Every day, motorcyclists end up in hospitals with serious and sometimes fatal injuries from traffic collisions. Although insurance companies often try to blame motorcyclists for these wrecks, they are typically caused by negligent drivers. Understanding the most common causes of Kansas City motorcycle accidents could keep you safer as a rider.
When a driver speeds or drives too fast for conditions, he or she is much less likely to be able to stop in the event of changing roadway situations. Speeding increases a vehicle’s stopping distance, making it harder for a driver to stop if another car hits its brakes. If a motorcyclist has to brake or suddenly enters a roadway, for example, a speeding driver may not have enough time to stop and avoid colliding with the motorcycle. All drivers in Missouri have a responsibility to obey speed limits and reduce their speeds in dangerous conditions.
Distracted Driving or Inattention
Distracted driving is a major safety problem on Missouri’s roads, especially when it comes to motorcycles. Small and agile motorcycles are already difficult for the average driver to see. If the driver isn’t paying attention, this increases the odds of the driver failing to notice a motorcyclist. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving took 3,142 lives in 2020 alone. Examples of distracted driving are texting, eating and drinking, personal grooming, and chatting with passengers.
Many motorcycle accidents in Missouri take the form of left-hand turn accidents. When a driver is making a left turn, he or she must watch for oncoming motorcyclists. If a driver makes a left turn in front of a motorcyclist that is approaching too closely or quickly, the driver could cause a T-bone accident or head-on collision. Unfortunately, many drivers misjudge the speed and distance of motorcycles or fail to see the motorcycle at all. Failing to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming motorcycle at an intersection can cause a devastating left-turn crash.
On a multilane highway, a distracted or negligent driver may fail to notice a nearby motorcycle. Motorcycles can easily fall into a driver’s blind spots. If a motor vehicle driver makes an unsafe lane change – such as switching lanes without checking his or her blind spots – a motorcyclist could get seriously injured. Unsafe lane changes can result in sideswipe accidents or no-contact crashes, where a motorcyclist crashes his or her bike in an effort to avoid colliding with a motor vehicle.
Not Enough Space
All motor vehicle drivers in Missouri have a duty to keep a safe following distance from other road users. This includes at least three feet of distance around a motorcycle. If a careless or aggressive driver follows a motorcyclist too closely, such as by tailgating behind a motorcycle, this increases the odds of a crash. The driver may rear-end the motorcyclist, for example, which can cause serious and deadly injuries.
Dooring is a type of accident that specifically affects bicyclists and motorcyclists in Missouri. It is when a driver opens his or her door into an oncoming rider, causing the biker or motorcyclist to crash into the open door. These accidents can occur when a driver is parked next to the road or a bicycle lane. If the driver negligently fails to check for oncoming motorcycles before swinging his or her door open, a motorcyclist could get doored.
Alcohol and Drug Use
Finally, drivers who operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs are more likely to cause motorcycle collisions. Driving while intoxicated can affect a driver’s reflexes, judgment and reaction times. A drunk driver may be unable to hit the brakes in time to avoid hitting a motorcyclist, for example. Drunk drivers are also more likely to engage in reckless and dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding and red-light running. If you get involved in a motorcycle accident in Missouri, contact an attorney for help.