While Motorcycle Awareness Month in May concludes just in time for the Memorial Day holiday, motorcyclists throughout western Pennsylvania and the rest of the state relish the opportunity to ride in springtime and warmer weather. But they also remain aware of the potential dangers caused by drivers of cars, SUVs, pick-ups and large trucks.

The main problem bikers face is that motorists do not pay attention to them. When this happens, it often leads to terrible mishaps that include fatal and serious injuries. Other motorists must subscribe to better driving habits, follow traffic laws and understand that they share the roads with the much smaller motorcycles.

Turning left in front, driving into cyclist’s path

More than 5,000 motorcyclists died on U.S. roads in 2019, a slight increase in the deaths reported the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorcyclist fatalities comprised 14% of all U.S. traffic fatalities in 2019. Pennsylvania recorded 176 of those fatalities with the state having the fifth-most motorcyclist deaths of any state, ranking behind Florida (591); California (474); Texas (416); and North Carolina (208).

Also, roughly 84,000 motorcyclists received injuries in 2019, marking a 2% increase from the 82,000 injuries reported in the previous year. Here are common driving mistakes by other motorists that contribute to motorcycle accidents:

  • Turning left in front of a motorcyclist: Sometimes, motorists may not see a motorcycle or simply misjudge the speed of the motorcycle. When this occurs at an intersection, a fatal accident is possible.
  • Making a lane change into the path of a motorcyclist: In these situations, a motorist often does not see the smaller motorcycle. Such an accident may occur due to inattentiveness and distraction or perhaps the driver’s blind spot contributed.
  • Failing to stop and then colliding into a motorcycle from behind: Such accidents occur when a motorcyclist is stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. Even if the motorcyclist sees an approaching vehicle, he or she has little time to maneuver out of the way before getting struck from behind.

Anytime motorcyclists journey on a road or highway, they know how crucial it is to be cautious and on the lookout for other motorists who do not always pay attention to traffic rules or fail to follow common sense.