In the majority of crashes, inappropriate speed for the circumstances is a factor. Here are the most common causes of motorcycle crashes in South Africa:
- The right of way violations – drivers who look but fail to see.
The most common cause of a motorcycle crash is when a driver looks but fails to see a motorcyclist approaching a junction and pulls out across their path, mainly on urban roads at lower speeds.
- Loss of control on a bend, corner or curve on a rural road.
Crashes on bends are often the rider’s fault. They are more likely to be fatal because of the speeds involved as even a small mistake can result in loss of control. Crashes on bends account for around 12% of all motorcycle crashes, greater on left-hand bends than on right-handers. Most occur on unfamiliar roads and 19% of crashes are on rural roads, involving only the motorcyclist and no other traffic.
- Errors in judgement at low speed.
This type of crash tends to result from poor bike-handling skills or loss of concentration and often leads to injuries as the rider falls off the bike. Most riders think they are both safer and more skilful than the average rider – but we can’t all be right.
Learn from every experience
Most riders involved in a crash do not accept that they contributed to it. If you think that you did not help to cause a crash, you will also think that you have nothing to learn from it. Your riding behaviour won’t change!
To become a better rider, the first step is to recognise the resistance in ourselves to accepting responsibility. The second step is to accept every near miss and crash as a learning opportunity to decide how you can avoid the same mistake in future.
For example, crash statistics show that all riders are at risk from the actions of other road users who fail to see them. If you have a ‘look but failed to see’ crash, you can choose how to view it. Is it all the responsibility of the careless driver? Or can you take action to reduce your own vulnerability?
You can choose to reduce your chances of a ‘look but failed to see’ crash by anticipating this potential hazard whenever you ride.
Change the way you think, and you will change the way you ride!