Study: Many drivers fail to yield to motorcycles

Upside down car

Chicago police officers are mourning the loss of one of their own after a fellow officer was recently killed in a motorcycle accident on the Dan Ryan Expressway. The off-duty officer died after a motorist allegedly switched lanes abruptly right in front of his motorcycle, giving him no time to slow down or maneuver his bike around the car. He collided with the vehicle and was pronounced dead at an area hospital. 

This situation is repeated nearly every day around the United States. According to a recent Florida Department of Transportation study, most crashes between cars and motorcycles can be attributed to the motorist failing to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist and other smaller vehicles.

About the study

Researchers analyzed 10 years of Florida motorcycle crash records in an effort to gain an understanding of why these accidents occur and how to prevent them.  They found that 60 percent of motorists in other cars are at fault when a collision occurs with a motorcycle, primarily because motorists so often fail to yield to motorcyclists. It also found that motorcycle crashes often involve other passenger vehicles pulling in front of motorcycles that are on a straight course, or making a left turn into the path of the motorcycle.

National statistics

National statistics agree with the findings from the Florida study. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent study on Fatal Two-Vehicle Motorcycle Crashes, over 85 percent of motorcycle deaths occur in accidents involving passenger vehicles. Of these accident-related deaths, 90 percent are the motorcyclists. This may be due to the overall nature of the accidents that occur. Fifty-five percent of head-on crashes, 68 percent of rear-end crashes and 78 percent of front-to-side crashes involved the motorcycle striking the vehicle, indicating that the motorcycle, in many situations, had little to no time to respond to the actions of the passenger vehicle.

How motorcyclists can protect themselves

 There are a few things that motorcyclists can do to protect themselves from sustaining injuries in an accident. Wearing a helmet will protect a rider’s brain from serious injury. Additionally, wearing body armor or other appropriate clothing can protect the skin from road rash. A biker’s biggest issue is invisibility, so riders should increase their visibility to help get themselves noticed by other drivers. This can include wearing brighter colors or reflective clothing.

The aftermath of an accident can be a challenge to face alone, especially when dealing with severe injuries and medical complications. Those who have been injured in a motorcycle accident should contact an Illinois personal injury attorney to further discuss their claim and how they wish to proceed in their matter.