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Road Hazards Can Cause Motorcyclists to Crash

If you love experiencing the wind in your hair as you cruise the open road on your motorcycle, you are not alone. The number of on the road motorcycles in the US doubled from 4.2 million in 2004 to 8.3 million in 2018. This includes 252,280 in the state of Indiana. 

Motorcyclists cite several reasons for their affection for these two wheeled Harleys, Yamahas, Hondas and Kawasakis. For example:

  • Thrills and adventure
  • Gas mileage
  • Ease of parking
  • Camaraderie with other riders

However, safety is a major issue for these lovers of freedom and individuality. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to accidents. They are 26 times more likely to die in a traffic collision than a passenger in a car or truck. They are also 5 times more likely to be injured. 

These national figures are reflected in the Indiana statistics as well; although accidents involving accidents make up less than 2% of all Indiana accidents, they are responsible for 14% of traffic fatalities. 

What are the causes of motorcycle accidents in Indiana?

The motorcyclist is at fault 40% of the time. Common errors include:

  • Improper passing
  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Disregarding traffic signals
  • Driving under the influence: in 2015, 28% of all motorcycle crashes resulting in fatalities in Indiana were blamed on drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more. Some of these drivers were the motorcyclists themselves, but some were the drivers of the other vehicles involved. 
  • Inexperience: More than half of motorcycle operators who crashed in 2018 lacked either a driver’s license or a motorcycle endorsement, according to the Tribune Star
  • Lack of helmets: It’s true that not wearing a helmet doesn’t cause an accident, but it does make it less likely to survive one. Between 2015-2019 in Indiana, only 35.1% of the males and 31% of the females involved in motorcycle collisions were wearing helmets. (Note: this is legal. Indiana law does not require helmet use unless the driver still has a learner’s permit or is under the age of 18.)

If you have been involved in an accident while driving a motorcycle, you probably want to know what recourse you have if it wasn’t your fault. 

Other drivers: 

  • Fully 58% of the time, other drivers are responsible for causing crashes with motorcyclists. 
  • Other drivers often do not see motorcyclists. They change lanes without completely checking their blind spots. Motorcyclists are also at risk of being backed over when car or truck drivers are reversing.
  • In motorcycle accidents that include other vehicles,  ⅔ of the time, it is because other drivers fail to yield the right of way. 

These drivers can be held responsible for their negligence as long as it is determined that you were 50% or less responsible for the accident. Consult an experienced Indiana motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Other road hazards that can cause motorcyclists to crash:

  • Potholes and other surface issues on the roads: rough road surfaces that are merely inconveniences or annoyances for cars can be fatal for motorbikes.
  • Grass clippings that have been blown out on the road by lawn mowers: grass is 85% water content, so it is extremely slippery. Anything that makes a barrier between the tire and the road can cause a lack of traction. 
  • Gravel, oil, antifreeze, or leaves: basically anything that makes a slick surface can be dangerous. All of these items are particularly treacherous when the motorcycle is cornering.
  • Rain or ice: The first rain after a dry spell is especially dangerous because the rain mixes with oils and mud to make the road slippery. 
  • Debris that fell off the back of another vehicle: According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, two in three debris-related crashes result from items falling from a vehicle due to improper maintenance or an unsecured load. Not only could the debris cause the motorcyclist to swerve or slip, but it could also strike the motorcyclist as it flies through the air. 
  • Edge breaks: This is when two traffic lanes are at different heights. It can be hard to see these on a motorbike.
  • Expansion joints: These are joints that join the roadway and a bridge and that are supposed to absorb the expansion of the highway caused by freezing and thawing cycles. Sometimes they protrude from the road.
  • Open bridge joints; These hold sections of a bridge together, but can sometimes be wide enough to cause dangerous situations for bikers.
  • Animals: Large animals like deer are dangerous for all drivers, but small animals such as squirrels, possums, raccoons, or even birds can throw a motorcycle off balance or cause the driver to crash after swerving.

At Crossen Law Firm, our Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorney is aggressive, effective, and caring. If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash caused by the negligence of another motorist, by inadequate warning signs before construction work, or by negligence in maintaining the road surface, we can work on your behalf to recover the compensation you deserve.

Call  317-401-8626 or contact us online today for a free consultation. 

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