While the number of auto fatalities have decreased even with more four-wheeled vehicles on the road, the number of motorcycle fatalities continues to rise. While there has been an increase in motorcycle riders in recent years, partially due to rising gas prices, the percentages do not add up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of motorcycles increased 63% over seven years, yet the number of fatalities went up 228% in the same period. With the majority of motorcycle fatalities involving two or more vehicles, it is often the fault of another motorist when a motorcycle rider dies.
Motorists Ownership Of Motorcycle Fatalities
Although there are many motorcyclists that have died due to pure accident or even poor decisions, many fatalities are caused by negligent motorists sharing the road with motorcycles. The NHTSA estimates that a motorcycle rider is 37 times more likely to die in a crash than an occupant of a passenger vehicle, per mile driven. This means that when a four-wheeled vehicle and a motorcycle crash, the one most likely to lose their life will be the motorcyclist.
In 2008, there were 2,387 fatal crashes that involved a motorcycle and another vehicle. In 41% of these fatal accidents, the other vehicle was turning left when it hit the motorcycle. This is a glaring point at how often motorcycles are not seen or yielded to on the road, especially at intersections. A left hand turn accident is almost always the fault of the turning vehicle, which means that these motorcyclists lost their life due to the negligence and inattention of another driver.
Motorist Negligence And Motorcycle Fatalities
The most common words most likely uttered from a motorist who strikes a motorcycle is “ I did not see them”. Although motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, they certainly are not invisible. However, if a driver is not taking the time to look closely or check blind spots, they may miss the motorcycle that is riding next to them or coming toward them from the other direction. Common causes of accidents that lead to motorcycle fatalities include:
- Distracted driving. More and more drivers are fiddling with electronic devices while driving. The all-important email, call or text message that takes their attention from the road for just a few seconds can take a motorcyclists life.
- Blind spots. Just using mirrors to check traffic to change lanes is not enough to detect a motorcyclist riding along side a passenger vehicle. Driver’s need to look over their shoulder and check blind spots.
- Poor driving. Cutting off a motorcycle, tailgating or changing lanes without signaling can easily create a dangerous situation for a motorcyclist.
Families who lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident are understandably devastated and want justice for their loss. When a motorcyclist’s life is taken due to the negligence of another motorist, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. While no amount of money can ever replace the loss of a spouse, parent or child, it can set an example and cover financial expenses that are caused by the loss of a loved one.