Just last month a 34-year-old member of the NYPD was killed while riding his motorcycle to work. The fallen officer was struck by a speeding driver who may have been racing a second vehicle when the fatal accident occurred. Through the driver of the vehicle that struck the officer has been taken into custody, many questions still exist regarding this seemingly preventable tragedy.

Victims of motorcycle accidents can and do suffer serious injuries when they are struck by vehicles operated by negligent and reckless drivers. In fact, according to the New York State Department of Health, more than 140 motorcycle riders die each from collisions. Those who survive crashes with other vehicles can suffer from serious and long-term injuries that may affect them for years.

What makes motorcycle accidents so tragic is that in many cases they are completely preventable. The careful and responsible operation of motor vehicles by drivers may help reduce the incidents of collision with motorcycles and their riders. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include but are not limited to:

  • Limited driver awareness of motorcycles;
  • Driver distraction in the presence of motorcycles:
  • Driver misunderstanding of motorcycle maneuverability; and
  • Drunk driving.

Driver awareness of motorcycles involves the recognition of motorcycles as smaller objects on New York roadways. Often drivers only look for what they expect to see on the roads, and if they do not expect to see motorcycles, they may miss them in their visual fields. This can lead to serious collisions with motorcycle riders.

Distractions are a cause of many types of motor vehicle accidents, not just motorcycle collisions. Distracted drivers are drivers who let other activities, such as texting or eating, to take their attention off of the road. However, distractions can cause drivers to become less aware of what and whom is on the road with them. A distracted driver may easily miss the presence of a motorcycle in their blind spot when they go to change lanes.

Although motorcycles are vehicles, their operations can differ somewhat from those of standard four-wheel vehicles. For example, a motorcycle is significantly smaller and more maneuverable than a sedan, and therefore a motorcycle may be able to merge or accelerate quicker than a regular car. A driver who is not prepared for the maneuverability of a motorcycle may cause a preventable and dangerous collision.

Finally, drunk driving is dangerous to all individuals who must venture out onto New York roads. Any driver, including a motorcyclist, who encounters a drunk driver may not be able to avoid the erratic and dangerous operating of an intoxicated individual. Drunk driving is preventable and is a crime in the state of New York.

In the case of the NYPD victim discussed earlier in this post, distracted and speeding drivers may have caused this preventable tragedy. No form of litigation will bring the victim back, but those who loved him may have options to pursue personal injury claims to compensate them for their extensive losses.