Motorcycles can be exhilarating to ride, but part of that thrill comes from the risk involved. The lack of enclosure to protect someone’s body means that any crash that occurs could lead to major injuries. Even someone with years of experience operating two-wheeled motor vehicles can end up severely hurt in a crash caused by someone in a bigger vehicle.
Those who frequently ride on motorcycles for fun or day-to-day transportation can help keep themselves safer by learning about why crashes occur and the factors that might increase someone’s risk. Reviewing statistics to understand where a motorcycle crash is most likely to occur can actually help someone make much better choices in the interests of their own safety.
Intersections are dangerous places
Quite a few collisions occur at intersections on surface roads for obvious reasons. In any place where drivers have to encounter one another while moving in different directions, the possibility of a crash is higher than usual. When looking at motorcycle collisions specifically, a staggering amount of the wrecks that occur each year take place at intersections.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 70% of motorcycle collisions occur at an intersection. Other drivers simply fail to notice the motorcycle as they should and end up turning or proceeding straight through the intersection, only to collide with the motorcycle and injure its rider.
How motorcyclists can protect themselves
Defensive driving rules can help reduce the amount of risk involved in crossing an intersection on a motorcycle, since avoiding them isn’t a very realistic safety goal. Riders who understand the degree of risk involved can pause and more carefully monitor the actions of others before proceeding through the intersection.
They can also be careful about more consistently using their turn signals at every intersection and about minimizing left-hand turns at busy intersections, which is the maneuver with the strongest association with preventable crashes. When motorcyclists and other vehicle owners adjust their behaviors to reflect known risks, they protect themselves both from the possibility of injury and from liability if they ever do get into a crash.
Reviewing what statistics say about motorcycle collisions can help riders prevent accidents and better respond to them when they do occur.