5 Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Louisiana

A motorcycle resting on its side behind a car following an accident

Every year, nearly 2,000 Louisiana motorcyclists are involved in traffic accidents, suffering injuries, busted bikes, and for more than 80 of them, wrongful death. While there are a variety of reasons that can contribute to a motorcycle accident, nearly all of them can be attributed to driver negligence.

The majority of motorcycle accidents are the fault of the other vehicle, either because they don’t notice the motorcycle or they’re not paying attention. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the most common scenarios leading to motorcycle accidents in Louisiana so you can learn to be extra cautious and avoid causing, or being involved in, a crash.

1. Left-hand Turns

By far, the most dangerous place for a motorcyclist to be is near cars turning left. Left-turning drivers account for over 40% of all motorcycle accidents. Drivers often misjudge the motorcycle’s speed or fail to realize they’re in the intersection at all due to their blind spots, failing to pay attention, or being distracted.

Usually, cars impact motorcycles as they’re turning left and the motorcycle is either travelling straight through the intersection or attempting to pass them. The results of these crashes vary, but often the motorcyclist is much more heavily injured than the driver of the passenger car.

2. Inexperienced Drivers

According to the most comprehensive motorcycle safety study that’s ever been done, the HURT Report, more than half of motorcycle accident victims had less than five months of experience on their current bike, and around three years of experience riding motorcycles in general. In addition, fully two-thirds of all accidents resulted from motorcyclist error, including turning too wide, cornering too narrowly, speeding, or braking too hard.

To counter this trend, Louisiana State Police started the Louisiana Motorcycle Safety Program, which has trained over 200,000 riders over the last decades, and saved thousands more from preventable injuries.

A traffic warning triangle resting on the road in front of a damaged motorcycle and car after an accident in Louisiana

3. Driving Under the Influence

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of all motorcycle accident involve alcohol abuse, either on the part of the motorcyclist or the other driver. In fact, 29% of motorcyclists in fatal crashes were found to be intoxicated (that is, their blood-alcohol concentration was above 0.08%), versus only 22% of motor vehicle drivers.

Whenever you get on the road, avoid drinking and driving. Alcohol has a number of effects on a driver’s ability, including decreased reaction time, worse judgment, and more. If you’ve been the victim of a drunk driver accident, you could be eligible for compensation for your injuries.

4. Reckless Driving

Reckless driving behaviors—including speeding, tailgating, improper merging, aggressive driving, and other behaviors—all contribute to the likelihood of a crash. Passenger vehicles are much more massive, and their occupants are better-protected, than motorcycles. This means that in a crash, the motorcyclist is much more likely to be hurt or even killed than the passenger driver.

Motorcyclists aren’t completely blameless when it comes to aggressive driving either: the NHTSA found that a third of motorcyclists who were killed in crashes were speeding at the time, and the HURT Report found that 1 out of 1,000 accidents involved a motorcycle traveling over 86 mph.

5. Rush Hour

Finally, the time of day that you ride your bike can affect your chances of being involved in an accident. The most dangerous time to travel by motorcycle is between 3–6 P.M. on weekdays, also known as rush hour.

During rush hour, the greater number of cars on the road, many of whom are fatigued from their jobs or staring into the setting sun, greatly increases your risk of a motorcycle accident at that time. In fact, the largest percentage of motorcyclists are killed or injured during this time than any other time of day.

On the other hand, the safest time of day for motorcyclists are the early morning hours, before 9 A.M. Keep that in mind next time you take a ride on your bike.

Dedicated Louisiana Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers

The head of Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys, Gordon McKernan

Experts estimate that fewer than 10% of motorcyclists have the insurance necessary to cover property damage or medical costs after they’ve been in a crash. Because the majority of motorcycle accidents are the fault of the other driver, if you’ve been the victim of a motorcycle accident you should be compensated for your damages.

Get the help you deserve and the compensation you’re entitled to by calling Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys today. We have 679+ years of combined legal experience helping Louisiana motorcycle drivers collect the compensation they need to heal and move on. Give us a call at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation today.