Riding a motorcycle provides an unmatched sense of freedom and adventure that draws millions of enthusiasts to the hobby. However, motorcycles’ lack of stability and protection also makes them vulnerable in crashes. Some motorcycle collision types lead to more rider fatalities and severe injuries than others. Understanding the top accident causes and learning preventative measures can help you stay safe while enjoying your bike. This article outlines the five most dangerous motorcycle crashes and expert tips to avoid them.
1. Blind Spot Crashes
Blind spot collisions rank as the top threat to motorcyclists’ safety. A large amount of motorcycle vs. vehicle crashes result from drivers failing to see a nearby motorcycle and encroaching into its path during merges, lane changes, or turns. These frequent yet preventable “no zone” accidents often have devastating consequences.
Here is why blind spot crashes occur and how to reduce risks:
Causes of Blind Spot Accidents
Blind spots, also called no zones, refer to the areas around cars, trucks, and buses where vehicle drivers have limited visibility. Blind zones typically stem from obstructions created by vehicle pillars, frames, cargo, mirrors, and passengers. Drivers then fail to thoroughly scan these obscured areas before changing road positions.
Even conscientious drivers that perform all necessary checks can overlook motorcycles due to their smaller profiles. Motorcycles also accelerate faster than cars, meaning they can vanish from a driver’s field of view quickly or abruptly appear in blind areas.
Preventing Blind Spot Crashes
While cars have inherent vision limitations, riders can take these key steps to avoid no zone collisions:
- Wear brightly colored gear and use headlights to stand out.
- Change lanes cautiously, double-checking for passing vehicles.
- Avoid lingering in adjacent lanes near vehicles’ rear ends or sides.
- Identify shaded areas around vehicles where you may be harder to spot.
- Signal early so drivers know your movement intentions well in advance.
- Use particular care when large trucks with expansive sight obstructions are near.
Proper sideways spacing, lane positioning, and signaling can dramatically cut blind spot risks. Still, drivers must thoroughly check their surroundings before any roadway position shifts.
2. Head-On Collisions
Survival rates prove extremely low for motorcyclists in frontal impacts due to the sheer force involved even when wearing safety gear.
Causes of Frontal Collisions
Head-on motorcycle accidents typically stem from excessive speed, improper passing maneuvers, or loss of control. Risks heighten at intersections lacking turn lanes or with limited visibility. Riders also sometimes stray into oncoming traffic inadvertently due to distractions or poor lane maintenance. Headlight glare at night can further hide approaching vehicles.
Preventing Head-On Crashes
To avoid head-on tragedies:
- Equip motorcycles with anti-lock brakes (ABS) to allow straight stops.
- Scan ahead consistently to identify risks early when possible.
- Drive defensively, ready to react to sudden roadway hazards.
- Refrain from illegal or unsafe passing attempts.
- Use particular alertness navigating intersections or curves.
Proper gears, vigilance, speed regulation, and passing protocols significantly reduce frontal impact risks. Still, wearing a sturdy helmet and body armor represents a rider’s last line of defense.
3. Roadway Debris and Obstacle Crashes
Striking objects on roadways causes thousands of single-vehicle motorcycle crashes annually. Obstacles usually involve tire treads, fallen cargo, metal scraps, tree limbs, construction supplies, large animals, and more. Riders suffer extensively from these crashes despite bikes’ low speeds during accidents.
Causes & Dangers
Debris strikes often result in serious leg, foot, and ankle injuries. Riders typically remain seated so their lower extremities absorb the brunt of impact trauma as bikes abruptly stop, frequently crushing limbs against solid frame areas.
Spinal cord and neck injuries also occur commonly as riders thrust violently over handlebars while mostly restrained by safety harnesses. Road rash frequently results.
Without leg mobility to run off impacts, accident debris strikes disable riders in precarious positions vulnerable to secondary collisions.
Preventing Obstacle Crashes
To avoid frequent yet preventable road debris and obstacle accidents:
- Scan ahead consistently to notice debris early.
- Report observed loose impediments to highway agencies promptly.
- Slow with added following distance to allow reaction time.
- Inspect tire treads and pressure routinely to prevent blowouts.
- Anticipate wildlife suddenly entering roadways during night or dusk hours.
Proper attentiveness, speed control, reporting diligence, and equipment checks drastically reduce motorcyclists’ collision rates with debris. Still, riders must wear sturdy boots, knee guards, and shin protection to mitigate lower limb damage when a crash occurs.
4. Unhelmeted Rider Crashes
Wearing compliant motorcycle helmets decreases fatal head injury risks. Still, every year plenty of riders are killed in crashes without helmets, with many deaths occurring from relatively minor accidents.
Here is further insight on unhelmeted crashes:
Causes & Consequences
Most unhelmeted rider deaths result from single-vehicle collisions occurring at low speeds. These accidents would likely prove survivable if proper helmets were worn.
Some riders choose inadequate novelty helmets incorrectly believing they provide sufficient protection. Youthful riders also often disregard parents’ safety warnings and helmet rules due to perceived invincibility.
Additionally, many states still lack universal helmet laws. Only 19 states and D.C. currently require all motorcycle riders to wear DOT-approved helmets. This legislative patchwork enables bareheaded riding.
Preventing Unhelmeted Crashes
Help avert preventable tragedy by:
- Wearing a properly fitted, DOT-rated helmet on every ride.
- Ensuring all passengers wear appropriate protective headgear.
- Fastening chin straps tightly so helmets stay on if impacted.
- Assertively speaking out when those you care for ride unprotected.
Properly worn, compliant helmets keep riders safe through countless otherwise fatal accidents annually. States lacking universal helmet laws should amend legislation to mandate their usage.
5. Impaired Driver Crashes
Alcohol and drugs slow rider reaction times and impair decision-making abilities essential for operating unstable two-wheel vehicles. Intoxicated motor vehicle drivers also represent a severe threat. Impaired car and truck drivers cause nearly 1/3 of motorcycle vs other vehicle fatal crashes due to delayed reactions and recklessness.
Here is how to avoid motorcycle vs drunk driver accidents:
Causes & Statistics
Of all traffic fatalities, drunk drivers cause:
- 75% of deaths on weekend nights
- Nearly 50% of daytime deaths
Chemical impairment inevitably reduces faculties needed to spot, process, and appropriately respond to motorcyclists within narrow time frames.
Preventing Drunk Driver Crashes
To guard against drunk drivers:
- Separate yourself from erratic drivers promptly.
- Recognize signs of impairment like drifting, variable speeds.
- Avoid riding during highest risk night and early morning hours.
- Never ride impaired under any circumstances.
While riders can drive defensively, drunk vehicle drivers endanger everyone. Proactive law enforcement and public safety campaigns targeting intoxicated driving remain imperative.
Seek Legal Help if Injured
Implementing safe riding techniques lowers risk, but accidents still happen frequently. If you or loved one suffers injury in a crash involving another driver’s negligence or error, discuss options with an experienced motorcycle injury attorney immediately. Skilled lawyers can help recover damages to cover extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation costs, lost income from missed work due to injuries, motorcycle repair or replacement, and pain and suffering.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, visit one of our offices at:
- Westerville – 4151 Executive Pkwy, Suite 355, Westerville, OH 43081
- Mansfield – 33 S. Lexington-Springmill Rd, Mansfield, OH 44906
Or call now for a free consultation on (614) 224-4114.