Much ado about…..


53 Reasons For a Motorcycle Accident and My Thoughts on Them All!

Posted by gottabkd on Friday, September 28, 2007

Seriously now…. there are many reason why a motorcycle gets into trouble and I always say “it’s not the machine, it’s the driver“.
By that I mean one is/has done or not done something to keep themselves safe on the road…. I know, I am hearing you now “yeah but the other guy…” and I do get that, but here is what some motorcyclists seem to FORGET (IMHOO)

1) You are the driver and YOU are responsible for you and your vehicle! Please act accordingly. You are on two wheels so do not drive like you have four walls protecting you, you don’t!
2) You need to leave your ego at home.. yes you do and you know it, so leave it there OK!
3) You need to upgrade your skills on a regular basis. This is up to you but know it could safe a life… hopefully yours 🙂
4) Just cause you can stop on a dime, does not mean you have the right to act like an idiot on the road. You give us “better, more conscientious riders” a BAAADDD reputation. Smartin’ up would you or get off the road.
5) Just because you “think you can” does not mean you should… or that your first MC should be the fastest alphabet bike on the street. Fast does not mean smart or capable and it may be too tempting to reign in that ego…. especially when your “buddies” are encouraging you to do else-wise.
6) Just cause your “buddies” can and do, doesn’t mean you should. You know what I mean…
7) If you are a new rider TAKE A SAFETY COURSE!!! Even if you are not a new rider, I cannot stress the importance of this enough. The skills you learn at the course, WILL save your life one day and if the course is taught properly, it may also help your attitude.
8) Wheelies, acrobatics and stunts ARE NOT for street riding. If you must do this stuff then, please do this in a safe environment where this is encouraged. I know that in the USA there are schools and clubs for this and these places stress safety first! Find one and join it….please.
9) We have speed limits for a reason and I encourage you all to adhere to them. If not for your sake, then for the safety of the millions of other people using our roads. Plus, one good speeding ticket could raise your insurance ASTRONOMICALLY or even get it cancelled.
10) Check your attitude… you know the kind that says all the wrong things, acts arrogant, thinks it’s better than the rest of us, temps us to do stupid things, is not safety minded…. yeah that one. Check it at the door when you leave home. It will save a life!

So here is what the MC insurance industry has found and quite frankly it’s scary. From driver failure to do the proper thing, to no insurance coverage…. it just boggles my mind to read these stats. SCARY!!!

Please note that this was taken from this site.
My comments in italics below the stats are NOT reflective of the site at all. Please do not send hate mail but if YOU do have any comments, I encourage you to leave them at the end of the article…. they are always welcome!

This is a long post so grab a coffee and happy reading… Ready… here we go:

Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures

These findings are summarized as follows:

1. Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most usually a passenger automobile.
(well there are more passenger vehicles on the road & they are not aware of the motorcycles sharing the road around them so this is expected.)

2. Approximately one-fourth of these motorcycle accidents were single vehicle accidents involving the motorcycle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object in the environment.
(hello….? are we awake while riding? or just riding too fast for our own comfort?)

3. Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.
(so if the roads are kept clean this would not happen? or the rider did not react correctly while the tire exploded on the road? take a course, get the knowledge)

4. In the single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slide out and fall due to over braking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
(ok, this is a little confusing. There are two brakes on a MC that work inconjunction with each other, but 70 to 100 percent of the breaking power is in the front end. When used correctly, smoothly and progressively together, “slide out & fall” should not happen. Over shooting a curve or under-cornering means they were travelling “beyond their capabilities”. Take a course, sharpen your skills… hey.. how about slowing down?)

5. Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were the accident cause in 2% of the accidents; animal involvement was 1% of the accidents.
(this goes along with #3 above. Encourage your city to make road repairs a priority)

6. In the multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
(this is a biggy and here is why. If you talk to them, the first thing they usually say is “hey I did not see them” or “they came out of nowhere”. Sad but true, drivers of passenger vehicles have no clue you are there, even while they are looking directly at you. Raising MC awareness is the key for everyones safety.)

7. The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.
(case in point and goes with #6)

8. Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause.
(yeah there are haters out there, but if you know what to do to “get away from them” they are less likely to cause harm. Also if you ride with the “right attitude” they may not be hate’n us so much. Be the example we all want you to be… please)
The most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
(goes back to #6, 7)

9. Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
(repeat of #6, 7, 8 no wonder there are 53 to get through. The reminder is always good though)

10. Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.
(hmmm I wonder if riding in snow is easier than riding in rain or easier than riding on a bright sunny day? suspect stat at best)

11. Most motorcycle accidents involve a short trip associated with shopping, errands, friends, entertainment or recreation, and the accident is likely to happen in a very short time close to the trip origin.
(most vehicle accidents happen within 5 miles of home… and the point is?)

