With Motorcycle Awareness Month arriving in May, once again, all motorists must understand the importance of sharing the road with these smaller, gas-efficient and adventurous two-wheelers. Obey the traffic rules, pay attention and make space for every motorcycle on residential roads, busy streets and highways.
Many of America’s motorcyclists can provide firsthand accounts about close calls that they have had on the road with cars, pickups, SUVs, big-rig trucks and, even, other motorcycles. Perhaps the biggest dangers that they face on the road are other motorists. There are many reasons for motorcycle accidents that in 2018 injured an estimated 82,000 people and led to the deaths of 4,985.
Turning left in front and changing lanes
Urban areas must get extra attention, too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that motorcycle deaths increased in urban areas by 33% in the 10 years from 2009 to 2018. Inattentive and distracted driving often are at the root of many accidents between motorcycles and other vehicles.
Here are some of the more common driver errors that threaten motorcyclists every day:
- Turning left in front of the motorcyclist. This situation leads to some of the most common motorcycle accidents. In some instances, the car or truck driver may not have seen the motorcyclist or misjudged the speed of the motorcycle. However, the accident cause also may be attributed to not seeing the motorcycle.
- Changing lanes into the path of the motorcycle. Suddenly, a motor vehicle driver veers into the road space of a motorcyclist. Blind spots often are at the root of this type of accident. Drivers just cannot see the smaller motorcycle or are not aware.
- Failing to stop and rear-ending a motorcyclist. Once again, the motor vehicle driver may not have seen the motorcyclist or was not paying attention. Although such collisions between larger motor vehicles may be a minor fender bender, these accidents can prove fatal to a motorcyclist.
Every year, motorcycle awareness campaigns surface when the weather gets warmer and riders seek to take advantage of the joy and freedom on a motorcycle. More motorists must be on board in understanding the importance of safety and being alert when sharing the road with motorcyclists.