Motorcycle crashes are often more devastating than other vehicular accidents, leaving motorcyclists with severe injuries or dead. The limited protection motorcycles offer makes riders vulnerable — often turning a minor collision into a life-altering event. Understanding the high stakes of motorcycle accidents is particularly important in California, where motorcyclists can ride virtually all year long.
It’s not just the inherent risks associated with motorcycles that contribute to these tragic outcomes. Actions taken by other motorists significantly impact the safety of riders.
Failure to yield right-of-way
One common reason for accidents is the failure of automobile drivers to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists. This often occurs at intersections where drivers may not see a motorcycle or misjudge its speed. The result can be a side-impact collision, which can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists.
Negligence in lane changes
Another issue arises when drivers switch lanes without adequately checking their blind spots. Motorcycles are smaller and easier to overlook. A motorist’s negligence can cause a motorcyclist to be sideswiped or forced off the road entirely.
With the increasing use of smartphones and in-car entertainment systems, distracted driving is becoming a significant concern on the road. When a driver’s attention is taken off the road, even momentarily, it increases the risk of overlooking a motorcycle in their vicinity, potentially leading to a devastating collision.
Given their limited protection, motorcyclists often suffer more severe injuries than car occupants in an accident. The effects can be long-lasting and extend beyond physical harm, including emotional trauma and financial burdens. Those motorcyclists can seek compensation from the liable party, but this must be done within the time limits built into California law.