motorcycle riderTypical Causes of Motorcycle Crashes

In 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a comprehensive report on the causes of motorcycle crashes. Some of the conclusions of this report were:

  • 81% of motorcycle crashes involved another motor vehicle, usually a passenger vehicle.
  • Human error was the primary cause of crashes, contributing to 94% of the crashes analyzed. Of the crashes caused by human error, more than half resulted from an error or failure on the part of the other vehicle driver. Most of the errors or failures of the other driver were perception failures.
  • The most frequent cause of crashes was a vehicle turning left in front of a motorcycle. Next most frequent were motorcycles falling on the roadway while attempting a collision avoidance maneuver. Sideswipe crashes, usually the result of a failure to properly check for traffic in blind spots before changing lanes, was also a frequent cause of crashes.
  • The typical crash involved a collision between a motorcycle and a turning motor vehicle at an intersection, or the entrance to a driveway or alley.

Common Injuries Associated With Motorcycle Accidents

Part of the sense of freedom that comes from riding a motorcycle is the feeling of being one with the motorcycle and the road as the wind and scenery rush past. Unfortunately, the flip side of this coin is that motorcycles do not offer any protection to their riders in an accident.

According to the National Safety Council, while motorcycles only account for 3% of all registered vehicles and just .6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S., motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2017. NTC – Motorcycle Safety is a Two-way Street. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that about 1 in 5 motorcycle collisions in Washington result in serious injury or death. WTSC – Motorcycles.

A motorcyclist is much more vulnerable to serious injury. As reported by Reuters, a Canadian study found that the rate of injury for motorcycle crashes is three times the injury rate for car crashes. Injuries from motorcycle accidents can include traumatic brain injuries, fractures or broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and back injuries. Helmets reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle accident by 37%. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury in a motorcycle accident by 69%. CDC Motorcycle Safety.