Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Honolulu, HI
While there are many different ways a motorcycle accident can occur, there’s one thing many accidents have in common: devastating injuries to the biker. Because motorcycles are lighter than cars and offer less protection in the event of a crash, motorcyclists often suffer intense injuries in an accident.
The Hawaii motorcycle accident lawyers at Recovery Law Center have more than 25 years of experience helping people get fair compensation for their injuries. We’ll work tirelessly to uphold your rights and get you the money you need. Get a free initial consultation by calling either of our Honolulu offices or visiting our contact page. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start fighting for you.
Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
Failure to share the road
Many motorists treat motorcyclists as if they don’t belong on the roads, even though they have the same rights and responsibilities as any other driver. Drivers don’t always look out for motorcycles, especially when passing or merging. Because motorcycles are less visible than other cars, a failure to check carefully can be devastating.
Accidents can also happen if drivers see a motorcyclist but fail to give them enough space to maneuver safely. Drivers who tailgate or stop short in front of a motorcycle can also cause deadly collisions.
Distracted driving is a growing problem in Hawaii and across the country, especially since nearly everyone has a cell phone.
Distractions can impact drivers in three different ways. First, they take drivers’ eyes off the road, preventing them from seeing hazards in their path.
Second, they can take drivers’ hands off the wheel and prevent them from reacting properly in an emergency.
Finally, they take drivers’ concentration away from the task of driving, which increases their reaction times and prevents them from recognizing imminent dangers.
Texting while driving is considered the worst form of distracted driving because it involves all three types of distractions. However, eating, adjusting the radio, checking navigation devices, applying makeup, or reaching for objects in the car are all examples of distracted driving that could result in motorcycle accidents.
Driving under the influence
Safety advocates have been trying to get people to stop drinking and driving for years, but it’s still far too common. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs have slowed reaction times, impaired judgment, compromised motor skills, and diminished cognitive function. These impairments make it harder for drivers to safely handle their vehicles, increasing the chances of a motorcycle collision.
Unsafe lane changes
When drivers don’t signal appropriately before making a lane change or fail to check for motorcycles in their vicinity, the risk of causing an accident increases exponentially. A driver who doesn’t exercise enough care when changing lanes may not see a motorcyclist in their path until it’s too late.
Driving too fast gives drivers less time and space to react in the event of an emergency. Speeding also increases the chances for catastrophic injuries in a motorcycle accident. The faster a vehicle is moving, the more violent the force of impact in a collision. With no outer shell of protection to shield a motorcyclist, the consequences of a speed-related crash can be especially tragic.
There are two common situations involving left turns that can lead to a motorcycle accident. The first is when a driver makes a left turn and misjudges the distance between their vehicle and a motorcycle crossing through the intersection. The vehicles may collide, or they may swerve to avoid each other and end up crashing anyway.
The second scenario occurs when a motorcyclist is turning left and a driver doesn’t properly account for the distance between them, causing the vehicles to collide.
When drivers don’t exercise care when passing or turning, they can end up plowing head-on into a motorcycle. For example, a passing motorist may not see a motorcycle in oncoming traffic before changing lanes, leading to a front-end accident. Head-on collisions are among the worst accidents for any motorist, but are especially dangerous for motorcyclists who may be ejected from the vehicle and thrown into the air.
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle moves between two lanes of traffic going in the same direction, thus “splitting” the lanes to get to their destination more quickly. This is illegal in every state except California, but some motorcyclists try it anyway. Lane splitting is extremely risky, as the vehicles already in the lanes might suddenly move into a motorcyclist’s path when changing lanes or turning.
Roads that are poorly maintained are particularly hazardous to motorcyclists. Potholes, eroded surfaces, missing guardrails, damaged signs, or signs obscured by trees or shrubs can contribute to accidents that are not the rider’s fault. Local and state government agencies are responsible for maintaining these roads. Failure to do so puts everyone at risk.
You have two years to file a personal injury claim against a government entity in Hawaii. However, you only have six months to file a claim against a county, so be sure to speak to a motorcycle accident attorney before the statute of limitations expires.