4 TRUTHS OF SINGLE-VEHICLE MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
Motorcycle safety is compromised when road conditions are poor. These conditions may be a result of a number of factors, such as road construction, poor maintenance, fluid spills, gravel accumulation or even weather. This is one reason why motorcycle riders must pay close attention to their surroundings, watch the road, allow themselves plenty of room to adjust their course or stop when hazards appear and navigate around road work activity.
It is more common for motorcycle accidents involving impact with fixed objects, than you may think. Below are four truths of motorcycle accidents with stationary objects that may surprise you:
1. Twenty-five percent of all motorcycle accidents in the United States are the result of the rider’s collision with a stationary object.
This statement is true according to the Hurt Report, also known under its full name of the “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures” report. The information in the Hurt Report was compiled by the University of Southern California Traffic Safety Center. This report spotlighted that about one quarter of all accidents involving motorcycles are the result of that rider’s collision with one or more non-moving objects.
Fixed objects that motorcycles were reported to impact include fixed roadway equipment such as construction signs, navigational signage, orange cones, etc.; barriers, walls and guardrails; light posts, electric power poles and telephone poles; and buildings.
A stationary object on roads, alongside roads or on highways present definite hazard to motorcycle rider safety. When a biker collides with objects like these, they often suffer severe injury or death. Less than three percent of motorcycle accidents in the report were due to mechanical failure, in contrast with the vast number of these accidents involving fixed objects.
2. Less than two percent of motorcycle accidents are caused by road damage.
The Hurt Report also reported that road damage or poor road conditions play little role in motorcycle accidents. Out of 4500 motorcycle accidents examined for cause, the Hurt Report team documented that less than two percent of all motorcycle wrecks may be attributed to potholes, uneven pavement, construction damage or ridges in the road.
Riders must protect themselves with appropriate safety gear and keep their eyes on the road in front of them, to allow enough time for maneuvering around road damage.
3. Drunk riding and speeding cause many single-vehicle motorcycle accidents.
Speeding and other reckless behaviors of the motorcycle rider can lead to a motorcycle accident. About 37 percent of all motorcycle accidents in 2006 were at least partially attributed to speeding by the rider, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Consumption of alcohol before riding also plays a significant role in motorcycle accidents, such as those where the rider hits a stationary object. Riding while intoxicated dulls the biker’s senses, delays reaction time and leads to much greater risk for a collision with a fixed object. One third of all motorcycle accidents in 2005 were attributed to a drunk motorcycle operator.
The Highway Loss Data Institute of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that 42 percent of all motorcycle accident fatalities in 2009 involved an intoxicated rider. According to the same source, in 2009 about 48 percent of motorcycle accidents were attributed to the rider’s failure to obey speed limits.
4. Wearing a helmet can save a motorcyclist from serious injury or even fatality in a collision with a stationary object.
Nationally, motorcycle fatality risk is at 14.2 percent for those involved in a motorcycle accident. This high fatality rate is often attributed to non-requirement of all riders to wear a helmet. In Arizona, riders aged 18 or older are not required to wear one of these safety devices.
Although it is an individual rider’s decision to make, whether he or she wears a motorcycle safety helmet, this equipment is proven to save lives. This is true in collisions with stationary objects, as much as it applies to multi-vehicle collisions.
Steps You Need to Take after a Single-Vehicle Motorcycle Accident
You can take precautionary measures to improve your chances of avoiding getting into a motorcycle accident. But avoiding an accident is not always possible. There are many times when motorcyclists must swerve to avoid accidents, only then hitting an unforeseen pothole, road damage, uneven pavement, or stationary object. Losing control of the motorcycle and crashing into a fixed object is as potentially deadly as any other type of motorcycle accident.