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What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

motorbike-accident-attorneyEvery motorcycle enthusiast understands the difficulties and dangers that riders face out on the road. Unlike driving in a car, motorcycle riders lack any sort of surrounding protective structure on their vehicles. Because of this, they are more likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries when they are involved in an accident. 

According to the last study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2019, for every 100,000 registered motorcycles, there were 58.33 motorcyclist deaths compared to 9.42 deaths for every 100,000 registered cars. Because of these shocking statistics, it is beneficial for motorcycle drivers to learn about the most common causes of accidents to reduce their risk level.

A number of different situations can cause motorcycle crashes. Sometimes accidents involve the motorcyclist's negligent conduct or reckless driving. However, many other accidents are caused by the fault of another negligent motorist on the road.  

In the article below, we will discuss some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.


 Table of Contents



Vehicles Making Left-Hand Turns

The most dangerous circumstance for motorcyclists is when other vehicles make left-hand turns. These types of accidents account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car. 

The car turning left will typically strike when the bike is going straight through the intersection or when the motorcycle attempts to pass a car. The motorcycle's size makes it less visible to the other vehicles. 

Motorcycles that pass cars in the same lane are even more vulnerable to accidents. Other motorists don't expect and are often surprised by these motorcycle maneuvers. Distracted driving plays a part, especially when other drivers are talking and texting on their phones. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019.

In almost all cases, a vehicle that crashes into another vehicle while making a left-hand turn is at fault for the accident. Although, if the motorcyclist was speeding or in the wrong lane, the motorcyclist could be held partly at fault for the accident. 



Head-On Collisions 

Another major cause of motorcycle accidents is head-on crashes. Head-on collisions are the most deadly type of collision for motorcyclists. Collisions between motorcycles and another vehicle compose 56% of motorcycle fatalities. A large 78% of these accidents are head-on collisions.

A motorcycle driver can be thrown or crushed during a head-on collision. A motorcyclist's chance of death or critical injury is extremely high.


Hazardous Road Conditions

Dangerous road conditions are the cause of countless motorcycle accidents. Environments with slippery surfaces, uneven pavement, loose gravel, or debris on the roadway often spell out disaster for cyclists. 

Motorcycles are smaller and have less steadiness than a car or truck, so they are more susceptible to unsafe road conditions than larger vehicles on the road.  


Taking a Turn Too Fast

If a motorcyclist takes a sharp turn at high speed, the bike can touch the road, causing the operator to lose control and crash. Crashes related to unsafe riding usually occur due to inexperienced riders who don't understand how quickly a road can change or how well their bike can handle a corner. Sometimes just riding out the sharp turn and only lightly applying the rear brake can avoid a crash.



Motorcycle Lane Splitting

In some states, motorcyclists are allowed by law to lane split during times of heavy traffic or traffic jams. Lane splitting, also sometimes called filtering, is when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving cars.

Lane splitting causes motorcycle accidents for several reasons:

  • Close proximity of other vehicles to the motorcycle
  • Reduced space to maneuver the bike
  • Other vehicles not anticipating a bike going between lanes in congested or sluggish traffic

If an accident takes place while a motorcycle is lane splitting, the at-fault party could be either the motorcyclist or the driver. This all depends on whether lane splitting is permissible in that state. California is the only state that specifically allows lane splitting by law, and Utah allows lane filtering. There are 12 states that have no laws mentioning lane splitting, four are considering legislation, and 32 states have laws that make lane splitting explicitly illegal. 

The police report will determine who is at fault by taking into account the actions of both the driver of the motorcycle and the car.


Hazardous Weather Conditions

Bad weather is another nightmare for motorcyclists. Extremely windy weather can cause the bikes to wobble while in operation. 

Snow, ice, and rain cause poor road conditions that are not safe for motorcycle riding. Wet and icy roadways are more challenging to stop on, so it's best to increase your following distance if you get stuck on a wet or icy road surface. 

If bad weather occurs without warning, it can be difficult or impossible for riders to get off the road or make adjustments.  


Motorcyclist Speeding

Bikes are fast, and many riders treat them as toys. Speeding is a leading cause of vehicle accidents, not just motorcycle accidents. When a motorcycle speeds, it reduces another vehicle's reaction time. When a biker travels the speed limit, other drivers have more time to prevent a collision.

Consequences are also increased with speeding. The higher the speed of a motorcycle, the greater the impact will be. Most drivers don't survive these types of accidents since bikes don't offer much protection.


Intoxicated Driving

Drunk driving endangers everyone on the road. Motorcyclists experience slower reaction times and poor coordination. In 2019, 4,733 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, and of those riders, 1,383 (29%) were under the influence.  



Get the Help You Need After a Motorcycle Accident 

The possibility of a motorcycle accident shouldn't be taken lightly. Motorcycles are high-risk vehicles, and accidents can result in brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and even death. These injuries can be life-changing for the motorcyclist, requiring a lifetime of medical treatment costing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact a motorcycle accident attorney at Helping The Hurt to discuss your potential case.

If the accident resulted from another driver's negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for your current and future medical bills, recovery and rehabilitation costs, lost wages and/or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. 

The personal injury attorneys at Helping the Hurt have helped thousands of clients get the results they deserve, not the insignificant amount the insurance companies offered them.

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