Recent Houston Accident Demonstrates the Leading Cause of Motorcycle Crashes
Written by Greg on August 2, 2018
The Houston Chronicle ran a story about a motorcycle accident that happened on FM 1960 close to E. Lake Houston Parkway on August 1, 2018. The motorcycle rider was headed west when a driver headed the other direction turned left into a parking lot hitting the motorcycle almost head-on.
The motorcycle crash happened about 9 PM night. According to the report, the automobile driver did not see the motorcyclist. The report indicates that the motorcycle rider was life-flighted and is in critical condition. We hope for the best for him and his family.
Motorcycles are Hard to See
The most significant factor in motorcycle crashes is the inability of the other drivers to see the motorcycle. Whether it is in broad daylight or at night the conspicuity factor of a bike is the leading cause of crashes. It comes down to the small size of the motorcycle and other motorists expecting to see automobiles or pickup trucks.
Often, a quick check in the mirror that would detect another vehicle does not alert the driver of the potential for an impact with the motorcycle. In this instance, the other driver did not see the bike coming in the other direction. When a motorcycle rider is hit by a car, it usually comes down to the other driver just not seeing the rider.
Studies about Visibility
Study after study has been done attempting to determine what is the safest possible combination for motorcycle riders. Each study recommends that motorcycle riders wear bright colored clothing and helmets to aid in visibility. One research by the Iowa Department of Transportation indicates yellow is the best color for a motorcycle rider to wear.
67% of motorcycle crashes and near misses fall into two categories both involving inability to see the motorcycle rider. Those two categories are pulling out into traffic when an oncoming motorcycle approaches and like, in this case, turning in front of a motorcycle.
While manufacturers of motorcycles have done their best to enhance visibility through innovative headlights and otherwise, the size and single headlights of motorcycles make them hard to see.
Urban Riders at Greater Danger
While the dangers for motorcycle riders of not being seen apply regardless of where they’re at, studies have shown that riders are in much higher risk in areas of high traffic such as major metropolitan areas like Houston. The higher the traffic volume and congestion the more likely it is that a motorcyclist will not be seen by another vehicle.