Motorcycle riders face special risks while on the road. They are required to make snap-judgment decisions and are much more immediately exposed to both their own errors and those of other travelers than people in cars, and even a minor accident can lead to serious injury. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 80% of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death–more than four times the rate for car crashes.
According to an annual study conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), an office of NHTSA, 5,286 motorcyclists were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2016, a 5.1% increase from the 5,029 killed in 2015. Ninety-four percent of those killed were drivers and 6% were passengers. Forty-two of those deaths occurred in New Mexico. Additionally, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents in 2015. In 2016, motorcyclists represented 13% of all traffic fatalities, despite being only 3% of all registered vehicles and responsible for only 0.7% of all vehicle miles travelled in the U.S., according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
Below are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
Left turn accidents. The most common cause of fatal accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle occurs when the other vehicle is making a left turn while the motorcycle is going straight in the opposite direction. This type of accident accounted for 41% of the two-vehicle fatal crashes in 2016. In contrast, both vehicles were going straight in 23% of the crashes.
Driving while intoxicated. According to NHTSA, 37% of riders who died in single-vehicle accidents were driving while intoxicated. Driving a motorcycle under the influence is illegal, and anyone who causes an accident while driving under the influence may face both civil and criminal penalties.
Speeding. NHTSA reports that 33% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the accident.
Inexperienced drivers. Inexperienced drivers are more prone to making errors of judgment while riding. NHTSA reports that 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents in 2016 were riding without valid licenses.
Distracted drivers. Like car drivers, many motorcycle riders are guilty of driving while distracted by texting or other behavior. Motorcyclists are also at increased risk of being injured by distracted car drivers. NHTSA and the NSC report that in motorcycle-car accidents, it is usually the driver of the other vehicle who violates the right of way of the motorcyclist, rather than the other way around, and that distracted driving is one of the leading causes.
Wear your helmet
NHTSA estimated that helmets saved the lives of 1,859 motorcyclists in 2016, and 802 more could have been saved if they were wearing helmets.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident in New Mexico, call an experienced and effective Las Cruces motorcycle accident lawyer at the Law Office of Samuel I. Kane today at (575) 526-5263 for a free consultation.