For motorcyclists, the stakes are high during any type of accident. Since they lack the protective “cage" that protects the occupants in other types of vehicles, they usually suffer the worst repercussions of a collision. During an accident, a motorcyclist is 27 times more likely to die than the occupants of passenger cars.
In addition to having statistics working against, motorcyclists have another problem to combat: their reputation. For riders, a motorcycle represents freedom on the road thanks to their maneuverability and open-air qualities. Often, the qualities that make motorcycles beloved by their users are the same ones that make drivers of other vehicles seem to despise them. Motorcycles often face accusations of swerving through traffic, riding too fast, and ultimately being responsible for most of the accidents they’re involved in.
While motorcycles are loud, agile, and are sometimes misused by riders, what does research reveal about how often motorcyclists are at fault for accidents? Research suggests that motorcyclists might face an unfair reputation thanks in part to the inherent dangers of their vehicle of choice.
Myth: Motorcycle Speeding Causes Accidents
In 1981, one of the most comprehensive studies about motorcycle safety was published. The Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, commonly referred to as the Hurt Report, is still used today to help inform and develop countermeasures and safety training for motorcycles.
Among many other findings, the Hurt Report found something many didn’t expect it to: the median speed of a motorcycle before an accident is not very fast. According to the research, the median –re-crash speed of a motorcycle is 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 miles per hour.
The findings above counter the speed-demon narrative some have placed on motorcyclists and accidents they’re involved with. In fact, high speeds are rarely a factor during motorcycle accidents. The Hurt Report determined that only 1 out of 1,000 motorcycle accidents have a crash speed of approximately 86 mph.
Who Causes Motorcycle Accidents the Most?
Florida can be an important state to pay attention to when it comes to motorcycle accidents. It consistently has some of the most motorcycle accidents in the state each year. Yet, research from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has found that motorcyclists are found at fault for accidents less often than motorists. Research from the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation research confirms this. It found that motorists are at fault for accidents involving motorcycles 60 percent of the time.
One reason for this is something known as optimism bias. When a person drives long enough, they’ll often assume skill comes along with their practice. Yet, this isn’t always the case. In other words, drivers often assume they won’t be in an accident or that they are better drivers—placing others on the road at risk.
Another reason motorists cause accidents frequently is because they aren’t trained to watch for smaller vehicles. Some of the most common motorcycle accidents occur when larger vehicles turn left in front of them or merge into them. While the size of motorcycles makes them inherently more dangerous, every driver has the legal—and moral—obligation to look out for them.
Injured During a Motorcycle Accident? Call HHR!
If you’ve sustained injuries during a motorcycle accident, Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC is ready to help. Since 1922, our firm has helped people recover losses associated with preventable accidents. We’re ready to listen to what happened during a free consultation. If we take your case, you’ll only pay us if we get results on your behalf!
Call HHR now for help from our Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyers at (888) 498-3023.