12. The view of the motorcycle or the other vehicle involved in the accident is limited by glare or obstructed by other vehicles in almost half of the multiple vehicle accidents.
(so weather does play a factor? sunny or cloudy day? Obstructed line of sight is key in this point. Be aware of what is around you)

13. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets. (Note: the statistics which have just been released here in Australia – August 1996, DO NOT SHOW that “Lights on” legislation has worked!)
(safety is the key, visibility is what will keep you the rider alive. Anything you can do to help is a good thing.)

14. Fuel system leaks and spills were present in 62% of the motorcycle accidents in the post-crash phase. This represents an undue hazard for fire.
(yeah well if you crush a MC at high speed, leaky fluids is always an issue. My gas tank is visible to the public you know)

15. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.
(this is a good stat as it may indicate that MC riders are sticking to the speed limits. cool)

16. The typical motorcycle pre-crash lines-of-sight to the traffic hazard portray no contribution of the limits of peripheral vision; more than three- fourths of all accident hazards are within 45 degrees of either side of straight ahead.
(well this seems contradictory to #12 above, but I think that it could be saying that when a MC goes down on its own, visibility was not a factor. um OK?)

17. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is most critical for the frontal surfaces of the motorcycle and rider. (repeat)

18. defects related to accident causation are rare and likely to be due to deficient or defective maintenance. (repeat)

19. Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly over-represented in accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly under represented. Although the majority of the accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), the female motorcycle riders are significantly over represented in the accident data.
(this goes to the attitude thing I spoke about above. With all those hormones racing through your body during puberty, how can anyone be expected to make right decisions while on two wheels, it just won’t happen. This is the demographic that has wrecked the rates in the insurance industry and although I am NOT saying all 16 to 24 years are bad drivers, they are the ones that get into the most trouble. As far a the female stat is concerned I would want to see proof of them being “over represented). They are few are far between and the stats will be higher, but that would be because there are less of them and NOT because they are worse drivers.)

20. Craftsmen, laborers, and students comprise most of the accident-involved motorcycle riders. Professionals, sales workers, and craftsmen are under represented and laborers, students and unemployed are over- represented in the accidents.
(hmmm bet this stat is changing. after all it was never “cool” for a professional to ride but now they are the fastest growing representation)

21. Motorcycle riders with previous recent traffic citations and accidents are over represented in the accident data.
(once a fool always a fool??? can we all say a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e!)

22. The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and is related to reduced injuries in the event of accidents.
(um hello…. safety is the key so do yourself a favour and take a safety course and develop your skills over the years by taking more courses. Nuf said!!!)

23. More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than 5 months experience on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost 3 years. Motorcycle riders with dirt bike experience are significantly under represented in the accident data.
(if you ride a bike, are a new rider you are going to make mistakes while riding, it’s inevitable. so yeah the first 1 to 3 years will be the toughest on the new rider because experience, or lack of it, plays a huge factor. But if you survive the first yeah, I mean stick with it, it you will get better….. but take a course to help get you through this…. please!)

24. Lack of attention to the driving task is a common factor for the motorcyclist in an accident.
(if you wake up in the morning and you think you should not ride but want to, DON”T. It is better to put off the ride than NOT be able to focus ALL you attention to riding.)

25. Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.
(really now…. this is very sad…. especially since drinking and driving any vehicle is dangerous, why would you want to do this when focusing all your attention while operating two wheels is hard enough sober, why oh why would you do this intoxicated. Again just say NO)

26. Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would over brake and skid the rear wheel, and under brake the front wheel greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to counter steer and swerve was essentially absent.
(again this goes to ability, speed, attention and experience. If you do not know what to do, then how can we expect you to do the right thing. TAKE A COURSE and learn what to do…. please….)

27. The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to complete all collision avoidance action.
(wow that is short… even for the experienced rider this could impossible. But if your awareness or SIPD is in effect, this two seconds could grow to two minutes. SIPD = scan, identify, predict, decide. it’s all about choices, make the right ones.)

