Motorcyclists love to ride for the feel of adventure, to be able to easily trek on scenic backroads or take an epic road trip, maybe exploring Route 66. Yet motorcyclists also know they face more accident and injury risks while on the road. In 2018, according to the Insurance Information Institute, 82,000 motorcyclists suffered injuries in vehicle crashes; 4,985 riders died in accidents.
As a rider, you always have to be aware of your surroundings and be aware of when an accident may occur. So, here are five of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and how to prevent them:
- Left-turn accidents. These are the most common type of motorcycle accidents and often car drivers cause these crashes. The car driver doesn’t see the motorcycle or doesn’t stop in time when turning left, hitting a motorcycle. As a motorcyclist, the best way to prevent a left-turn accident is to be cautious when you see a car about to turn left. Don’t speed through intersections and watch for drivers looking both ways before they turn left.
- Lane switching accidents. These accidents most often occur when drivers don’t see a motorcyclist in their blind spot and collide with motorcyclists when entering the same lane. Motorcyclists should try to stay out of motorists’ blind spots as much as possible. If you can see a car’s mirrors, a driver is more likely to see you. If you are in a driver’s blind spot, speed up or slow down to get out of it.
- Head-on motorcycle crashes. Unsurprisingly, head-on motorcycle crashes are the deadliest to riders. They most often occur when both a motorist and motorcyclist are driving at high speeds. To avoid a head-on collision, motorcyclists should practice the National Safety Council’s four Rs:
- Read the road ahead
- Drive to the Right
- Reduce your speed
- Ride off the road
- Motorcycle lane-splitting accidents. Sometimes, when traffic is heavy or moving slowly, motorcyclists decide to ride in between traffic lanes. This increases the risk of an accident because drivers don’t expect motorcyclists to be riding between lanes or any vehicle to pass them in congested traffic. Lane-splitting also gives motorcyclists less room to maneuver. The best way to avoid a lane-splitting accident is to avoid lane-splitting, which is prohibited in Illinois and many other states.
- Drunk driving motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, alcohol plays a big role in motorcycle accidents. Riders who drive while intoxicated are more likely to cause an accident and suffer more serious injuries. That’s why it’s important riders never drink and drive.
While motorcycle accidents are happening less frequently in recent years, riders always need to exercise caution on the road. By practicing safe riding techniques and staying alert to your surroundings, you are less likely to become involved in a crash and suffer a serious injury.