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Trecker & Fritz Attorneys at Law

Five Preventable Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents

According to the Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaii had the third highest rate of fatal motorcycle accidents per capita in 2008 and 2009 was the deadliest year for Hawaii motorbike riders yet. As the number of motorcycle riders, motorcycle accidents, and motorcycle injuries continue to rise, it is a sad fact that many of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Hawaii are preventable.

"I Just Didn't See Him."

Perhaps the most common cause of deadly motorcycle accidents in Hawaii is simply lack of visibility. Due to a motorcycle's smaller size, they can easily disappear in drivers' blind spots or behind trees or other obstructions. Many motorcycle accidents occur when a car pulls out in front of an oncoming bike or broadsides a motorcycle in an intersection. What is the best way to prevent these accidents?  Bikers should always use their headlights and auto and truck especially drivers should be acutely aware of motorcycles (or the possibility of motorcycles) on the road. In addition, motorcycle drivers also need to drive defensively and assume worst case scenarios. Unfortunately, even when motorcycle drivers are driving in a responsible manner other drivers cause collisions.

A recent article in Crash Science magazine entitled Left Turn Larry is available from Trecker and Fritz and discussed this most common cause of all motorcycle crashes, injury and death where the truck or auto typically turns left in front of the motorcycle and the motorcycle operator doesn't have time to perceive, react, and take evasive action making a collision imminent and unavoidable. This scenario is almost always the left turning truck or auto's legal responsibility since Hawaii law is very clear that a vehicle shall not turn left unless it is safe to do so.

"I Only Had One or Two."

Just as alcohol is responsible for a significant percentage of car and truck accidents, driving under the influence is a leading cause of motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities. In fact, some motorcycle safety advocates argue that drinking and driving on motorcycle can be dangerous even if you are under the legal limit - since biking takes more balance and coordination than driving.

"I Just Bought the Bike."

Most car and truck drivers have logged hundreds or thousands of hours driving their vehicles, but a large number of motorcycle riders don't have a comparable amount of experience on their bike. They might not know how to negotiate curves or rough pavement safely or they might not understand what speeds are reasonable in order to maintain control. While Hawaii motorcycle riders are required to pass a skills test and hold a motorcycle license, like many skills certain motorcycle skills can only be learned through experience on a bike.

"My Motorcycle Is for Recreation."

Speed or reckless driving was a factor in 44% of 2009 fatal motorcycle accidents in Hawaii. While other vehicles are often seen as a convenient means of transportation and nothing more, a percentage of drivers see motorbikes or motorcycle as a chance to go on a thrill ride or to live on the edge. Riding motorcycles at safe speeds can be thrilling and enjoyable and most motorcycle riders are responsible - but some push their bikes to the limit and beyond. Speeding can cause motorcycles to drift out of their lanes into oncoming traffic, slide onto their sides, leave the roadway or slam into obstacles.

"I Thought I Was Tailing at a Reasonable Distance."

Rear-end or quick-stop motorcycle accidents can be serious or deadly even at relatively slow speeds. A quick-stop accident can cause a rider or passenger to be ejected from his bike or cause the bike to flip over the rider. These accidents are preventable if motorcycles allow for more room between vehicles and if other vehicles are more aware of the danger of quick-stop motorcycle accidents.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident in Hawaii, talk to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer today. For a full accident assessment by a specialized motorbike crash attorney, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.