Five Major Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia
Motorcyclists enjoy the sense of freedom they get from riding down a highway, but this enjoyment comes at a potentially heavy price. The accident rate for motorcycles is high both nationally and in Georgia. Even careful riders risk severe injury due to their lack of protection and the danger of operating these small vehicles in traffic or on hazardous roads.
Here are major causes of motorcycle accidents identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Drivers making left-hand turns — A high percentage of motorcycle accidents involving other vehicles are the result of drivers making left turns at intersections. Drivers turning left are paying attention to oncoming traffic and may not see a motorcycle traveling alongside them or trying to pass on their left. In addition, the driver may misjudge the speed of the motorcycle or its ability to stop or swerve.
- Failure to see a motorcycle — Many motorcycle accidents occur due to other drivers’ inability to see the bike. Because motorcycles are smaller than cars, have a narrower profile and can be masked by other traffic, they can be hard to detect, particularly at night or in poor weather conditions. Frequently, accidents happen when another driver is changing lanes and the motorcycle is in the driver’s blind spot.
- Hazardous road conditions — Motorcycles are much lighter and more unstable than other motor vehicles, so it is easy for them to lose traction on a road that is slippery from rain, ice or snow. Motorcycles are also more prone to crashes caused by hitting potholes, loose gravel, debris or other irregularities in the roadway.
- Speeding and reckless driving — The faster a motorcyclist rides, the more ground is covered and the less time there is to react to another motor vehicle swerving i or stopping suddenly ahead. Another cause of crashes is motorcycles making dangerous maneuvers or driving faster than road conditions permit.
- Lane splitting — Motorcyclists often ride between two marked lanes during heavy traffic. Lane splitting is illegal in Georgia but is still a leading cause of accidents. Other drivers may not expect a motorcycle between the traffic lanes and might not see it in time to avoid a collision, particularly when changing lanes or making turns.
Motorcycle riders often suffer severe harm in crashes, such as lacerations, bone fractures and brain and spinal cord injuries. However, recovering money damages in an accident lawsuit can be difficult because insurance companies and defense lawyers typically try to shift most of the blame to the rider. Under Georgia’s comparative negligence law, a rider must be less than 50 percent at fault in order to win damages. Even then, recovery will be reduced by that rider’s percentage of negligence.
A skilled Georgia attorney can make all the difference in a motorcycle accident case. To schedule a free consultation at the Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC in Newnan, call 470-344-8550 or contact me online.