In early September, a motorcyclist was killed after being hit by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 35 near the intersection of Second and Fifteenth Streets in Edmond. The motorcyclist lost control of the vehicle, according to authorities, when a car ahead “changed lanes into the motorcycle’s path.” The motorcycle driver swerved into the southbound lane, where the tractor-trailer collided with his vehicle.
The accident illustrates an unfortunate truth known to motorcyclists. Drivers of larger vehicles are often at fault in accidents involving motorcycles. They often fail to use adequate lookout—and it is possible that, with their vision concentrated on seeing vehicles of their own or larger size, they simply don’t “see” motorcycles in the same way as they do cars or larger vehicles. Changing lanes in front of a motorcycle is common, as is turning improperly in front of them.
In addition, drivers of motorcycles are at risk due to the smaller size of their vehicles. In a car-on-car accident, both drivers will have protective equipment, and be in vehicles of a similar size. Even against a tractor-trailer, a standard size car has many more protections than a motorcycle. Motorcyclists are not protected by their vehicle’s walls or airbags. Helmets may protect the head, but they cannot protect the rest of the driver’s body.
The lack of heed, smaller size, and lack of protection lead to motorcycle accidents often being fatal or disabling to drivers. Their injuries are often severe; at times, they are catastrophic. In addition, they are at risk for costs attendant on accidents: high medical bills and lost time at work.