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4 critical facts about motorcycle accidents

Motorcycles are synonymous with summer, freedom and the open road. They're loved by people of all age groups, all across Kentucky. They really give you that feeling of exploring and experiencing the ride in a way you never can in a car.

In short, riding a motorcycle is about far more than getting from Point A to Point B. It is about the experience. It is about the lifestyle. It gives you something you just cannot find anywhere else.

The risks

Unfortunately, riding a big two-wheeler also brings a certain level of risk. Whether you have been riding for 10 months or 10 years, you need to understand the hazards you face and how to stay safe. With that in mind, here are four critical facts about motorcycle accidents:

1. Motorcyclists face visual recognition risks.

Since they are so small, motorcycles are simply harder for other drivers to see. Many accidents happen when drivers simply do not spot them due to weather and road conditions or the obstruction of other cars. In many cases, even with no obstruction at all, drivers just overlook motorcycles since they're so used to looking for larger vehicles.

Nowhere can you see this risk play out better than at intersections. Cars often turn in front of motorcycles when the bikes have the right of way, causing accidents that never would have happened in a pickup truck or a passenger car. This occurs so often that about 70 percent of all motorcycle crashes happen at intersections.

2. Roughly 66 percent of motorcycle crashes are right-of-way issues.

About two our of every three motorcycles crashes — when looking specifically at accidents with other vehicles — happen because the second driver violates the motorcyclist's right of way. For instance, a driver turns left at a green light, thinking the way is clear, when a motorcycle is actually going through the intersection on the green light. These accidents often happen directly because of the visual recognition issues discussed above.

3. Motorcycles fatalities keep rising.

The fatality rate on motorcycles just keeps going up. It has doubled since 1999. That's stunning on its own, but it's even more stunning when you realize that fatality rates in other vehicles have drastically fallen in the same time period. Safety measures clearly are not keeping motorcyclists safe.

4. You're 26 times more likely to be killed on a motorcycle.

This statistic illustrates the risk like nothing else can. The odds of dying in an accident on a motorcycle are 26 times as high as the odds for someone in a car. Even the odds of getting injured are five times higher.

The risk is real. If you get involved in an accident, make sure you know what options you have.

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