What’s Causing Motorcycle Accidents in Nevada?

Impaired driving, lack of rider training, unsafe riding gear, and lack of attention by other drivers cause numerous Nevada motorcycle accidents that result in injuries and fatalities.

Motorcycle Accidents Rise in Nevada

In the past few years, Nevada has experienced a rise in motorcycle fatalities. According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Clark County saw a 50 percent increase in motorcycle deaths in 2015. In 2015, 32 motorcyclists were killed in crashes. In 2016, fatalities rose by 53 percent, accounting for 49 deaths.

Nevada law enforcement and public safety officials say the number one cause of the rise in motorcycle crashes is motorcycle drivers who are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Since 2013, alcohol and drug-related motorcycle accidents have been steadily climbing in Clark County. Accident statistics from 2015 show that 65 percent of fatal crashes involved drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, or both.

In addition to impaired drivers, there are various other factors that contribute to the rising number of Nevada motorcycle fatalities:

Inexperienced Drivers

Motorcycle drivers need proper safety training and experience to avoid accidents, according to motorcycle injury lawyer David Boehrer. Handling a motorcycle can be difficult, especially in traffic and congested areas. Lessons in defensive driving from a licensed instructor will increase a rider’s safety.

Proper Riding Gear

Motorcycle riders are not protected by outer structures found in passenger vehicles, so proper riding gear is essential for safety. A properly fitted helmet approved by the Department of Transportation protects against traumatic head and brain injuries in a crash. Proper goggles, jackets, pants, gloves, and boots protect riders from road debris, pavement burns, fractures, and broken bones.

Inattentive Drivers

One-half of all motorcycle crashes are caused by vehicle drivers who don’t see the motorcycle. Head-on collisions account for 56 percent of deaths in motorcycle accidents. Since motorcycles are smaller than trucks and cars, they’re often hidden by objects and other vehicles.

Unsafe Lane Changes

Motorcycle accidents are often caused by unsafe lane changes and lane splitting. Lane splitting, driving in between two lanes of stopped or moving traffic, is extremely dangerous. Other drivers are caught off-guard, so a rider’s risk for severe injuries and fatal accidents rises.

Road Hazards

Motorcycles are more susceptible to accidents caused by road hazards than passenger vehicles. With open frames and only two wheels, hazardous road conditions can cause a sudden crash. Common hazards include road debris, wet or uneven pavement, oil slicks, and potholes.