According to a recent Florida Department of Transportation study, motorists driving cars and trucks are mostly at fault when getting into an accident with a motorcyclist. Continually, in analyzing 10 years of Florida motorcycle crashes, Chanyoung Lee, a senior researcher at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, found that 60 percent of the time, motorists in other vehicles are at fault when they collide with motorcycles. When motorcycles are in crashes with a single vehicle, they are mostly at fault. That being said, only 34% of motorcycle crashes are between one vehicle and a biker. Most motorcycle crashes involve more than one vehicle. Adding to that, in severe and fatal motorcycle crashes involving multiple vehicles, greater blame falls on four-wheeled drivers .
It is a common belief to think that the reckless conduct of those on sports bikes are representative of the general behavior exhibited by most bikers. However, this could be farther from the truth. A few bad apples do not represent the responsible motorcyclists on the road, just as a few bad apples driving vehicles do not represent the entire motorist community.
In the context of car vs. motorcycle collisions, motorists are often responsible due to a failure to simply look both ways. That’s why we see those stickers that suggest motorists to look both ways twice, just in case you miss a biker cruising down the road. All motorists should know to safely “share the road” with motorcyclists and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. In return, bikers are reminded to make themselves visible to other drivers.
What’s Safer Cars or Motorcycles?
This debate can go back and forth for a while, depending on what people prefer or assume. However, in terms of speaking about accidents and the chances of being involved with one, there are a few possibilities that make motorcycles safer.
- You Can See More: A motorcyclist is usually higher than a car driver and is able to see around more. A better view means that you can see danger or hazards earlier and can try to avoid an accident. Also, riders have no car body surrounding them to create blind spots that cars are notorious to have. By being able to turn their heads, a biker has clear vision all around. If there is something blocking their vision, a biker can shift to the right or left in a lane for a better view. In contrast, four-wheelers have to stay behind the wheel on one side of a car; this essentially restricts their field of view. You can avoid more possible accidents when you can see more.
- You Can Dodge Better: Due to the smaller size of a motorcycle, there is less of a target to hit. This also allows bikers to get to places safely where a car can’t fit. For example, if a car suddenly stops and is rear-ended by another car, a motorcyclist has the room to swerve to the left or right to avoid the crash. Being in a car makes this less likely to happen as there are other motorists in parallel lanes or other nuances that create a space too small for a wide car to fit through. A motorcycle can also accelerate better out of a troubling situation when compared to most cars.
- You Are More Attentive: In most cases, motorcyclists are traveling at a speed that is deemed appropriate for the type of road they are on or at least at a higher speed that is still adequate for the road and are more aware of what is going on because of their vulnerable situation. When your body is a few feet above a hard ground, without a cage (car body) surrounding you for protection, your attention is amplified. By comparison, a driver is separated from the world in their cage, with air-conditioning and comfort. These comforts distract driver from the road with a variety of things to do such as talk or text on cellphones, eat food, drink drinks, focus on other passengers, adjusting the windows, maintaining hygiene, looking at mirrors, etc. According to the DMV, 65% of near-crashes are caused by some sort of distraction and usually, this distraction occurs within 3 seconds of said accident. Cars have many distractions that motorcyclists do not.
- Your Vulnerability Makes You Assume Less: People driving SUVs and large vehicles with life insurance think they are safe, however, no matter how you twist it, money cannot replace life. “Safer” cars are of no use of the people behind the wheel are careless. The accident rate depends as much on attitude as on mechanical safety features. The strength of a motorcycle is its flexibility, not its invulnerabilities. The goal for bikers is to avoid accidents, not to “safely” have them. Having less assumptions on the road makes motorcycles responsible for their own acts .
These four character traits of motorcyclists are “give and take” depending on the person. However, understanding the reasoning behind each trait should show how cars are the likely cause of dangerous accidents involving motorcyclists. The motorcyclist has higher stakes than a car or truck driver. Also, when you take into account the smaller size of motorcycles and the reduction in reaction time by those who distracted, motorists often fail to either notice the approaching bike or simply react too late.
Florida Department of Transportation recommends that motorists look both ways to ensure taking note of all oncoming vehicles in the surrounding area. Additionally, FDOT urges motorcyclists to wear bright noticeable colors to attract the attention of automobile operators. The combination of motorists paying attention to all drivers on the road at all times and motorcyclists being smart on how they approach other vehicles will help to evade fatal or life-threatening accidents.
Dolman Law Group
As fun and enjoyable as riding a motorcycle can be, especially in the Florida sun, it also comes with a high risk of injury because of accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident call the attorneys at Dolman Law Group. We are experienced in representing injured motorcycle enthusiasts or riders who have been subjected to unfair treatment by insurance companies, who often assume it’s the fault of the motorcyclist. We understand the special circumstances surrounding motor vehicle vs. motorcycle accidents and have the resources to take your case to trial if needed. Allow a qualified Clearwater motorcycle attorney to being investigating your accident today at (727) 451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652