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The biggest killer of motorcyclists

6389 Views 76 Replies 32 Participants Last post by  hogcowboy
To summarize. The three deaths below in Lincoln Nebraska were caused by left turning drivers violating motorcyclist right of way. The 1981 Hurt report had cited this as the most common cause of the most common type of motorcycle accident, collision with another vehicle. It seems that little has changed.

Bottom line: We talk a lot about driving defensively, but if you don't have a plan for surviving potential left turning drivers at an intersection or a vehicle planning to turn left off the roadway into your path other than hoping for the best, you're running a terrible risk of becoming a statistic. This MUST be an active safety action by the cyclist, it CANNOT be left to chance.

My own solution has always been to

Slow down- Reduce speed to the point where you can survive an impact.
Try to make eye contact with the driver- then proceed with extreme caution at a speed that gives you time to respond or reduces the consequences of a crash.
Cover the Brakes- and have a plan

Curious to hear how others manage this high-risk situation.

Lincoln man charged with motor vehicle homicide for crash that killed motorcyclist | Crime and Courts |

Lincoln teen pleads no contest in crash that killed motorcycle rider | Crime and Courts |

Lincoln teen charged with motor vehicle homicide for crash with motorcyclist near UNL campus | Crime and Courts |

Reference: The Hurt Report, 1981
Article source: The Hurt Study Summary - webBikeWorld

  1. Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most usually a passenger automobile

  2. In the multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.

  3. Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause. The most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
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Is "slow down at intersections" still good advice if:

1-- You yourself for not turning, but simply trying to go straight through the green light.

2-- You are traveling at a speed that is both consistent with the flow of traffic and within the posted speed limits.

3-- There are other motor vehicles behind you and the light has been green for at least a few seconds, so therefore they are not expecting you or any of the vehicles in front of them to slow down. They assume you'll just drive through the intersection.
If the 3 conditions above are in existence I think slowing down significantly as you get to that intersection would make it more likely you'd get rear ended.

If there are not any cars following you closely, and you're not concerned about getting rear ended ....
... then what about the idea that you slowing down will cause a driver who wants to turn in front of you to go ahead and take that opportunity ( or what he sees as an opportunity?) Maybe that other driver will mistake your slowing down as a sign of intention to yield to him?
In the last 9 months since I bought my first dedicated street-use motorcycle, there have been 4 motorcycle fatalities around me reported in the local news.

Three out of the four involved drivers of cars or pickups turning into the road and pulling out in front of the motorcyclists.

Here's a story on the latest one:

One other death was a rear end collision where a distracted off-duty cop struck and killed a motorcyclist and the bike's passenger, while they were just sitting at a red light.

I have not yet, in all those 9 months, heard of any fatality or even serious injury by an accident caused by the fault of the two wheeler! ( Athough there definitely are reckless riders out there-- I see a guy 2 or 3 times a week because we take a similar route down the highway on our morning commute, and this Harley rider tailgates the vehicles in front of him so close he looks like he's being towed on a motorcycle trailer! I saw him crank that throttle so hard pulling onto the highway on-ramp that he started fishtailing, but he managed to keep it upright.)
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