Causes of New Jersey Motorcycle Accidents, and How to Avoid Them
If you ride a motorcycle, you know the joy and sense of freedom it can bring, but you’ll also want to take extra care to keep yourself safe on the roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash, and four (4) times more likely to be injured, than the occupants of passenger vehicles. In 2019 alone, 84 people were killed in motorcycle accidents on New Jersey roads.
Thankfully, careful driving and an awareness of common accident risks can help you stay safe while riding the New Jersey roadways. Here are a few of common causes of motorcycle accidents and a few things to know before you get on the road.
Common risks to watch out for
No matter how careful you are, there is always the chance of something unexpectedly going wrong. When it comes to motorcycle crashes, most are entirely due to the other driver, not the motorcyclist. Here are a few things to consider to help keep yourself safe.
Over the past few years, driver inattention has been the single most common cause of fatal motorcycle crashes in New Jersey. It’s extremely important to stay attentive while operating a motorcycle on New Jersey roads, especially when drivers in passenger vehicles may not be so careful.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 41% of 2019 motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle occurred while the other vehicle was turning left. Another driver’s failure to yield the right of way can easily put you in danger, especially when operating a motorcycle. Keep an eye out for turning vehicles and remember that many drivers may not be properly watchful for motorcyclists.
One common cause of motorcycle crashes is driving at an unsafe speed. In fact, 33% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2019 were deemed found to be speeding-related by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Speeding creates a safety hazard for all drivers.
Riding under the influence of alcohol
In 2019, 32% of those involved in fatal motorcycle crashes in New Jersey were found to be alcohol-impaired, and 48% were found to have had at least one drink. Driving sober is one of the best ways to lower your risk of an accident and avoid a costly DUI.
Improper passing is another common cause of motorcycle accidents and is responsible for several fatal accidents in New Jersey each year. Make sure to always leave adequate space and respect all traffic laws when passing another vehicle.
New Jersey laws for motorcycle operators
Drivers must obtain a license
Under New Jersey law, all motorcycle operators must either have a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement or a separate motorcycle license. Check the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s website for information on licensing and vehicle registration.
Insurance is required
Drivers in New Jersey must be able to offer proof of insurance while operating any vehicle, including motorcycles. Failure to insure your motorcycle or present proof of insurance may lead to fines, insurance surcharges, community service requirements, or even the suspension of your driver’s license.
Always wear a helmet
While not all states require the use of a helmet while operating a motorcycle, New Jersey law specifically demands that both drivers and passengers wear a helmet while riding. Helmets worn while riding a motorcycle must also meet certain standards as outlined in the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s official Driver Manual.