Motorcycle accidents can have very serious consequences. Both motorcycle operators and drivers of passenger cars should be aware of where and how motorcycle accidents are most likely to occur.
The Florida Department of Transportation conducted a comprehensive study of motorcycle accidents in the state to provide more information on common causes of crashes. This study was reported on by Sun Sentinel. If motorcyclists and drivers review the information and identify the types of high-risk behaviors they may be engaging in, they can hopefully adjust the way they drive or ride in order to reduce the chances a motorcycle accident will happen.
One of the most common causes of West Palm Beach motorcycle accidents was drivers of passenger cars not seeing motorcycle riders. Another common cause of crashes involving a motorcycle and a car is that drivers who do see motorcycles don't always have a clear idea of how to share the road with riders.
Drivers who had a motorcycle license themselves were much more likely to be aware of motorcyclists around them, when those drivers were surveyed by the Florida Department of Transportation. For drivers without a motorcycle of their own, spotting motorcycles is hard because motorcycles are obviously much smaller than passenger cars are.
Since size and perceptions of speed are correlated, the small size of motorcycles also creates other problems when it comes to how drivers and motorcycle riders relate. Drivers often underestimate the speed of motorcycle riders, thus cutting the motorcyclist off even if the driver normally wouldn't have done that with a passenger car.
The biggest problems with drivers not noticing motorcycle riders arise when a driver is either changing lanes or making a left turn. The best way to prevent motorcycle crashes under these circumstances is for drivers to make a conscious effort to always look carefully for motorcyclists and to give motorcycles plenty of space when they see them. Since a Florida DOT study of 10 years of crash data showed that motorists in passenger cars were responsible for 60 percent of motorcycle accidents, drivers clearly have room for improvement.
Just because motorists in cars are often responsible for crashes, this doesn't mean that motorcyclists have no role to play in becoming safer. Around 34 percent of motorcycle crashes occur with just one vehicle (the motorcycle only), as compared with 19 percent of single-car accidents with only a passenger car.
Most of the single vehicle accidents that occur involving motorcycles happen when a motorcycle is going around a curve or in situations where a motorcycle is going too fast, or both. Motorcyclists need to maintain a safe speed and should especially be careful about slowing down when they take their bike around a curve.