According to data from the National Safety Council, nearly 60 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve at least one other vehicle. In the majority of these accidents, it is the driver – not the motorcycle rider – who is to blame.
While many people assume that motorcycle riders are risk takers, the reality is that most riders do everything they can to stay safe. Typically, the most serious and fatal motorcycle accidents result from factors that are beyond the rider’s control.
Car, Truck, and SUV Drivers Are Responsible for Most Motorcycle Collisions
Although the drivers of other vehicles (such as cars, trucks, SUVs, etc.) are responsible for most collisions involving motorcycles, there is no single factor that explains why this is the case. Instead, the data suggest that multiple driving errors collectively account for the high number of motorcycle accidents in which a negligent driver is to blame.
This includes common driving errors, as well as negligent behavior behind the wheel:
Turning in Front of Approaching Motorcycles
Many motorcycle accidents happen because a motorist turns but fails to allow enough time to get out of the path of a motorcycle. This frequently happens when (a) drivers are attempting to turn left across one or more oncoming lanes of traffic and (b) drivers turn right at intersections without the right of way.
Crashes are entirely avoidable in both of these situations if drivers exercise adequate caution. However, once a motorist makes a dangerous turn, motorcycle riders are often helpless to avoid a collision.
Merging Into Motorcycle Riders’ Lanes
Collisions involving motorcycles also frequently involve drivers merging into riders’ lanes. In most cases, drivers make this mistake because they fail to check their blind spot before merging. Since motorcycles are not as large as other vehicles, they are not as visible on the road. However, this is not an excuse for drivers to cut off motorcycle riders or sideswipe them in traffic.
Tailgating is another common cause of motorcycle accidents that stems from unsafe driving. Following too closely is dangerous in all circumstances, but it can be especially dangerous when the vehicle in front is a motorcycle. If a driver who is tailgating a motorcycle does not react immediately, the driver is at high risk for hitting the motorcycle when it slows down or comes to a stop.
Braking Harshly at Intersections and in Heavy Traffic
Vehicles that suddenly brake in traffic or in an intersection can also be extremely dangerous for motorcyclists. Although more and more motorcycles come standard with antilock braking systems, loss of control is still a major concern when a rider has to come to a sudden stop.
The blame will generally be placed on the motorcyclist if a bike hits another vehicle. However, if the evidence shows that the driver of the vehicle failed to brake properly and this resulted in a situation where a crash could not be avoided, the motorcyclist may be entitled to compensation for injuries sustained in the accident.
Along with tailgating, various other forms of aggressive driving also significantly increase drivers’ risk of causing motorcycle accidents. This includes speeding, weaving through traffic, passing on the right, and road rage.
Most forms of aggressive driving are illegal precisely because they are so dangerous. Motorcycle riders who suffer injuries in accidents caused by aggressive drivers generally have strong claims for compensation.
Driving while distracted is another careless behavior on the part of motorists that can be especially dangerous for motorcycle riders. When drivers are distracted, they are not paying adequate attention to the road or the demands of operating a motor vehicle. As a result, they are far more likely to overlook potentially dangerous situations and make mistakes that can result in a serious or fatal accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Along with aggressive driving and drunk driving, driving while drunk or high is also extremely risky. Impaired driving puts everyone on the road at risk, but motorcyclists are especially vulnerable.
There is no excuse for getting behind the wheel while under the influence. In addition to the intoxicated driver, motorcyclists injured in accidents due to another motorist’s drunk driving may have claims against the establishment that served the alcohol under the Texas dram shop law.
What Happens When a Motorcycle Rider Is Partially to Blame?
While negligent drivers are to blame for many motorcycle accidents, in some cases riders will share responsibility for their injuries. Even when this is the case, riders can often still file claims for just compensation under Texas law.
If you have been injured in a collision, you should not make any assumptions about your legal rights. You should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Serious injuries and fatalities are common in motorcycle accidents. Although the other driver may be at fault, it can be difficult for riders and their families to recover the compensation they deserve.
Patrick Daniel Law is Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless. We will thoroughly investigate the crash, collect evidence, prepare a strong case on your behalf, and fight for a favorable result.
For a free case review, please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today. Our motorcycle accident lawyer serves clients throughout Houston and all of Texas.