blog home Motorcycle Accident What Makes Motorcycles So Much More Dangerous Than Cars?

By Renee Nordstrand on November 20, 2023

A motorcycle on the ground in an intersection after an accident.

It’s not surprising that California has more motorcycle riders than any other state. Of course, California has the largest population, but there are additional reasons why motorcycles are popular in the Golden State. Our short rainy season makes it possible for people to use motorcycles to get around town and commute to work almost year-round.

A lot of motorcycle riders enjoy leisurely trips along our scenic roads and highways. Gas prices are high in California, and motorcycles get outstanding mileage. Many Californians who are concerned about the environment prefer to ride a motorcycle because it leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than a gas-guzzling car, truck, or SUV.

Despite all the advantages, there is no escaping the fact that motorcycles are not as safe as cars. There are two main reasons why riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than traveling inside a passenger vehicle. Motorcycles lack the safety features designed to protect motor vehicle occupants, and most of the accidents that cause injuries and fatalities for motorcycle riders are caused by drivers disobeying traffic laws or simply failing to look out for motorcycles.

Why Motorcycle Riders Are More Vulnerable Than Automobile Occupants

Sadly, California averages over 500 hundred motorcycle accident fatalities per year. One clear cause of motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities is the lack of protection provided due to a motorcycle’s basic design. Drivers and passengers inside motor vehicles have a secure cabin that’s designed to protect them. Generations of safety enhancements have led to seatbelts, airbags, padded dashboards, unibody construction, and other features designed specifically to increase vehicle safety.

Because a motorcycle lacks so many of the attributes that help protect automobile passengers, a motorcycle rider’s body frequently suffers direct impact with a wall, roadway obstruction, or motor vehicle when a collision occurs. If the rider is able to avoid direct contact with a large object, they are likely to scrape along the pavement for a considerable distance, and this causes serious injuries, such as road rash.

Accidents That Cause Motorcycle Rider Injuries

Just three percent of registered vehicles are motorcycles, but motorcycle riders account for 14 percent of all traffic accident fatalities. The majority of motorcycle riders are responsible citizens who take good care of their vehicles and follow traffic laws. Unfortunately, no matter who is responsible for causing a crash, motorcycle riders and their passengers are much more likely to suffer severe injuries and fatalities.

Irresponsible drivers engage in an array of negligent behaviors that frequently harm motorcycle riders, such as:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI). Nobody should get behind the wheel of a car when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Intoxication impairs a driver’s reflexes, coordination, judgment, and vision, making them less likely to see a motorcycle on the road and less capable of avoiding a collision.
  • Distracted driving. It only takes a moment of inattention to cause a deadly crash, and cell phone use is a major cause of driver distraction. That’s why California has a hands-free law that prohibits drivers from using handheld devices for texting, talking, checking social media, or any other purpose when they are on the road.
  • Speeding is never a good idea. Drivers who are going too fast have less time to react to a hazardous situation, and the injuries that motorcycle riders and their passengers endure are going to be much more severe.
  • Unsafe merges and lane changes. Drivers must make sure a lane is clear, signal, and then check the lane again before merging or changing lanes. Due to their small size, motorcycles are less visible than other vehicles, and that’s why it is so important for divers to take the necessary precautions to avoid them.
  • Dooring occurs when a driver or a driver-side passenger fails to check to see if anyone is coming before opening the door. Motorcycle riders don’t have enough time to react when this happens, and dooring causes serious injuries.

Talk to a Santa Barbara Motorcycle Accident Attorney If You Were Injured

If you were injured in a Santa Barbara motorcycle crash caused by a negligent driver, contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will investigate the accident and file a claim or lawsuit to help you get the money you need to cover the cost of your medical bills and other damages, such as lost wages, PTSD, in-home nursing care, and occupational therapy.

Motorcycle collisions cause serious injuries, including:

Were You Injured by a Careless Driver?

At NordstrandBlack PC, you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case. We have a perfect 10.0 Avvo rating and an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Our Santa Barbara motorcycle accident lawyers are ready to discuss your options and see how we can help.

Call (805) 962-2022 to schedule a FREE consultation today.

Posted in: Motorcycle Accident