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Most common type of motorcycle wreck in 2014? Single-vehicle

If you're like most motorcyclists, you've probably been told to take special care at intersections, because drivers often don't notice motorcycles when they make turns. Another hazard is following or being followed by passenger vehicles, because drivers often don't understand how quickly bikes can stop -- or they themselves stop on a dime without any warning.

Those are definitely two situations where even a veteran rider can get hurt, and it's crucial for you to be aware of that. What may come as more of a surprise, however, is that single-vehicle accidents appear to be far more common than we probably thought. In fact, single-vehicle claims topped Progressive Insurance's list in 2014, in terms of total motorcycle claims.

In response to rapidly growing motorcycle ridership in the U.S., Progressive decided to analyze its claims data for any useful trends. Among a number of interesting conclusions was the fact that, in 2014, there were more single-vehicle accident claims than the next three types of claims combined.

Yes, that included claims involving rear-end collisions, which came in second, and intersection accidents, which came in third. The fourth greatest number of claims involved stolen motorcycles.

"While many motorcycle accidents can involve other vehicles, said Progressive's motorcycle product manager, "most are single-vehicle incidents, which is something motorcycle riders should be aware of."

What could be responsible for all the single-vehicle wrecks?

That's not clear. It might be that the roads are filled with inexperienced riders. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, sales of new motorcycles were up more than 8 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Another factor may be road damage. In states where the roads go through a freeze-thaw cycle, potholes, road buckling and other weather-induced damage could be a big hazard this year, since many states experienced extreme weather.

"This winter was absolutely brutal on roadways across the country, so looking ahead for potholes and leaving plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you will help avoid accidents," said the Progressive spokesperson.

Although California doesn't get the extreme freezing and thawing other states do, it's still critical for riders to be vigilant. Keep this in mind, if it helps: According to Progressive, the top 5 days for motorcycle accidents occur in the summertime, and mostly on Saturdays. 

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