Have you ever heard that Harley Davidson makes their engines so loud so that cars are aware that the motorcycle is there? That is not necessarily true. According to Harley Davidson, it designs all its motorcycles to comply with the U.S. EPA Code, which mandates motorcycle engine volume to be 80 decibels or less. As such, it is the owners of Harleys that modify their motorcycles to turn up the volume. And, perhaps for some Harley owners, it is a safety issue. Whatever the case, understanding why motorcycle accidents occur, is something every motorcyclist should understand.
Motorcycles are different than cars, and thus, in many ways are more susceptible to accidents with cars. Motorcycle acceleration is typically exponentially higher than car and truck acceleration. In fact, if you consider the statistics, a motorcycle can accelerate from 0-60, 50% to 100% faster than a car or truck. This holds true even for older model motorcycles. For instance, the 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000 had a 0-60 time of 2.35 seconds. The 2001 Honda CBR1100 Super Blackbird had a 0-60 times of a blistering 2.4 seconds. The only road worthy cars that have this sort of acceleration are the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Tesla Model S, which are not common on the road due to the enormous price tag.
Accordingly, the typical automobile driver is not used to seeing 50% to 100% higher acceleration in oncoming traffic. Thus, the typical driver might see a motorcycle coming down the road, think that he or she can pull into traffic, and completely misjudge the rate of acceleration of the motorcycle simply due to inexperience. Car drivers that cause accidents with motorcycles do so via judgement error in most cases. Knowing these statistics, a motorcyclist can avoid a crash if they expect that a car on the road in front of them will misjudge their rate of acceleration and will cut the motorcyclist off.
This is supported by the Florida Department of Transportation. In a recent FDOT study, bikers were found to be usually in the right. Motorists driving cars and trucks are mostly at fault, often failing to yield the right of way to smaller vehicles. In analyzing 10 years of Florida motorcycle crashes, Chanyoung Lee, a senior researcher at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, found that 60 percent of the time motorists in other vehicles are at fault when they collide with motorcycles. “There’s a bias by people driving,” Lee said. “They don’t expect to see motorcycles.”
If you or a loved one have been in a motorcycle crash, the attorneys at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith have successfully handled these cases for our clients. If you have questions about your rights or your loved one’s rights after a motorcycle crash, there is no cost to you for a consultation with our attorneys.