Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in North Carolina
Riding motorcycles is a popular and enjoyable pastime, but it can be dangerous. The chances of sustaining severe and/or disabling injuries are multiplied for motorcyclists and their passengers. The likelihood of being injured in a motorcycle accident is extremely high: 98% for multiple vehicle collisions and 96% for single-vehicle collisions. ‘Accident’ refers to an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone’s fault or negligence. Most motorcycle accidents are caused by another individual’s negligence. You can do your part to stay safe by using defensive driving techniques, but you can not control the actions of other motorists. Another driver’s negligence can change your life in the blink of an eye.
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents
- Driver negligence – Failure to see the motorcycle, failure to yield, etc.
- Inclement weather
- Road hazards / poor road condition
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI), DWI, Drunk driving
Failure to See the Motorcycle
The leading cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of the motorist to see the motorcyclist. In approximately one-half of all motor vehicle accidents, the view of the motorcycle was limited by glare or obstructed by other vehicles. A critical factor for motorcyclists is conspicuity or the act of making yourself noticeable on the road.
- Wear colorful clothing
- use signals and headlights
- the most important thing to remember is to never drive in a car’s blind spot
The safest way to share the road is to follow this advice, ‘Assume that you are invisible to other motorists and operate your motorcycle accordingly.‘ Almost 70% of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections because drivers do not see the motorcycle. Since motorcycles are smaller, other motorists often misjudge how fast a motorcyclist is traveling and turn into their path of travel causing an accident. This can also happen while on the highway when changing lanes or simply coming to a stop in traffic. Tailgating increases the risk of multiple vehicle collisions and motorcyclist ejections especially when sudden stops or abrupt lane changes are involved.
Uncontrollable factors like inclement weather can also set the stage for accidents. Inclement weather and obstacles prove more hazardous for motorcycles than other motor vehicles. Be more cautious when operating your motorcycle during inclement weather, on slippery road surfaces or when encountering obstacles on the highway. Drivers of other motor vehicles are expected to use ‘caution of care’ while driving and should be able to avoid motorcycle crashes by driving safely and responsibly. However, accidents do happen, so protect yourself by being a defensive driver at all times and in all conditions.
Driving Under the Influence
The worst kind of negligence is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One-half of all fatal single-vehicle motorcycle crashes involved alcohol. Operating a motorcycle requires more skill and coordination than driving a car. Even the smallest amount of a substance can decrease a motorcyclist’s ability to operate the motorcycle safely. Minimal impairment is maximum impairment when on a motorcycle.
Below are some statistics from North Carolina to illustrate just how deadly drinking and driving can be, especially for motorcyclists.
- 40-45% of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking; only a third of these riders were legally drunk.
- 90% of crashes resulting in injury involved substances, compared to 33% of car accidents.
At Hardison & Cochran, our Wake County motorcycle accident attorneys and staff are committed to assisting motorcycle drivers, passengers and their families cope with the consequences resulting from motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle crashes, car accidents and truck wrecks. We are also committed to your safety. If you have lost a friend or family member or if you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us. We can help.