Motorcycle riders are often subject to blame and criticism when it comes to accidents and crashes. Whether it results from societal biases, misconceptions, or a lack of understanding, placing responsibility on motorcycle riders for their own accidents is common.
This blame often ignores the circumstances contributing to these incidents and disregards the unique challenges riders face on the road. Motorcycles make up about 3% of all registered vehicles in the U.S. but account for nearly 14% of all traffic fatalities. These accidents are often due to the negligent actions of other drivers.
If you are injured in a motorcycle collision, our Michigan motorcycle crash lawyers at Fieger Law can help you fight negative stereotypes and get you the compensation you deserve.
Common Misconceptions About Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle riders often grapple with misconceptions contributing to unfair treatment and discrimination on the road and within legal systems. These misconceptions stem from deeply ingrained stereotypes that paint motorcycle riders as reckless, drunk, or speed demons who are responsible for their own crashes.
These biases are apparent in the attitudes of other road users, the actions of law enforcement officers, the assessments made by insurance adjusters after crashes, and judgments rendered by juries in injury claims. Common misconceptions about motorcycle drivers include:
- Recklessness and Irresponsibility
One of the most widespread misconceptions surrounding motorcycle riders is the belief that they are reckless and irresponsible. This stereotype portrays riders as thrill-seekers who deliberately engage in dangerous behavior like lane-splitting, aggressive driving, or ignoring other vehicles’ blind spots.
The truth is that most motorcyclists follow traffic laws closely to ensure a safe ride. Motorcycle fatalities were around 28 times higher than for people riding in cars in 2020; riders know they are at an increased risk of injury due to lack of protection and drive safely to avoid injury.
- Drunk or Impaired Riding
Many people believe that motorcycle riders are more prone to riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs compared to other motorists. This myth can lead to police or insurers assigning the blame for an accident to riders instead of performing thorough testing on all parties involved in an accident.
However, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 72% of motorcycle riders involved in a fatal crash were not alcohol-impaired. This disproves the idea that motorcycle riders are overwhelmingly riding under the influence and causing accidents.
- Speeding and Excessive Speed
Motorcycle riders are frequently associated with speeding and excessive speed. This misconception stems from the stereotype of the reckless biker tearing through traffic at high speeds. As a result, when a crash occurs involving a motorcycle, it is common for others to assume that the rider was speeding and, therefore, responsible for the accident, despite limited or no evidence.
In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that while 45% of riders between the ages of 25 and 29 involved in fatal accidents were speeding (the highest percent of any age group), the vast majority of motorcyclists overall were not, and no age group had a majority of riders found to be speeding before their crashes.
The Truth About Motorcyclists and Road Accidents
Motorcycle riders are more vulnerable to injuries in road accidents – in fact, motorcycle riders are more likely to die in an accident than car occupants. Riders are aware of this, too, and take care to avoid crashes through road safety and evasive maneuvers. Often, incidents involving motorcyclists are not their fault but the fault of another party:
- Other Drivers’ Negligence
In 2021, 62% of motorcyclist fatalities involved multiple vehicles. Specifically, 76% of the motorcycles in these crashes were hit in the front, which indicates another car crashing into the rider, such as during a left-hand turn. Failure to yield the right of way, distracted driving, and inadequate observation of motorcycles are frequent contributing factors.
- Left-Turn Collisions
Left-turn collisions pose a substantial risk to motorcycle riders. These accidents often occur when a vehicle makes a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle, misjudging its speed or failing to notice it altogether. According to the NHTSA, 42% of fatal motorcycle crashes happen when another vehicle turns left.
- Lane Changing Incidents
Accidents can result from other vehicles changing lanes into motorcycles without proper awareness or signaling, leading to collisions or forced evasive actions by riders. In about one in five crashes, both the motorcycle and passenger car were traveling straight, which may indicate the other car did not check its blind spot when changing lanes.
- Road Conditions and Hazards
Motorcycles are more susceptible to uneven pavement, potholes, debris, and adverse weather conditions. These factors can increase the likelihood of a rider losing control and crashing.
Motorcycle accidents are not solely the fault of riders. The truth lies in acknowledging the increased vulnerability of motorcycle riders and the external factors contributing to crashes. In 2021, 82,686 motorcyclists were injured. Of these accidents, a majority occurred because of head-on collisions that were not the rider’s fault.
How Motorcycle Rider Myths Can Affect Your Compensation Claim
Motorcycle myths and misconceptions can impact insurance claims and legal proceedings following a motorcycle accident. These perceptions often lead to initial bias when determining fault, lower settlement offers, and challenges in court proceedings.
Myths regarding motorcyclists may cause police to unfairly or too quickly report the rider at fault and insurance adjusters to assign more blame to the motorcyclist, making it harder to receive fair compensation. These reports result in lower settlements that are also hard to challenge because jurors often start with a negative impression of motorcyclists.
Receive the Help You Need with Fieger Law
By gathering compelling evidence and advocating for the rights of motorcycle riders, our attorneys at Fieger Law can help protect your rights and ensure fair representation when seeking a settlement for your injuries.
We support motorcycle accident victims. We will use our experience, dedication, and commitment to fairness to fight against the impact of motorcycle myths on your claim to win you maximum compensation.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a motorcycle accident, seek the assistance of Fieger Law. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.