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How Dangerous are Motorcycles Compared to Cars?

Tragically, motorcycle accidents are incredibly common in Indiana, and these wrecks can cause motorcyclists to sustain severe or fatal injuries. These motorcycle injuries often require incredibly expensive medical treatments and may even impact a victim’s ability to work and enjoy life.

If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you need to file a claim or lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

People often wonder, “How dangerous are motorcycles compared to other vehicles,” and, unfortunately, the answer is bad news for motorcyclists — motorcycle drivers are far more likely to suffer fatal injuries than other motorists. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of riding motorcycles.  

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Recent statistics offer a sobering glimpse into the dangers of motorcycles. According to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, there were around 2,600 motorcycle accidents in 2019, resulting in a total of 112 fatalities and 1,818 injuries to drivers and passengers.

Although motorcyclists were more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries than other drivers, 60% of the multi-vehicle wrecks were caused by standard vehicle drivers rather than motorcyclists.

Additionally, the total number of motorcycle fatalities increased in the United States in 2020. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that 5,579 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents in 2020, an increase of 11% from the previous year.

Are Motorcycles More Dangerous Than Cars?

When it comes to motorcycle accidents vs car accidents, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to suffer from fatal injuries than other motorists according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Plus, 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injuries or death to the motorcyclist, significantly higher than the 20% injury or death rate of other motorists.

The primary reason why motorcyclists are more likely to suffer an injury after a wreck is that motorcycles don’t offer riders the same bodily protection as standard passenger vehicles. Even a minor accident can cause serious harm to motorcyclists because their vehicles lack structural protection. Motorcyclists can suffer direct force from a colliding vehicle, and the force can also eject motorcyclists, potentially resulting in fatal injuries.

Additionally, motorcycles weigh far less than other vehicles on the road, meaning they’re more likely to sustain significant damage than heavier vehicles. In fact, the average motorcycle weighs only 400 pounds while the average car is 4,094 pounds.

Another reason why operating a motorcycle can be dangerous is that other drivers often fail to spot motorcycles. Motorcycles are much smaller than standard passenger vehicles, so motorists are more likely to fail to see them in their blind spots and when turning.

Motorists may also fail to anticipate motorcycles on the road because there aren’t as many of them as standard cars. Drivers are more accustomed to spotting full-size vehicles, and they may fail to notice smaller-sized motorcycles.

Although driving a motorcycle leaves you more vulnerable to damage than operating a standard passenger car, there are ways in which you can greatly reduce your likelihood of suffering from serious or fatal injuries. Motorcyclists over the age of 18 are not legally required to wear helmets, but helmets offer incredibly important protection against potentially-fatal head injuries. Indiana motorcyclists should consider wearing helmets that feature the DOT symbol, indicating that it meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Additionally, motorcyclists may want to consider wearing eye protection and leather clothing, which reduces the likelihood of them suffering abrasion injuries.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Many different dangerous driving behaviors can result in a serious motorcycle accident. Whether you’re a motorcyclist or drive a different type of vehicle, avoid these common mistakes and reckless actions:

  • Driving While Under the Influence: Those who drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are far more likely to cause a collision because of their impaired judgment and slowed reaction times. According to a study conducted by the National Library of Medicine, alcohol and/or illegal drugs were present in 44% of fatal motorcycle accidents.
  • Driving While Distracted: Driving while engaging in some sort of manual, cognitive, or visual distraction is incredibly dangerous. Common forms of distracted driving include texting, eating, and personal grooming.
  • Reckless/Aggressive Driving: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that 66% of fatal accidents occur due to aggressive driving behaviors, such as weaving in and out of traffic, racing, and passing illegally.
  • Not Checking Blind Spots: When a motorist fails to check their blind spot, they’re far more likely to merge into another vehicle. This is especially the case with motorcycles because they’re smaller and harder to spot than other types of vehicles. 
  • Speeding: Driving over the speed limit is incredibly dangerous and contributes to many fatal collisions.
  • Running a Red Light or Stop Sign: Drivers who fail to abide by traffic signals can cause devastating accidents.
  • Failing to Yield: Motorists are more likely to fail to yield to motorcyclists because they’re harder to spot on the road.

Recovering Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident

If you suffered from an injury caused by a negligent driver, you need to file a claim or lawsuit to recover important damages. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, you may be able to recover compensation for surgeries, medications, doctor’s visits, ongoing physical rehabilitation, physical and emotional pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future income, and property damage.

To increase your likelihood of recovering damages, you need to contact an Indiana motorcycle accident attorney. For expert legal support you can count on, contact the personal injury lawyers at Crossen Law Firm. We’ve helped Indiana motorcyclists and other drivers recover millions of dollars in damages, and we’ll work diligently to get you the full compensation you deserve. Call us today at 317-401-8626, or you can contact us online here.