Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

A perfect ride can turn into anything but perfect — a motorcycle accident can result in significant injuries and damages to any rider who is involved.

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are increasingly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “more than 5,500 motorcyclists died on our nation’s roads in 2020, and more than 180,000 were treated in emergency departments for crash injuries.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “In 2021, there were 5,932 motorcyclists killed — 14% of all traffic fatalities. NHTSA data shows that this is the highest number of motorcyclists killed since at least 1975.” The causes of motorcycle accidents are many and varied.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

The following are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, explained in detail:


A high rate of speed is often the reason behind a serious motorcycle accident — whether it is another driver or the rider who is speeding, a high rate of speed can result in less control over a vehicle and an increased likelihood and severity of a crash. Speeding can also result in the decreased effectiveness of a motorcyclist’s safety equipment.

Aggressive Driving

AAA defines aggressive driving as “any unsafe driving behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety.” Tailgating, blocking a motorcycle, weaving in and out of traffic, and cutting in front of a motorcyclist are just some examples of aggressive driving practices, and they can all be a culprit in causing a serious motorcycle accident.

Distracted Driving

Increasingly, distracted driving is the reason behind many accidents, including those involving motorcycles. Distracted driving can happen as a result of inattention, such as when a driver is busy attending to children in the back seat, talking to passengers, eating, drinking, or otherwise not paying attention to the road. It can also happen as a result of using electronic devices, including texting or talking on the phone, attempting to play music, or getting directions.

Dangerous Turns

According to Ride Apart, the most common type of motorcycle accident involves a car turning left in front of a motorcycle: “A car fails to see you or judges your speed incorrectly, turning in front of you at an intersection. Blame inattention, distraction, blind spots, and even psychology; a driver looking for cars perceives merely an absence of cars, not the presence of a motorcycle.” Dangerous turns contribute to some of the most serious — and often preventable — motorcycle crashes.

Unlawful Passing

Like unlawful turns, unlawfully passing a motorcycle can create a major safety hazard. This can happen when a car seeks to overtake the lane in which the motorcycle is traveling or when the car passes the rider in a no-passing zone.

Drunk or Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is, sadly, one of the most common reasons for accidents. Despite the many warnings about driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol — not to mention strict laws and fines in place to punish those who do — many drivers simply fail to understand the impact of alcohol or drugs on their ability to drive or ride safely. Impaired driving can result in serious, sometimes catastrophic accidents involving a motorcycle, particularly as the impaired driver is unable to gauge the possible consequences of their actions.

Left-Turn Accidents

Left-turn accidents are a common cause of injuries to motorcycle riders and occur when a driver turning left strikes a passing or oncoming motorcyclist. Left-turn accidents can result when the driver fails to see the motorcycle or misjudges how close the rider is to their vehicle. They commonly happen when the turning vehicle hits a motorcycle going straight through an intersection or waiting at an adjacent corner, and they can also happen as a result of the driver ignoring a stop sign or traffic signal.

Following Too Closely

When a driver follows a motorcycle too closely, they are putting the rider at great risk of being hit from behind, whether as a result of the motorcycle having to stop quickly or the driver failing to stop in time. That impact, particularly if the driver was speeding, can cause serious injuries to the motorcycle rider.

Failing to Yield the Right of Way

Failing to yield involves another vehicle taking space and going in front of a motorcycle despite the rider having the right of way. It can cause a collision from any potential side or direction, resulting in injury to the motorcycle rider.

Merging in Front of a Motorcyclist

Merging is a common action on the road, but when a motorist merges in front of a motorcyclist without taking proper precautions or while being inattentive, it can result in an accident. Merging without proper precautions can involve a failure to check blind spots, distracted or inattentive driving, inability to understand the rules of the road, or even merging despite clearly not having the right of way.

Opening a Car Door Into a Motorcyclist’s Path

There is a reason the area next to a car, which is within a door’s width, is often referred to as the “Death Zone” by experienced drivers. When a car door is opened into a motorcyclist’s path, it can cause the rider to collide with the door, resulting in an accident.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving involves a disregard for the rules of the road and traffic safety. It shows indifference or irreverence to the safety of other drivers and motorcycle riders. In some cases, it is the result of extreme negligence, but reckless driving can also result from intentionally unsafe conduct.

Road Rage

In some cases, aggressive driving crosses a dangerous line into road rage territory. According to AAA, examples of road rage include cursing and rude or obscene gestures, throwing objects, ramming, sideswiping, or forcing a motorist off the road. It is easy to see how any of those actions can directly result in an accident, potentially causing serious injuries.

Disobeying Stop Signs, Signals, and Other Traffic Control Devices

A common cause of motorcycle accidents involves the failure to obey traffic signals and control devices. Whether it’s failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, failing to yield, or another way of disobeying the rules of traffic, these actions can be the reason behind a motorcycle accident.

Why Trust Bretz Injury Law with Your Motorcycle Accident Case?

Having a knowledgeable, experienced attorney by your side to help with your motorcycle accident case can make all the difference — in fact, according to a study by the Insurance Institute, people who hire an attorney to represent them receive two-and-a-half to three times higher settlements than those who do not seek legal assistance. Your attorney will help negotiate with the other party and their insurance company toward a fair resolution, and they will be ready to fight on your behalf in court if a settlement is not possible.

Throughout the process, we will be there for you every step of the way. We strive to remain accessible to our clients and attentive to their unique needs. Our compassionate team can answer your questions and address your concerns 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We provide free initial consultations and work on a contingency basis, meaning you do not owe any out-of-pocket expenses when you work with our firm. Our attorneys are only paid if you are. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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