With summer underway, many Americans are making the most of the season by spending some quality time on the open road. Unfortunately, when it comes to motorcycling, the open road can pose unexpected and potentially deadly risk from drivers in much larger, heavier vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that motorcyclists are around 27 times more likely to suffer fatal injury during a motor vehicle accident than individuals in a passenger car, and in many cases, it is the auto driver who causes the collision.

The NHTSA reports that, in 2017, 42% of deadly crashes that involved a motorcycle and another vehicle happened because the auto driver was turning left while the cyclist was traveling in a straight line, performing a passing maneuver, or overtaking other vehicles.

Drivers often fail to notice motorcyclists

It is obviously important for cyclists to follow safe riding practices to avoid injuring themselves or others. However, when sharing the road with larger vehicles, it is also essential that bikers be mindful that motorists may fail to recognize right of way, whether due to distraction, lack of visibility or carelessness:

  • Visibility issues: motorcycles are smaller and less common on roadways than larger vehicles, so drivers may not be looking for them when making a left turn or passing other cars.
  • Reckless behaviors: despite knowing the risks, a recent report by the AAA found that many American motorists engage in reckless road habits, including speeding, running red lights and driving while impaired.
  • Onboard distractions: from eating or drinking while driving to using a mobile phone or GPS device, a distracted driver is even less likely to notice a cyclist.

Motorcycle accidents frequently cause traumatic injury

Even a small passenger car that collides with a motorcyclist may cause debilitating injuries. Riders should know that they may be eligible to receive compensation for medical care, property damage and lost wages following a crash.