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Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

What Is The Primary Cause of Motorcycle Crashes?

Motorcycles, renowned for their unmatched sense of freedom and exhilaration, have become a symbol of adventure on the open road. However, their inherent vulnerability exposes riders to a higher risk of accidents than other motor vehicles. Understanding the primary cause of motorcycle crashes is a pressing concern for riders, enthusiasts, and safety advocates alike.

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, contact our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers today for a free consultation. Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci is here to fight for you.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Motorcycle Accident Statistics are staggering and alarming. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle fatalities have increased yearly since 1997, with 5,677 motorcyclists killed in accidents in 2022. This is an increase of 3% from 2021. Motorcycles account for only 3% of registered vehicles in the United States, but they are involved in 14% of all fatal traffic accidents.

The fatality rate for motorcyclists is 28 times higher than for drivers of passenger cars. An estimated 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist. This means that for every 100 motorcycle collisions, 80 riders will be injured or killed.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

The Failure of Other Vehicle Drivers to Yield the Right-of-Way to a Motorcyclist:

When it comes to motorcycle accidents, one of the leading causes is the failure of other vehicle drivers to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist. Most motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. This means that other drivers are not being attentive enough and not giving the proper space or consideration to motorcycles on the road. Drivers may fail to see a motorcyclist due to their smaller size and inattention. In addition, drivers may fail to yield the right of way when turning at intersections, running stop signs or lights, or making sudden lane changes.


Speeding accidents can cause severe injuries or death. When riders ride too fast, they lose control more easily and are unable to react quickly if they encounter an obstacle or hazard in the roadway. Additionally, speeding increases the distance it takes for a motorcyclist to stop and may prevent them from being able to avoid a collision. Other drivers who are speeding may also not be able to react quickly enough to a motorcyclist. Going the speed limit reduces the number of fatal crashes and helps keep motorcyclists safe.

Distracted driving:

Distracted driving is another major factor that can lead to serious and fatal motorcycle accidents. Distracted drivers are more likely to fail to yield the right-of-way, miss obstacles in the road, or not see a motorcyclist until it is too late. Common distractions include texting while driving, talking on a phone, eating or drinking while behind the wheel, and adjusting controls on the car. Never drive distracted when operating any motor vehicle.

Alcohol and drug use:

Alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s ability to drive safely. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be more likely to speed, fail to yield the right-of-way, or not see a motorcyclist until it is too late. Alcohol is involved in approximately one-third of all fatal crashes involving motorcycles. It is important for all drivers to be aware of the risks associated with driving under the influence and to avoid doing so at all costs.

Improper lane changes:

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable on the highway because they are smaller and less visible than other vehicles. Drivers who make sudden or improper lane changes may not be aware of a motorcyclist in their blind spot, leading to an accident. It is important for drivers to check their blind spots before making any lane changes. Lane splitting, which occurs when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of traffic, is also dangerous and should be avoided.

Weather conditions:

Poor visibility due to fog, rain, or snow can make it difficult for drivers to see motorcyclists, leading to an accident. Additionally, wet or icy roads can cause riders to lose control of their motorcycles more easily. It is important for both drivers and motorcyclists to be aware of the weather conditions and take extra precautions when necessary to prevent a motorcycle-car accident.

Reckless driving:

Reckless driving often causes fatal accidents. Drivers who are speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or engaging in other risky behaviors put their lives and the lives of everyone around them at risk. It is important for all drivers to be aware of the risks associated with reckless driving and to avoid this behavior at all times.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle accidents can cause serious and even fatal injuries to riders due to their lack of protection. Common motorcycle accident injuries include the following:

Broken Bones:

Motorcyclists are at risk for broken bones in the event of a collision due to their lack of protection. Broken arms and legs are common injuries sustained by motorcyclists in an accident.

Road Rash:

Road rash is a type of abrasion caused when skin comes into contact with the pavement or another surface during an impact from a motorcycle crash, almost like a burn injury. It can be extremely painful and may require medical attention if it is severe enough.

Spinal Cord Damage:

The spine is vulnerable in a motorcycle accident because there is no structure around it that provides extra protection as there would be inside a car or truck cab. Spinal cord damage can lead to paralysis or other long-term disabilities, depending on the severity of the injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):

Traumatic Brain injuries occur when an object penetrates the skull and damages brain tissue, which can happen during a motorcycle crash if someone’s head is not properly protected. A TBI can lead to cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments that may be long-term or even permanent.

Internal Organ Damage:

Motorcycle accidents can also cause internal organ damage if a rider experiences blunt force trauma. This type of injury is often very serious and could require surgery or other medical treatments to repair the damage.

Preventing Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycle accidents can have serious and even fatal consequences, so it is important for motorcyclists to do all they can to prevent them. There are several steps that riders and other drivers can take to reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident occurring.

Wear Protective Gear:

All motorcyclists should wear protective gear such as helmets, gloves, boots, and jackets when riding in order to protect themselves from injury in case of an accident.

Follow Traffic Laws:

Motorcyclists should always obey traffic laws such as speed limits, lane changes, and stop signs in order to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident with another vehicle or object.

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings:

It is also important for motorcyclists to be aware of their surroundings at all times while riding. This means paying attention to other vehicles on the road, pedestrians, potential hazards like potholes or debris, weather conditions, etc. so that they can react quickly if necessary. Take extra precautions in intersections, especially when taking a left turn, as this is the most common type of motorcycle accident.

Be Visible:

Motorcyclists should also do their best to be visible on the road. This means wearing bright clothing during the day and reflective gear at night, keeping headlights and taillights on, using turn signals appropriately, and avoiding riding in a car’s blind spot.

Take Defensive Driving Courses:

Taking defensive driving courses designed specifically for motorcycles can help riders become more familiar with safe driving techniques that could help them avoid accidents.

Avoid Distractions:

Distractions can be deadly when it comes to motorcycling, so riders should make sure that they are not distracted by their phones or other devices while on the road.

Drive Sober:

Riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a good idea and can greatly increase the risk of an accident. Motorcyclists should not drive while impaired in any way.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Crash

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Even if you do not think you are injured, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Once you have seen a doctor, your next step should be to call an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.

At the law firm of Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, our motorcycle accident lawyers have extensive experience helping motorcycle riders get the compensation they deserve. We will review your case and help you understand your legal options.

Injured In a Motorcycle Accident? We Can Help.

Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci understands the physical, emotional, and financial toll that motorcycle-car accidents can take on their victims. We are dedicated to fighting for your rights and helping you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys.

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