Too many motorcyclists sustain injuries or die on U.S. highways each year. Florida – a state where motorcycles consistently remain popular – is not exempt from this.
Many crashes caused by other motor vehicle drivers are avoidable. These drivers may subscribe to reckless behavior such as speeding and distracted driving. They also may take motorcyclists for granted by not being aware of their presence. Driver mistakes that lead to collisions with motorcycles vary, but some are more common than others.
Left turn in front of motorcycle
In 2019, an estimated 84,000 motorcyclists were injured and another 5,014 died on U.S. roadways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Among all states and the District of Columbia, Florida recorded the most motorcycle-related fatalities that year with 591. California ranked second (474), and Texas was third (416).
Some of these injuries and deaths were attributed to common mistakes made by drivers of other vehicles. They include:
- A left turn in front of a motorcycle: Drivers may claim they do not see the smaller motorcycle or misjudge the speed of it. Making a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle can lead to tragedy. The NHTSA reported that 34% of motorcycle fatalities took place at intersections in 2019. Also, darkness was not a factor in 57% of such fatalities as they occurred during daylight hours.
- Veering into cyclist path during lane change: Blind spots hinder drivers and obstruct their views. If a driver fails to check blind spots while changing lanes, he or she can veer into the path of a motorcycle. Inattentiveness and distraction also play factors.
- Rear-end collision with a motorcycle: Speeding, inattentiveness and distracted driving may contribute to such a crash in which a car strikes a motorcyclist who is stopped at an intersection. While this may be considered a fender-bender when involving two cars, it could prove fatal or lead to life-changing injuries to a motorcyclist.
Motorcyclists want to enjoy their time on the road, but they also understand the dangers they may face.
Crucial to promote safety
Cautiousness and alertness can only take a motorcyclist so far when sharing the road with other vehicles. Sometimes, at a moment’s notice, a collision may occur because the car driver was reckless or inattentive. It is so important to continue to promote motorcycle safety.