Typical Causes of Motorcycle Accidents


Typical Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

I’m Ed Smith, a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Antioch. The federal government’s data shows that deaths occurring from motorcycle accidents are much higher than from car crashes- not surprising right?! Because the chances of death or traumatic injury are higher for motorcycle riders, it pays for them to be aware of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and take steps to reduce this risk.

Head-On Collision with Other Vehicles

More than half of all motorcycle accident deaths occur in crashes that involve a motorcycle and another vehicle. In nearly eight out of 10 cases, a car hits a motorcycle from the front. A head-on collision between a motorcycle and a car is often fatal for the motorcycle rider.

A Car Making a Left Turn

A car making a left-hand turn is the single biggest risk for a motorcycle rider. Forty-two percent of accidents involving a car and a motorcycle occur due to such collisions. The turning car usually strikes when the motorcycle is:

  • Passing the car
  • Going through an intersection
  • Attempting to overtake the car

The relatively smaller size of the motorcycle makes it less visible to a turning car. A motorcycle rider that passes a car in the same lane is even more vulnerable. A car driver is often taken by surprise by such a motorcycle maneuver.

Lane Splitting

Motorcycle lane splitting takes place when a motorcycle rides in the space between two lanes of slow-moving or stopped cars, typically in a traffic jam. This becomes a common cause of accidents due to various reasons:

  • The reduced space available to the motorcyclist to maneuver
  • The close proximity of the motorcycle to the cars
  • The fact that a car driver will not anticipate that a motorcycle would pass them in stopped or slow traffic

Alcohol Use or Speeding

Nearly 50 percent of accidents that involve a single motorcycle occur due to alcohol use or speeding. This fact is not surprising because this same factor also plays a key role in car accidents. However, as the motorcycle does not offer much protection for the rider, a crash involving alcohol use or speeding has much greater likelihood of resulting in serious injury or death.

Collision between a Motorcycle and a Fixed Object

Deaths in a vehicle colliding with a fixed object are higher in the case of motorcycles (25 percent) than with cars (18 percent). Again, the limitation here is that the motorcycle rider is not protected by a metal shield (the body of a car plus air bags and seat belts) and may be thrown hard and far.

Road Hazards

A two-wheeled motorcycle is less stable and it has a relatively smaller size. Therefore, it faces a greater threat of accidents from road hazards such as animals, potholes, debris, slick pavement, uneven surfaces, and other irregularities on the road.

High Performance Bikes

While high performance motorcycles only comprise a small part of the total number of bikes on the road, these heavy-duty bikes account for a disproportionately high number of accidents. High performance motorcycles can be classified into two main types: sport motorcycles and supersport motorcycles.

  • Supersport Bikes: These motorcycles are created on racing platforms, which have been modified for use on highways. As these bikes have high-powered engines and are lightweight, they pick up extreme speeds of up to 160 mph very quickly. Most riders of supersport motorcycles are below 30 years, which additionally contributes to the high accident rate because younger motorcyclists tend to take more risks.
  • Sport Bikes: There is not much difference between sport motorcycles and supersport motorcycles, but the sport bikes have a lower ratio of power to weight. These motorcycles are often used by people below the age of 34.

You can see these sorts of motorcycles in the excellent Mission Impossible 5 movie. There is a fantastic part in that film where the characters are going exceptionally fast on sports bikes in North Africa. You do not want to duplicate that!

Supersport motorcycle accident death rate is four times higher than that of conventional motorcycles, such as standards, cruisers, and touring motorcycles. Typical age of the conventional motorcycle rider is 40 and above. In case of sport motorcycles, the death rate is twice that of conventional motorcycles.

Related Articles by Antioch Motorcycle Accident Attorney, Ed Smith:

Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Antioch

I’m Ed Smith, an Antioch Motorcycle Accident Attorney. Have you or someone you love been injured in a motorcycle accident and need the assistance of an experienced lawyer? I can help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at (925) 428-5220 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free and friendly advice. Alternatively, I can be contacted online through my website,AutoAccident.com.

I have served the Antioch and Northern California community since 1982, aiding those people injured in accidents and their families with recovery from personal injury and wrongful death. Browse some of my valued former client’s reviews on:   AvvoGoogle, and Yelp.

As a member of the Million Dollar Forum, my record in obtaining settlements and verdicts in excess of $1 Million speaks for itself.

Click here for a selection of some of my successful past Verdicts and Settlements.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, National Guard Motorcycle Riders by The National Guard. CC BY 2.0
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