Motorcycles makeup roughly 3% of all registered vehicles on Australian roads, but account for only 0.6% of all vehicle miles traveled per year. On the other hand, motorcycle accidents account for roughly 14% of all total traffic fatalities and are 30 times more likely to be fatal than automobile accidents.
The 2 most prevalent causes of motorcycle accidents are:
- Failure on the part of drivers to notice motorcyclists
- Failure on the part of drivers to properly yield to motorcyclists
Failure to Notice Motorcyclists
Failure on the part of drivers to notice motorcyclists is the #1 cause of motorcycle accidents according to numerous studies. In most cases, the driver was turning left while the motorcycle was moving straight, passing or overtaking their vehicle. This suggests that the drivers aren’t taking the necessary care needed notice a motorcycle before making left turns.
Motorcycles are much smaller than cars and typically only have one headlight, so drivers often overlook motorcycles on the road. However, drivers have a duty to look out for any oncoming vehicles before making a turn, and this includes motorcycles.
Failure to Yield to Motorcyclists
Because drivers don’t look carefully enough for oncoming traffic and do not see the motorcycles, they often end up being broadsided by motorcyclists. In fact, more than half of all motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers moving into a motorcycle’s path. In these cases, the driver is at fault because he or she did not look properly before crossing the motorcycle’s path. The motorcyclist had the right of way and the car should have yielded.
So Why are Motorcyclists Most Often Blamed For Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcyclists usually get blamed for such accidents because drivers, witnesses and police are already more inclined to find the motorcyclist at fault due to prejudicial feeling about motorcycles and motorcyclists in general, and perhaps because motorcycles often appear to be traveling faster than their actual speed.
So for example, in the case where a car pulls out in front of a motorcycle and causes an accident, the motorcyclist, who was traveling at a reasonable speed, will say that the car pulled out in front of him and caused the accident. However, the at-fault driver is quite likely to claim that the motorcycle was moving at such a high speed that he or she was unable to avoid the accident, and most witnesses to the accident will concur. So, the police officer, after hearing everyone’s explanation will be more inclined to give the motorcyclist a ticket and cite him for causing the accident.
Why You need an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Solicitor
As you can imagine, motorcycle accident cases are more difficult to handle than automobile accidents because everyone, including the insurance company, will blame the motorcyclist. This is especially true if the cyclist is young. So, motorcycle accident cases are specialized cases that require specialized experience.
It is therefore very important that if you are a cyclist who has been injured in an accident, you hire a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the investigation and development of motorcycle accident cases. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will understand how these cases are developed, how they are handled by insurance companies and know how to prove that you were not at fault, when that is actually the case.