Where do Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur in Tennessee?

Motorcyclists typically have a passion for what they do. However, riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than traveling in a traditional passenger vehicle. Motorcyclists must remain vigilant when they are on the roadway because accidents caused by the actions of other drivers can occur. Here, we want to discuss where most motorcycle accidents occur so that motorcyclists in Tennessee have some additional knowledge about where they need to be most vigilant.

Motorcycle Accident Data in Tennessee

From 2016 to 2021, there were more than 17,000 total motorcycle accidents recorded across the state of Tennessee. Out of these incidents, there were a significant number of serious injuries as well as fatalities. In 2021, there were 2,875 total recorded motorcycle accidents across the state. This resulted in the following:

  • 161 fatal crashes
  • 668 suspected serious injury crashes
  • 904 suspected minor injury crashes
  • 464 possible injury crashes
  • 660 property damage only crashes

The state of Tennessee points out that motorcyclists are 5.1 times more likely to be killed or injured in a crash than occupants inside traditional passenger vehicles.

Intersections are Incredibly Dangerous for Motorcyclists

When we turn to data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we can see that approximately 56% of all motorcycle crashes occur in urban settings, and the majority of the incidents occur at intersections.

This should not come as a surprise to anybody because intersections are where there are so many things going on at once. Vehicles converge at intersections, with some trying to make turns and others trying to proceed straight through the intersection. Motorcycle accidents in these situations typically occur due to one of the following:

  • A motorist attempting to make a left-hand turn and failing to see that a motorcyclist is traveling through an intersection towards them.
  • A motorist sideswiping a motorcyclist who is attempting a left-hand turn.

In these situations, police investigators and motorcycle accident lawyers in Nashville often find that the crash occurred because the motorist either failed to check their blind spots or failed to yield the right-of-way as they were legally required.

In addition to these motorcycle crashes that occur because a motorist failed to operate safely, we also know that intersections are areas where there are more likely to be potholes, loose asphalt, standing water, and other roadway hazards. Because of the highly traveled nature of intersections, the conditions in these areas can deteriorate even if there are regular inspections and maintenance.

Freeways Also Present Dangers to Motorcycles

Highways and freeways can also present significant dangers to motorcyclists. Often, these accidents are caused by a vehicle driver’s failure to see approaching motorcyclists, drivers failing to check their blind spots before changing lanes, and drivers tailgating motorcyclists at unsafe speeds.

Additionally, hazards on the roadway can become even more of a problem on freeways due to the high rates of speed at which motorists and motorcyclists operate. Some of the main hazards on the freeways and highways that motorcyclists will encounter include rubber from blown tires, trash, cargo spills, etc. When a motorcyclist comes into contact with roadway debris, this can cause them to lose control and crash into side barriers or off of the roadway completely.

Rural Versus Urban Motorcycle Crashes

Data indicates that five out of every eight motorcycle crashes that occur in Tennessee happen in urban areas of the state. However, just because more motorcycle crashes happen in urban areas does not necessarily mean the outcome is worse. In fact, Tennessee points out that motorcycle accidents that occur in rural areas are 37% more likely to involve a fatality or serious injury.

Speed-Related Crashes and Rural Settings

Why would rural areas often result in more severe motorcycle accidents?

There may be several reasons why this is the case, but we can look directly at the nature of operating these vehicles in specific areas. Operating a motorcycle in an urban area often does not allow motorcyclists to gain as much speed as they can in rural areas. Thus, motorcycle accidents in rural areas tend to occur at higher speeds, significantly increasing the risk of serious injury or fatality.

Motorcyclists Face an Increased Risk Anywhere

When motorcyclists operate their vehicles, they know that they face an increased risk of sustaining significant injuries or fatalities. Motorcyclists do not have much protection against the force of a vehicle slamming into them. Additionally, motorcyclists are likely to sustain two injury-causing impacts – one with a vehicle and another with the ground. Regardless of where a motorcycle crash occurs, the potential for severe injuries is there.

That is why we encourage motorcyclists to wear proper protective gear and helmets at all times on the roadways of Tennessee. When we look at data provided by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, we can see that there has been an upward trend in the number of motorcyclist fatalities on the roadways throughout the state over the last few decades. We do not want any motorcyclist to become a statistic.