Car Drivers Are Responsible for Most Motorcycle Accidents

Are you aware of the biggest danger you face as a motorcycle rider in the Houston area? While many people love to cite statistics purporting the fact that bikers are more likely to get into accidents, few acknowledge that the root cause of most accidents lies elsewhere. According to government data, the majority of motorcycle collisions are actually caused by drivers of passenger vehicles, making it essential that even the most careful motorcycle riders have a Houston auto accident lawyer on call to help them protect their rights when they are the victims of a traffic accident. Understanding the Statistics The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) supports the fact that passenger vehicles are causing accidents. Although car accident lawyers, judges and insurance adjusters hear claims to the contrary from passenger vehicle drivers who want to escape fault, the statistical reality firmly places the blame on larger vehicles. The increased number of motorcycle accidents observed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) each year have little to do with rider safety practices. In fact, TXDOT notes that only 50 percent of extremely severe motorcycle crashes involve motorcycles alone. By contrast, in 60 percent of all collisions between motorcycles and cars, the motorists in the cars are found to be at fault. Cars vs. Bikes While it is true that motorcyclists are at slightly higher risk of getting into crashes on their own, they may be in even more danger when other cars are on the road. What makes these interactions so hazardous? Although motorists are wont to blame riders for reckless behavior, few actually respect motorcycles. For instance, passenger vehicles attempting to execute left-hand turns account for 42 percent of all motorcycle fatalities. In some cases, these drivers fail to give more than a cursory glance to their blind spots; they then cut bikers off because they are small enough to escape notice. In most instances, however, turning passenger cars simply collide with motorcyclists who have the right of way. Right of way accidents are extremely common; drivers who are not looking out for the small profile presented by a biker often fail to yield. Similarly, motorists who do not account for a motorcyclist’s reduced stopping distance may rear end them after following too closely. The NHTSA maintains that more than 50 percent of all deadly motorcycle accidents involve head-on collisions. With very few exceptions, passenger cars are found to be at fault in most of these accidents. Accident Factors One of the most commonly cited factors in modern accident statistics is distraction. While substance abuse and excessive speed continue to play roles in causing collisions, the fact that drivers devote attention to cell phones and other mobile devices places bikers at a definite disadvantage. Distracted drivers only have to look away from the road for a few seconds to close the gap between their cars and motorcycles in the vicinity. The brief amount of time it takes a driver to check their phone provides ample opportunity for serious collisions, and deaths are on the rise as a result. Calculating the Risk While some NHTSA statistics show that fewer car drivers are dying in motorcycle accidents, the fact that bikers lack the protective shell provided by a vehicle means they are much more vulnerable to the same collisions. Motorists who drift out of their lanes or try to cut other vehicles off in traffic are extremely likely to hit bikers and do serious damage, even if they themselves escape unscathed. Unfortunately, statistics are no substitute for proof. After an accident, a rider must ensure that their personal injury attorney uses information such as police report data and witness testimony to corroborate their account of what happened. Even though bikers are advised to make themselves more conspicuous if at all possible, it is best that they also prepare from a legal standpoint just in case.