28. Passenger-carrying motorcycles are not over represented in the accident area.

29. The driver of the other vehicles involved in collision with the motorcycle are not distinguished from other accident populations except that the ages of 20 to 29, and beyond 65 are over represented. Also, these drivers are generally unfamiliar with motorcycles.
(isn’t everyone who DOES NOT ride unfamiliar with MC’s, but having said that do these drivers live in a cave? have they not seen a MC on the road before they hit them?? I dunno?? seems suspicious to me)

30. The large displacement motorcycles are under represented in accidents but they are associated with higher injury severity when involved in accidents.
(hmmm the faster you go the more it hurts when you crash? again, it’s not the machine, it’s the rider and her/her capabilities that get them into trouble. injuries are bound to be more severe at higher speeds.)

31. Any effect of motorcycle color on accident involvement is not determinable from these data, but is expected to be insignificant because the frontal surfaces are most often presented to the other vehicle involved in the collision.
(ok so if the front of my bike was bright red, the other drivers could see it better? or if I had four walls around me it would be more noticeable???? but then I would be driving…. a …. car…. !!!!)

32. Motorcycles equipped with fairings and windshields are under represented in accidents, most likely because of the contribution to conspicuity and the association with more experienced and trained riders.
(I do believe this one and my first MC purchase had a large fairing. I must say the difference from that MC to the ones without a fairing was HUGE for visibility. being more visible saved my life a couple of times I am sure!! made me feel safer as well.)

33. Motorcycle riders in these accidents were significantly without motorcycle license, without any license, or with license revoked.
(what?!?!?!?!? are you crazy? Stay off the roads if you do not have a license. please!!!!)

34. Motorcycle modifications such as those associated with the semi-chopper or cafe racer are definitely over represented in accidents.
(could this go along with a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e? If you build it someone will abuse it. As my friend Forrest says “stupid is as stupid does” )

35. The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents-98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.
(um yeah of course it does, there are no walls or seat-belts to protect them or stop them from being a projectile… duh-oh… but soon airbags could be standard on all MC’s.)

36. Half of the injuries to the somatic regions were to the ankle-foot, lower leg, knee, and thigh-upper leg.
(that is due to rider positioning and the fact that from the waist down, it is the closest to the pavement, which means they are more likely to hit the pavement first)

37. Crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure; the reduction of injury to the ankle-foot is balanced by increase of injury to the thigh-upper leg, knee, and lower leg.
(same as above)

38.The use of heavy boots, jacket, gloves, etc., is effective in preventing or reducing abrasions and lacerations, which are frequent but rarely severe injuries.
(um yes, yes, yes!!!! get the right gear and protect yourself from the elements as best you can. Tank-tops, shorts and sandals ARE NOT the proper riding gear. Neither is the hot chick in a mico-mini-thong-showing skirt and heels dressed properly… you as the driver should know better!)

39. Groin injuries were sustained by the motorcyclist in at least 13% of the accidents, which typified by multiple vehicle collision in frontal impact at higher than average speed.
(yeah well this is because when the MC comes to an abrupt stop, you will be projected forward and since you are straddling your vehicle rather than in it, this is inevitable. Men have this issue more than women, but they both can sustain broken pelvis’ just the same….. ouch…)

40. Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size.
(duh-oh, of course it does and will continue to be a factor as long a people speed and drink while driving ANY, cars planes and motorcycles… driving under the influence is soooo passé… and just plain stupid to boot.)

41. Seventy-three percent of the accident-involved motorcycle riders used no eye protection, and it is likely that the wind on the unprotected eyes contributed in impairment of vision which delayed hazard detection.
(again, safety and protection is the key. At least were a pair of shatter-proof sunglasses would you. Should you were eyeglasses to see the world, make sure they are shatter-proof as well. Helmets come with visors, usually, so use them.)

42. Approximately 50% of the motorcycle riders in traffic were using safety helmets but only 40% of the accident-involved motorcycle riders were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
(well I cannot express the use of safety equipment enough. Here in Canada, helmets are mandatory. There is a reason for this… they save lives!. Nuf said)

43. Voluntary safety helmet use by those accident-involved motorcycle riders was lowest for untrained, uneducated, young motorcycle riders on hot days and short trips.
(see they do save lives…. take a course!! get the right attitude)

44. The most deadly injuries to the accident victims were injuries to the chest and head.
(hmmm again, being an instant projectile could have something to do with this)

45. The use of the safety helmet is the single critical factor in the prevention of reduction of head injury; the safety helmet which complies with FMVSS 218 is a significantly effective injury countermeasure.
(see they do save lives…. take a course!! get the right attitude)

