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Common driver mistakes that are harmful to motorcyclists

Some drivers often remain unaware of the presence of motorcycles on U.S. roads. What happened to share and share alike? These drivers also make mistakes that are preventable if they simply subscribe to safe driving practices.

They may misjudge the distance between their vehicle and the motorcycle or just do not see them. The potential results of these mistakes: catastrophic or fatal injuries to the motorcyclist and his or her passengers.

Nearly 600 motorcyclists died on Florida roads in 2019

In 2019, Florida recorded 591 motorcyclist deaths, the most of any state, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That number accounted for nearly 12% of the country’s total 5,014 motorcyclist fatalities that year.

In other NHTSA statistics related to two-vehicle fatal collisions, most motorcyclists – 76% – died when struck from the front. Roughly 7% of motorcyclists died when struck from behind.

Veering into motorcycle’s path

Here are some of the more frequent car driver mistakes that contribute to motorcycle collisions:

  • Left turns in front of a motorcyclist: Whether a car driver does not see the smaller motorcycle traveling in their direction, misjudges its speed or the distance between them, such scenarios often lead to a collision. The NHTSA reported that 34% of U.S. motorcycle crashes occurred at intersections in 2019.
  • Veering into motorcycle’s path while changing lanes: All drivers must understand that blind spots exist. With obscured vision, drivers must be more vigilant. “Mirror, blinker, blind spot” is the mantra to which drivers must adhere.
  • Neglecting to stop and striking the motorcycle from behind: These collisions often occur at intersections where a motorcycle and other vehicles are stopped in traffic. Inattentive and distracted driving often are at the root of such collisions in which a car crashes into the rear of the motorcycle.

Vigilance may save lives

Motorcyclists know the challenges they face when sharing the road with cars, pickups, SUVs and big-rig trucks. They also understand the need to take extra precautionary measures when riding toward, behind and in front of these vehicles. That vigilance just may save their lives.