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What Are the Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?


While motorcycle accidents are not more frequent than car accidents, they are more likely to result in serious injury or fatality. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycles made up 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2017. Based on this statistic, it would be smart for motorcyclists to learn about the most frequent causes of accidents to reduce their level of risk while riding. Today, we look at the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and discuss motorcycle riding safety tips.

What Causes a Motorcycle Accident?

Unsafe lane changes

When a driver fails to check his/her blind spot or carelessly changes lanes without looking, he/she endangers motorcyclists who are often not seen by drivers.

Reckless driving

This type of driving is a major moving traffic violation where an individual shows indifference to safety or property of others. A reckless driver could easily change lanes quickly and hit a motorcyclist.

Car door

Sometimes a driver will open their car door without checking to see if another motorized vehicle is in their path and hit an oncoming motorcyclist.

Exceeding the speed limit

Speeding reduces the driver’s ability to see and react to other drivers and obstacles in the road. Thus, collisions are much more likely to happen. The faster the driver is going, the greater the impact is, which could have severe consequences. This is especially true to motorcyclists who may not have the proper protective gear or helmet on. In fact, motorcyclists will always get more injured in a car collision than the driver of the car because they are more exposed.

Driving under the influence

Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol pose a serious threat to anyone on the road, especially motorcyclists who may not be seen due to the driver’s altered state of mine.

Sudden stops

Rear-end accidents could cause serious harm or death to a motorcyclist – especially in traffic where vehicles are closer together.

Driver inexperience

Inexperienced automobile drivers are more likely to make errors on the road that could harm other motorcyclists. Additionally, new, or inexperienced motorcyclists could also compromise the safety of other motorists if unfamiliar or uncomfortable with riding a motorcycle.

Left turn accidents

Misjudgments of distance while making a left-hand turn could harm or even prove fatal for a motorcyclist.

Dangerous road conditions

Icey, snowy, and wet road conditions are the cause of a large amount of car and motorcycle accidents every year. There are also other hazards for motorcyclists to watch out for including potholes, debris, road construction, and obstructions.

Motorcycle defects

A manufacturer could be held liable for any injuries or fatalities due to a poorly designed or faulty motorcycle part.

Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips

As motorcycles lack the protection cars have, accidents tend to be more severe for when a collision happens. In fact, motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to experience a fatal accident than car drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Ensure you are driving safely, wearing protective gear, and riding a well-made, trustworthy motorcycle to prevent a motorcycle accident. Other safety tips include but are not limited to the following:

  • Wear a Department of Transportation (also known as DOT) approved helmet
  • Pay close attention at intersections
  • Be visible by wearing reflective clothing
  • Drive at or under the speed limit
  • Ride early in the day if possible
  • Be on the lookout for dangerous drivers; report any activity that could pose a risk for other drivers and riders

Contact our firm or call our office at (916) 778-3228 to learn more about how we can help you with your motorcycle accident case.

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