Common driver blunders that lead to motorcycle accidents

Even the slightest blunder by a car driver can lead to serious or even fatal injuries to a motorcyclist. Making a left turn in front of a motorcycle is among those blunders that occur when drivers make assumptions. What kind of assumptions? That the motorcycle is not there because the driver cannot see it right away.

In its most recent report on motorcycle accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 84,000 motorcyclists were injured on the country’s roads in 2019. Also, 5,014 motorcyclists died during that same timeframe. Some of those accidents occurred due to the mistakes of car, SUV, pickup and large truck drivers.

Turning into the path, colliding from rear

According to that NHTSA report, Alabama recorded 93 motorcyclist fatalities in 2019. The Cotton State ranked second in such fatalities compared with states in the region with similar populations. South Carolina recorded 153 fatalities, Kentucky had 92 and Louisiana had 87.

Why do motorcyclists continue to be injured or die? Part of the answer has to do with the habits of other motorists. Some car, pickup, SUV and truck drivers continue to make driving errors that are preventable. This list represents the most common driving errors that contribute to motorcycle accidents:

  • A left turn in front of a motorcycle: Those left turns by car drivers are an anathema for motorcyclists. Drivers may not see the motorcyclist in time or misjudge the distance between their vehicles. Roughly 34% of the motorcyclist fatalities in 2019 took place at intersections, according to the NHTSA.
  • Turning into a motorcyclist’s path while making a lane change: The mantra “Start Seeing Motorcycles” applies to this scenario. Blind spots obstruct the views of drivers, and that is why they must take extra precautions when changing lanes. Distracted driving and inattentiveness also may play major factors in driver blunders.
  • Colliding with a motorcycle from behind: These collisions most often occur when a motorcycle has stopped in traffic. The driver coming from behind may fail to stop, crashing into the rear of the motorcycle. Such accidents often produce serious injuries to motorcyclists, while considered a “fender-bender” if involving two cars.

If only we could eliminate driver error in such crashes, motorcyclists around the world would rejoice. However, that will not happen. Educating other car, SUV, pickup and large truck drivers is essential in improving safety when sharing the roads with motorcycles.

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