorcyclists have the right to file a lawsuit without having to meet the severe injury threshold put forward by no-fault, meaning it is much easier to put forward a lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries, even if they are relatively minor.
It is important for motorcyclists to understand how they are covered, and what rights they have following an accident. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important that you speak immediately with a team of qualified professionals who can ensure you receive the compensation necessary to cover hospital bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Our New York motorcycle accident attorneys at Greenberg & Stein have helped numerous motorcycle accident victims throughout the area, and are well-known for taking on and winning difficult cases. Attorneys from our firm have received recognition from prestigious organizations such as the Million Dollar Advocates Forum as well as the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a rare honor that less than 1% of attorneys ever receive.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident in New York, don’t wait any longer to take action. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour phone line, so don’t hesitate to call us following your motorcycle accident in New York. Call us today at 888-411-3966 to schedule your free legal consultation.