46. Safety helmet use caused no attenuation of critical traffic sounds, no limitation of pre crash visual field, and no fatigue or loss of attention; no element of accident causation was related to helmet use.
(but it does protect the head and save lives…. interesting)

47. FMVSS 218 provides a high level of protection in traffic accidents, and needs modification only to increase coverage at the back of the head and demonstrate impact protection of the front of full facial coverage helmets, and insure all adult sizes for traffic use are covered by the standard.
(full-faced helmet are the best… shortie helmets are for the shelf, leave ’em there OK)

48. Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity.
(see they do save lives…. this is a no brainer 😉 )

49. The increased coverage of the full facial coverage helmet increases protection, and significantly reduces face injuries.
(yes and road rash on the face can be life changing, nose removing and expensive to correct)

50. There is not liability for neck injury by wearing a safety helmet; helmeted riders had less neck injuries than unhelmeted riders. Only four minor injuries were attributable to helmet use, and in each case the helmet prevented possible critical or fatal head injury.
(see they do save lives…. this stat only applies to 3/4 or full faced helmets.)

51. Sixty percent of the motorcyclists were not wearing safety helmets at the time of the accident. Of this group, 26% said they did not wear helmets because they were uncomfortable and inconvenient, and 53% simply had no expectation of accident involvement.
(see they do save lives…. stupid is as stupid does.)

52. Valid motorcycle exposure data can be obtained only from collection at the traffic site. Motor vehicle or driver license data presents information which is completely unrelated to actual use.

53. Less than 10% of the motorcycle riders involved in these accidents had insurance of any kind to provide medical care or replace property.
(OMGosh are you kidding me here…. who will pay the bills when you are in the hospital or lain up for several months or happen to kill someone… this is just plain dumb….)

So you see the right attitude, right safety equipment, practice, taking a safety course are all good things that are bound to extend your riding career. If I could select just one thing that would be attitude…. a right attitude will take you far in life as well as in your riding career.

Ride safely, ride long….. keep the sunny side up and the rubber side down 🙂

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2 Responses to “53 Reasons For a Motorcycle Accident and My Thoughts on Them All!”

  1. Slightly Twisted said

    Very informative.
    I would add a point for consideration as well. We need to look at the point of view from the motorcyclist towards the driver. Keeping our riding and observation skills honed and current is one of the keys to keeping ourselves alive, some education to the drivers of cages would also be of a benefit. Perhaps some inclusion about motorcycles in the driving training courses for cagers would be a place to start.
    Little things like educating cages as to where and why riders are on the roadway.

    A lot of cagers pride themselves on “knowing the size of their car”, well here is a fact for you. There is over four feet (in most cases) of metal between the headlights and the driver and while they may know the size of their car and have the ability to squeeze it in places in traffic. Motorcycles do not have that four plus feet, when your bumper comes that close to our vehicle it is actually that close to my personal space in the form of a body part or two that I am quite fond of.
    If I were to meet that same cager on the street and stand within three inches of their face there is a good possibility that they would feel that their personal space was being violated and become quite uncomfortable, maybe even aggressive. Yet they seem to think that motorcyclists are quite comfortable as they get that close while they are in a couple of tons of metal traveling at high velocity.
    Hmmmm, How do you think the cagers would feel if they were to change places with me and have the cager stand on the road while I parted his hair with my draft and ask them how safe they felt.

    I could see how someone that is a new rider could become quite disoriented by that or how a new hormone filled rider, thrilled by the speed of his new bullet on wheels, could get compromised by such an occurance and end up becoming a skid mark on the pavement or a new hood ornament on the car following too close.
    When will they devise a test for common sense for cagers to get their licence….

    Thanks BKD! Keep up the good work.

  2. gottabkd said

    Thanks for the comment Slightly Twisted…

    Here is what I want to know…. why are they not aware of us already?
    I get the fact that at the beginning of the season they may have forgotten that we exist, (due to winter hibernation) but by mid summer they should know we are there or at least know we MAY be nearby. There are thousands of motorcyclists on the roads every year with the numbers still growing; this is not a new phenomenon… The lack of blind spot checking, IMHO, is the reason “they don’t see us”. I mean wake-up would you, God gave you a neck to hold the head up… turn the head so that you can see us coming.
    At least the MTO tries to remind drivers that we are out there by writing on the overhead-hwy-digital billboards. I am sure it helps… in a small way…

    I still believe that as a MC’s, a right attitude is the best thing one can improve within themselves. Sometimes the wrong attitude plays the biggest downfall in the rider’s ability… They need a check-up from the neck-up.


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