Study: Motorists often found at fault in car-motorcycle accidents

Over the last couple of years, motorcycles have grown in popularity and in Bexar County these two-wheeled vehicles are a common sight. While many people enjoy riding motorcycles for recreation or in an effort to save money, a motorcycle accident can be severe, resulting in serious injury.

Just recently, a female was injured in an accident involving a motorcycle and a pickup pulling a trailer according to The Brownwood Bulletin. Witnesses say that they saw the pickup run a red light but it is unknown whether the driver of the pickup will be cited. The female was riding the motorcycle when she hit the truck.

Motorists not paying attention to motorcycles

While it is uncertain why the above accident happened, a recent study conducted in Florida shows that the majority of accidents between cars and motorcycles are caused to motorists according to the Sun Sentinel. In fact 60 percent of all crashes in the past 10 years were the fault of motorists. These motorists, the study revealed, failed to yield the right of way to bikers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that since 2000, motorcycle fatalities have increased by 55 percent. In 2010 over 4,500 people died from motorcycle crashes nationwide; it is unknown how many were injured. Here in Texas, the Department of Transportation reported that in 2011 motorcycle crashes resulted in the deaths of 491 people. There was no data available on how many of these were caused by drivers who were not paying attention.

Increasing motorists' awareness of bikers

Motorists need to understand that there are more motorcycles on the road than ever before and by educating themselves on how to share the road with bikers, they can help make roads safer for everyone. These safety tips include:

  • Leaving a 4 second distance between the vehicle and the motorcycle
  • Understanding that a motorcycle's smaller size means that they can easily hide in blind spots and behind other vehicles and structures
  • Not sharing the same lane space with a motorcycle
  • Eliminating all sources of distraction in the car
  • Understanding that motorcycles will slow down for rough or wet road surfaces
  • Always take a second look before changing lanes or making a turn to ensure that a motorcyclist isn't in the vehicle's path.

In turn, motorcycle riders can help motorists see them by wearing reflective tape on their helmets and bright colored clothing. Also choosing to wear a helmet and protective motorcycle clothing can help protect them from injuries.

Legal options for motorcyclists

When a motorcyclist has been injured, they have some legal options open to them and one option is to file a personal injury lawsuit which can help them obtain compensation for their injuries, the damage done to their motorcycle and pain and suffering. It is also important to speak with an attorney who can advise you on what you should and shouldn't do if you have been hurt by a motorist.