Distracted Drivers Endanger Motorcyclists

Despite dramatic national campaigns on TV and billboards and local and state legislation banning the practice, texting while driving continues to be a problem across the country. All drivers and passengers are in danger because of it, but motorcyclists are at particular risk because of their small size and vulnerability.

When a driver takes her eyes off the road to read a text, it is unlikely that she will see a motorcycle entering the road ahead of her in time to avoid a collision.

We all know—or should know by now—that texting and driving kills. When drivers allow themselves to be distracted by their phones and other activities while they are driving, they are more likely to cause an accident that leads to serious injury or death—often of the innocent driver or passenger of the other car.

Statistics Show the Distracted Driving Problem Is Only Getting Worse

The odds are truly stacked against motorcyclists. Even without distractions, motorists don’t see them or, even when they do see them, don’t respect them and give them the space they need. As the distracted driving trend continues to grow, bikers will be at even greater risk. The following statistics gathered by Texting and Driving Safety.com demonstrate these risks:

  • 800,000 drivers are texting at any given moment across the country.
  • Texting while driving causes 1,600,000 accidents per year.
  • In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured as the result of distracted driving.
  • 11 teens die every day because of texting and driving.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 car accidents involve texting and driving.

When you consider that none of these crashes would have occurred if drivers simply put away their phones while driving, the numbers are even more staggering. As researchers gather data following crashes, they are learning more about how texting and driving causes crashes.

Researchers Have Concluded That Texting While Driving:

  • Makes you 23 times more likely to crash.
  • Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time.
  • Slows your brake reaction speed by 18 percent.
  • Leads to a 400 percent increase in time with eyes off the road.

As the landmark Hurt Report found decades ago, most crashes involving cars and motorcycles happen because the driver of the car does not see the motorcycle. This conclusion was reached 35 years ago, well before the advent of cell phones and the epidemic of texting and driving. One can only assume that the problem is much worse now than it was in 1981.

How Bikers Can Protect Themselves from Distracted Drivers

Unfortunately, in this age of the distracted driver, a motorcyclist’s safety is up to him or her. For your safety, you should always assume that motorists do not see you and act accordingly. Some tips for staying safe around distracted drivers include:

  • Make yourself visible with a reflective vest or bright clothing.
  • Use daytime running lights.
  • Don’t cross in front of a car unless you make eye contact with the driver.
  • Stay alert to traffic from both directions when entering a road.
  • Be on the lookout for motorists who can’t stay in their lanes—a sign of distracted driving.
  • Don’t engage in distracted riding yourself.

As a motorcyclist, you already know about the hazards you face on the road every day. You may have even noticed that things seem to be getting worse. By being hyper-aware of the activities of the drivers around you, you can increase your safety level at least a little bit. Also, do not hesitate to report distracted driving when you see it occurring.

Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

You can also order your FREE copy of our book, “KC Biker Bible.”