There are lots of fun things to do in Utah in the summer, including riding motorcycles. Many of the LeBaron & Jensen P.C. attorneys and staff enjoy riding motorcycles themselves. Because we ride, we understand the dangers one faces when riding a motorcycle, such as low visibility. Motorcycles are much smaller, and less protective than cars, resulting in more fatal accidents. Although motorcycle accidents aren’t more frequent than car accidents, they have a higher risk of serious injury and death. In 2017, for every mile traveled, there were 27 times more deaths from motorcycle accidents than from car accidents.
Motorcycle vs Car Accident Statistics
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2017, it was reported that there were 8.7 million motorcycles registered, and that out of those, there were 89,000 injuries reported in connection to a motorcycle accident. It was also reported that for every 100,000 registered vehicles, that there was only an average of 30.57 fatal crashes involving passenger cars and light trucks. In contrast, there were 61.11 fatal crashes involving motorcycles for every 100,000 registered motorcycles. This means that fatal motorcycle accidents are 50% more likely to happen than fatal car crashes.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Due to these alarming statistics, it pays for riders to learn about the most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents, and then use this information to reduce their level of risk. Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Head-On Collisions – 78% of motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles occur when another car strikes a motorcycle head-on, these collisions are often fatal to the motorcyclist.
- Cars Making Left-Hand Turns – these kinds of collisions account for 42% of all motorcycle accidents involving a car. The turning car usually strikes the motorcycle when the motorcyclist is going straight through an intersection, passing the car, or trying to overtake the car. In these situations, the vehicle making the turn will almost always be found at fault.
- Motorcycle Lane Filtering – Lane filtering occurs when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving cars. This is only legal in Utah when the speed limit is above 45 mph (but never on freeways), and there are 2 or more adjacent lanes in the same direction of travel. Utah law also states that motorcyclists may only filter between stopped vehicles, and that their maximum speed while doing so is 15 mph.
- Speeding/Alcohol Use – 50% of single motorcycle accidents are caused by speeding or alcohol use.
- Motorcycles and Fixed Objects – 25% of motorcyclist deaths are accounted for by collisions involving motorcyclists and fixed objects. A fixed object is anything considered part of the roadway, naturally occurring objects, and any object otherwise fixed to the ground. These include traffic signs, mailboxes, curbs, fire hydrants, fences, etc.
When it comes to driving a motorcycle, it’s important to be as safe as possible. A good rule of thumb would be to follow these 6 Motorcycle Safety Tips:
- Always Wear a Helmet
- Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
- Drive Defensively
- Follow Traffic Laws
- Maximize Visibility
- Perform Regular Maintenance
Motorcycles and cars should be able to safely share the road. If both motorcyclists and drivers make a conscious effort to be aware of each other, then the roads will be much safer for everyone and the number of motorcycle fatalities will be reduced. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact LeBaron & Jensen today at 801-773-9488 for your free, no-obligation case evaluation, and to discuss your motorcycle accident case with a lawyer.