While motorcycle accidents may not be more common or occur more frequently than other types of accidents, they do typically result in a higher rate of serious injury and death. When you consider that a motorcyclist isn’t protected in the same way as the driver of a vehicle, it’s easy to see why.
There are several factors that come into play in order for a motorcycle accident to occur. Here are some of the most common.
1. Vehicles Making Left-Hand Turns
One of the most common, if not the most common, causes of motorcycle accidents is a vehicle turning left in front of a motorcycle rider. Just under half of all accidents involving motorcycles are caused by this maneuver. They most often occur when a motorcycle is either traveling straight through an intersection, attempting to pass the vehicle in front of them, or trying to overtake the vehicle.
A motorcyclist is less visible to a driver than another vehicle. It is not unusual for a motorcyclist to be somewhat permanently in the blind spot of a driver. Even if that driver looks in their mirrors, they may be unaware of the rider. You may think that a motorcycle is loud enough for any driver to hear, but this is not always the case.
2. Lane Splitting
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist decides to travel between two lanes of cars. It normally happens when vehicles are moving slowly, such as in a traffic jam. This maneuver is dangerous because of the reduced amount of space in which a motorcycle has to travel and react. It’s also dangerous because vehicle drivers don’t expect someone to behave in this way, meaning they aren’t watching for it.
Whether or not a motorcyclist is at fault in this type of accident depends on whether lane splitting is legal in the state that the accident occurs and, if so, whether the biker performed the maneuver legally. In California, lane splitting is legal, but does not have specific guidelines attached to it. As such, a judge may also consider the behaviors of the driver of the vehicle and the motorcyclist just prior to the accident’s occurrence.
3. Speeding and Alcohol
Nearly 50 percent of accidents that involve a single motorcycle have speeding or alcohol as a contributing factor. Unfortunately, these accidents often result in serious injury or death.
4. Road Hazards
Motorcycles cannot handle road hazards like passenger vehicles. They are less stable and smaller in size. Slick pavement, dead animals and uneven heights in the pavement can all present dangerous hazards to motorcycle riders. Motorcyclists should always be on the lookout for any changes in the pavement that could affect their ability to drive safely.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in San Luis Obispo, you have legal rights to be aware of. Reach out to our team today for more information about those rights. We have years of experience protecting the rights of accident victims in the city and surrounding area, and we will put that experience to work for you. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.