Distracted driving can cause motorcycle accidents in many ways, as a person can hit a nearby motorcyclist if they take their eyes off the road or their minds off driving for any reason.
Anyone on or near a road is at risk of becoming involved in a traffic accident, but the risk of injury or death for motorcyclists in a traffic crash is substantially higher. Although motorcycles make up just three percent of all vehicles, riders accounted for 14 percent of all crash fatalities in 2017, according to data compiled by the National Safety Council (NSC).
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), motorcyclists face an increased risk of injury or death for several reasons:
- The impact of any crash hits them directly, with no protection from a car frame encasing them.
- Motorcycles do not have the stability or maneuverability of cars when they must brake or swerve quickly to avoid obstacles.
- Riders face exposure to the elements (rain, snow, sleet) in their environment and the roads.
Motorcyclists also face other risks while riding. When the sun goes down, they become more difficult for other motorists to spot because of their small size. They also can become hidden more easily in a driver’s blind spot or larger vehicles. Because fewer motorcyclists are on the road, car and truck drivers do not always anticipate their movements accurately.
These factors make it more likely for a driver to crash into a motorcycle. When that driver becomes distracted, they might have even less time to react when a motorcycle suddenly comes into view.
Explaining Distracted Driving
Distracted driving occurs whenever a motorist does not pay attention to the road for any reason. It is a decision that has cost many people their lives.
According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving crashes killed 2,841 people in 2018. Over 60 percent of the fatalities were drivers of the vehicles, followed by passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Anything can distract a driver from paying attention to their surroundings and the road ahead. Common behaviors that lead to distracted driving include:
- Using a cellphone for calls, emails, texts, and other phone-related activities.
- Reaching for items in the vehicle.
- Eating or drinking.
- Adjusting a radio station or entertainment system.
- Looking at electronic devices, such as Global Positioning System (GPS).
- Monitoring or watching passengers.
- Grooming oneself (e.g., combing or brushing hair, or putting on makeup).
- Nodding off while behind the wheel.
The NHTSA called texting while driving “the most alarming distraction,” likening the five seconds that it takes to send or read a text while traveling at 55 mph to “driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”
Any of these behaviors can cause distracted driving that leads to motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle riders can also engage in these behaviors, causing them to collide with another vehicle, person, or object on the road.
Types of Distracted Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines the three types of distractions that a driver could face—visual, manual, and cognitive. Some distracted driving cases involve all three of these.
Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off the road for any amount of time. This form of distracted driving comes to most people’s minds when they hear the term “distracted driving.”
Manual distractions involve taking one’s hands off the wheel. Examples include:
- Adjusting their seatbelt.
- Grabbing food or drink.
- Adjusting the stereo or electronic device.
It can be hard to control a vehicle without having at least one hand on the wheel, which could easily contribute to a distracted driving crash.
Cognitive (or mental) distractions prompt drivers to take their concentration off the task at hand. This loss of focus can happen when you talk to someone in the seat next to you, think about the to-do list you must complete, or become upset about something.
All these distractions can affect a person’s ability to exercise sound judgment and decision-making when operating a motor vehicle.
Examples of How Distracted Driving Can Cause a Motorcycle Accident
Drivers are not perfect, and they do not always engage in distracted driving on purpose. However, distracted driving can cause an accident with a motorcycle if the driver:
- Veers over into the lane and sideswipes the bike.
- Turns without seeing the motorcyclist.
- Does not anticipate a motorcyclist’s sudden maneuvers.
- Rear-ends a motorcyclist stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.
- Misses seeing a motorcyclist in their blind spot.
A distracted motorcycle driver can also engage in behavior that can cause an accident. They might not see a motorist stopped ahead, ride too closely to a larger vehicle, trail a vehicle too closely, or slip into someone’s blind spot, making it difficult for another driver to see them.
How a Lawyer Can Help You After a Motorcycle Accident
Various factors can lead to distracted driving that causes a motorcycle accident. If you or a loved one suffered injuries after a distracted driving crash, you could recover compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and other losses from the other driver if they had liability for the accident.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can investigate the accident and help you file a personal injury lawsuit to hold the party who caused your accident responsible. Call us now at (800) 959-1444 to discuss your accident with a team member during a free case evaluation.