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The Most Common Types of Collisions Between Cars and Motorcycles

Fri 31 Mar, 2023 / by / Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents

There are over 300,000 licensed motorcyclists in the state of Illinois. While riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, riding is not without risks. There are about 3,000 motorcycle accidents every year in Illinois. Eighty percent of all motorcycle accidents involve motorcyclist injury or death. This is a sharp increase in this number compared to accidents involving other types of motor vehicles, where this risk hovers around twenty percent. This makes sense, as motorcycles do not offer the same level of protection to motorcyclists as cars do to their drivers. Thus, when motorcycles are involved in crashes with cars, motorcyclists are significantly more likely to be seriously injured or killed than the car’s occupants. 

There are different situations where a motorcycle crash with a car is more likely. Here are the different collision crash types and why they happen.

Collision Types Between Cars and Motorcycles 

The left-hand turn is the most common type of collision between cars and motorcycles. Read on to learn about its dangers.

The Danger of Left-Hand Turns

The NHTSA has investigated motorcycle accidents across the country. It evaluated more than 900 motorcycle accidents in a report called the Hurt Report. It found that the most common type of collision between cars and motorcycles is when there is a left turn at an intersection. Within these crashes, most of them happen when the car’s operator does not notice an oncoming motorcycle or notice the motorcycle but decides to make the turn anyway. In forty-two percent of the collisions, motorcyclists turning left at the intersection was the cause.

Determining Fault for Left-Hand Turn Crashes

The driver of the car is at fault in the vast majority of crashes between cars and motorcycles when there is a left-hand turn. Drivers of the car may fail to exercise sufficient care to observe motorcycles when they pull out to turn left. Those drivers also may be distracted by using a cell phone. Even if a driver does look before they turn, the smaller physical profile of motorcycles may make it more difficult to see. 

Other Reasons For Collisions

Of course, the left-hand turn is not the only reason that cars and motorcycles collide.

Not Factoring in a Blind Spot

Cars are large. Even though they have rearview and side mirrors, vehicles have a lot of blind spots. Car drivers may be unable to see a small motorcycle near the car’s periphery, making it dangerous for a motorcyclist. Many car drivers make sudden lane changes, often without using their signal lights. Motorcyclists have little time to react. Car drivers have a responsibility to use their signals and constantly adjust their mirrors to ensure they see motorcycles in their blind spots.

Poor Speed or Distance Perception

Because most car drivers are not as familiar with motorcycles, it is incredibly common for car operators to incorrectly judge the speed or distance of a motorcycle. Consequently, drivers may pull out in front of the bike, thinking that they have enough time to make the maneuver. If a car does this, the motorcyclist may need to engage their emergency bikes, making them more likely to fly off of the bike. Alternatively, the motorcyclist may lose control of the motorcycle, making it more likely that it will slide. This is often deadly. When a body strikes the pavement or another vehicle, there will often be massive, multiple injuries or death of the driver.

Avoiding Crashes Between Cars and Motorcycles

It is not possible to avoid all crashes between cars and motorcycles. However, there are things to do that will significantly reduce the likelihood of an accident. 

  • Check for Motorcyclists 

First, when one is preparing to turn left–or turning in any direction–they should carefully check for motorcycles before they pull out to turn. Also, car drivers should understand that it can be harder to gauge the speed of a motorcycle as opposed to a car, which means that car drivers may think that they have more time to turn in front of a motorcycle than they actually do. 

  • Motorcyclists Must Understand Their Duty to Exercise Caution

Every motorist has a duty to exercise caution when driving. This includes motorcyclists. They have a duty to exercise caution to protect themselves from being in an accident. Motorcyclists must remain keenly aware that, in a motorcycle, they will not have as much protection as an occupant in a car, so they may need to exercise greater caution.

  • Drive the Speed Limit

It is tempting to pick up speed, especially on a nice day on the open road. All drivers, especially motorcyclists, have to be aware of the speed limit and observe it. Motorcyclists would be wise to drive slower than the speed limit at intersections so that car drivers can see them and prepare for what to do. Slowing down at intersections also gives you time to brake if a driver decides to pull out in front of you at the last second.

  • Avoid Drugs and Alcohol 

This should be a given, but drugs and alcohol do play a role in a fair number of accidents of all types, including motorcycle accidents. Driving under the influence is against the law. It also greatly reduces your ability to react in time to avoid a serious accident.

  • Make Yourself Visible 

Motorcyclists should do what they can to make themselves visible. Motorcycles are smaller and can be more difficult to see, especially as it gets darker. Things that a motorcyclist can do include getting lights on the motorcycle, wearing reflective gear at night, and wearing brightly colored clothing during the day. 

Get Representation Today

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important you get an attorney who is experienced with personal injury lawsuits, especially ones involving motorcycles. Contact us today to discuss your motorcycle injury and what you need moving forward.