According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 8.6 million motorcycles on the road in 2015. At Trantolo & Trantolo, many of us ride and are always happy to see others with two wheels on the road. However, safety remains a concern for us and the motorcycle community as a whole. The NHTSA further reported 4,976 motorcycle fatalities in 2015, an increase of 8.3% from the previous year. We review 5 common causes of fatal motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.

Making a Left Turn

Motorcyclists riding by a mountain rangePer the NHTSA, about 36 percent of all motorcycle fatalities involve another motorist making a left turn. When a driver approaches an intersection, it is more difficult to see a motorcycle coming because of its smaller size. If a car or truck driver does see a bike approaching, they often underestimate the rider’s speed and pull out in front.

To avoid a crash with a motorcyclist, take the time to assess your surroundings before proceeding at an intersection. Bikers can also help by wearing reflective clothing that makes them more visible.

Head-On Collisions

When a car and motorcycle are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is a head-on collision more than half the time. Motorcyclists have significantly less protection than a car or truck driver, even when wearing the appropriate riding gear. Being hit by a moving vehicle head-on is almost always fatal for motorcycle riders. To prevent this type of accident, all drivers and riders should stay alert and sober behind the wheel.

Road Hazards

Motorcycles are smaller than cars, offer less protection and can be unstable. When unexpected road hazards, such as potholes, gravel, leaves or slick spots surprise a rider, the result could be fatal. These types of accidents often occur when a rider approaches a curve and hits a hazardous patch in the middle of the road. As riders, we do everything we can to ride defensively, but we can all help prevent these crashes by slowing down at corners.

Speeding and Alcohol

Finally, just as car and truck drivers are killed every day in drunk driving accidents, motorcyclists are very vulnerable to the effects of speed and alcohol on two wheels. About 50 percent of all accidents involving a single motorcycle are caused by excessive speed and alcohol consumption. The solution to prevent these fatalities is simple: do not drink and get on your bike!

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives up the line separating two lanes of a road. They often use this maneuver to get ahead of traffic, but it is extremely dangerous and illegal in Connecticut. Lane splitting is often a cause of motorcycle accidents, when an unsuspecting driver attempts to change lanes on a congested highway or opens their door. Although this action is against the law, drivers should be on the lookout for all vehicles in traffic.

At Trantolo & Trantolo, we believe that many accidents by negligent motorists are preventable. As riders, our team of motorcycle attorneys are passionate about fighting for the rights of motorcyclists in Connecticut. If you’ve been injured by a careless driver or lost a family member in a motorcycle fatality, contact Trantolo & Trantolo today.