Motorcycles are an undeniable part of our region’s recreational culture. As long as the weather is good, you’ll see motorcyclists taking rides up and down the river, stopping through the towns and cities of the area.
Unfortunately, this comes with risks. These days, a motorcycle operator can be as safe as possible and still wind up in a serious wreck because of an inattentive or poor driver. But just how big of a problem is this?
Fatalities and incapacitating injuries
Even just locally, the figures for motorcycle crashes are worrying. In 2018, looking at only Madison and St. Clair counties, there were 149 motorcycles involved in wrecks. Tragically, these crashes resulted in seven deaths. This does not tell the whole story.
There were also 116 injuries due to these crashes. Of those, 47 were considered incapacitating. That means, afterward, a victim was no longer able to walk, drive or do other regular life activities. These types of wounds often involve severe lacerations, broken limbs, damage to the chest or skull, abdominal injuries, brain damage or spinal injuries.
These are injuries that can change a person forever, impacting their ability to enjoy life’s pleasures and piling on expensive medical bills.
Top causes of motorcycle wrecks
In many instances, motorcyclists are not to blame for what happened. One federal transportation study found human error is the root cause of nearly all motorcycle crashes – and more often than not, it is the fault of another driver’s error or failure.
The most common situations that led to multivehicle wrecks, according to the study, were:
- Another vehicle turning left in front of a motorcyclist
- A motorcyclist going off the road while attempting to avoid a collision with another vehicle
- A sideswipe
- A motorcyclist hitting the rear of another vehicle
- Another vehicle, going the opposite direction, turning in front of a motorcyclists
- Another vehicle making a U-turn or Y-turn in front of a motorcyclist
As you can see, of the top six most common crash configurations, almost all point to another driver’s error as a key factor.
None of this is meant to discourage you from hitting the road. Instead, it is to help you understand the current challenges motorcyclists face, but which they have little control over. And know that, should a terrible crash happen, negligent drivers that caused you harm can be held responsible.