7 Common Motorcycle Crashes in Miami, FL, and How To Avoid Them
November 14, 2022 | Sagi Shaked | Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents tend to follow common patterns. For example, drivers often fail to spot motorcycles on the road and will maneuver into them. And the inherent instability of motorcycles gives them a much smaller margin for error when making emergency stops or turns.
According to Florida’s Crash Dashboard, Miami-Dade County had over 1,000 motorcycle crashes in 2021. These crashes caused 54 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
If you are a motorcyclist in Florida, it is important to learn about seven common motorcycle crash scenarios in Miami and how to avoid them.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcyclists must have balance, knowledge, and physical skills to operate a motorcycle safely. Significantly, a maneuver or bump that may only minimally damage a car can cause a catastrophic motorcycle crash.
In addition to the instability of motorcycles, motorcyclists must deal with the dangers created by automobile drivers. Automobile drivers cause a majority of collisions between motorcycles and automobiles.
This happens for a few reasons. First, the smaller size of motorcycles makes them difficult for vehicle drivers to spot on busy roads. The size also causes difficulties when drivers try to judge the speed or distance of a motorcycle.
Second, drivers have a cognitive bias against spotting motorcycles. In one study, 48% of drivers in a simulator failed to spot a motorcycle on the road despite spotting other obstacles like taxis.
This phenomenon, known as looked-but-failed-to-see, happens because drivers’ brains fail to recognize motorcycles. Unfortunately, the brain often does not view motorcycles as a threat worth tracking.
7 Common Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle accidents resulting from these crash factors tend to follow seven common fact patterns, including:
1. Single-Vehicle Crashes
About 34% of motorcycle crashes only involve the motorcycle.
In these crashes, the motorcycle can:
- Depart from the road
- Hit a fixed obstacle
- Hit a parked car
- Tip over
As a result, the motorcyclist can get crushed by the motorcycle or ejected onto the roadway.
These crashes often happen because of the high power-to-weight ratio of motorcycles. Motorcycles accelerate much faster than cars and, as a result, motorcyclists can find them much more difficult to control.
You can avoid these accidents by watching your acceleration. Make sure to also take careful note of the information you receive during the rider safety course required of all motorcycle license applicants. This course should teach you how to accelerate safely and maneuver without losing control of your motorcycle.
2. Slides After an Emergency Maneuver
One of the greatest risks while riding is going into a slide when you lose traction or balance. Slick roads, banked curves, or emergency turns can cause your motorcycle to tip over and slide.
Slides cause arm and leg injuries as your limbs get crushed under your motorcycle and dragged across the pavement. These injuries include abrasions, road rash, and fractures.
Motorcyclists can prevent going into a slide by avoiding situations where they can tip over. Slowing down, particularly when cornering, can reduce the risk of a slide.
3. Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions happen in heavy traffic. According to the Traffic Safety Dashboard, most of Miami’s motorcycle crashes happen during the afternoon and evening rush hour. At this time of day, motorcyclists must navigate crowded roads, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions.
Rear-end crashes happen when drivers follow motorcyclists too closely to stop safely. When a car hits a motorcycle from behind, the motorcyclist can get ejected or even crushed under the vehicle.
In Florida, the best way to avoid rear-end crashes is to allow tailgating drivers to pass.
4. Intersection Crashes
Intersections are particularly dangerous for motorcycles. Drivers can fail to spot approaching motorcycles and not yield the right of way to them. Some drivers may also cross intersections out of turn.
Motorcyclists can reduce their risk of intersection crashes by driving defensively. When approaching intersections, motorcyclists must prepare for cars to go out of turn or neglect to yield.
5. Collisions With Turning Vehicles
A common motorcycle accident happens when a vehicle turns left across an approaching motorcycle’s path. Almost as commonly, a vehicle can make a right turn into an approaching motorcycle’s path. In either case, the vehicle might hit the motorcycle, or the motorcycle might not stop before hitting the vehicle.
These accidents happen when drivers fail to spot approaching motorcycles. They can also happen when drivers misjudge the speed or distance of an oncoming motorcycle.
Motorcyclists can reduce their odds of colliding with a turning vehicle by anticipating that drivers will turn in front of them. They can also slow down and cover their brake when they think someone might turn improperly.
6. Speeding Crashes
Speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents in Florida. A speeding driver might not have enough time to stop before hitting a motorcyclist. Speeders can also lose control over their vehicles on wet surfaces or curved roads and slide into motorcycles.
Riders have few options for avoiding speeding vehicles. If a speeder is approaching from behind, the motorcyclist can move aside and let the speeder pass. Motorcyclists can also avoid joining speeders by traveling at or below the speed limit.
7. Lane Change Crashes
Lane change crashes often happen when drivers lose motorcycles in their blind spots. The driver can sideswipe the motorcycle or even run it off the road.
Motorcycle riders can reduce the risk of lane change crashes by staying out of drivers’ blind spots. Instead, riders should travel a little ahead or behind vehicles in adjacent lanes. And when passing, motorcycles should pass quickly instead of dwelling next to the vehicle being passed.
Riding Your Motorcycle Safely in Miami, FL
Making just a few changes can help keep you safe when you ride your motorcycle in Miami. Slowing down, driving defensively, staying out of vehicle blind spots, and wearing a helmet can reduce the odds of a crash and protect you in the unfortunate event of one.