It happened again, but like the first time, you were prepared. You avoided a roadway collision when an inattentive driver swerved his car into your motorcycle’s path.
As a motorcyclist you take the necessary precautions when hitting the road. Vigilant of other vehicles, obeying traffic laws and focusing on your driving task. You wish that more car, pickup and large truck drivers subscribed to the same safety philosophy. The latter group makes too many driving blunders that endanger you and others.
Turning left in front of bike
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 5,600 motorcyclists died and another estimated 82,500 sustained injuries on U.S. roads in 2020. Nationwide, fatalities rose nearly 11% in 2020, compared with the 5,044 deaths in 2019. Kansas recorded 65 motorcyclist fatalities in 2020, while Missouri had 123.
Driver mistakes often are attributed to distraction. Take, for instance, these three common driver errors that often lead to collisions with motorcycles:
- Turning left in front of a motorcycle: Nearly 21% of all motorcycle fatalities occurred in 2020 when other vehicles turned left while the motorcycle traveled straight or was passing or overtaking other vehicles, according to the NHTSA. That is 1,158 motorcycle deaths caused by drivers who may not have seen the motorcycle coming toward them, misjudged the distance between the two vehicles or misjudged the motorcycle’s speed.
- Changing lanes in front of a motorcycle: Drivers, sometimes, neglect to check their blind spots, veering into a motorcyclist’s path while making a reckless lane change. Such a scenario is avoidable but may lead to tragedy.
- Failing to stop and rear-ending a stationary motorcycle: Stopped at an intersection and waiting for a traffic light to change leaves a motorcyclist, sometimes, as a sitting duck – a defenseless and easy target. While a collision at a low speed often translates to a “fender-bender” with another car, it is not so with a motorcycle. Such a crash may lead to serious and debilitating injuries for motorcyclists. The NHTSA reported that 35% of motorcyclist fatalities occurred at intersections in 2020.
Any of these missteps by other drivers can lead to tragedy.
Alertness and safety go together
The alarm sounds for all motorcyclists. Avoid reckless and distracted car, pickup and large truck drivers. Taking those extra precautions while remaining alert just may save you from becoming a statistic. Stay alert and enjoy the road.