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The most common causes of motorcycle accidents

According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than 89,000 motorcyclists injured every year in accidents here in the United States. Unfortunately, more than 5,100 cyclists die every year due to their injuries. A motorcycle accident is far more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities than a standard car crash. 

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, please call an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. He or she will help guide you through the insurance claims process and ensure that you receive the compensation needed for your injuries.

Preventing accidents is the responsibility of everyone on the road. In this article, we’ll review the common causes of serious motorcycle accidents and discuss how both drivers and riders can take steps to reduce the number of dangerous collisions.

What causes motorcycle accidents?


Motorcycles share the road with other vehicles that are much larger and heavier than them, from passenger sedans and light trucks to semi-trucks and delivery vehicles. More than half (57%) of all motorcycle accidents involved another vehicle. Arguably, the most common problem is that the other driver “just didn’t see” the motorcyclist. This leads to a wide variety of accidents, including potentially deadly collisions in highway merge lanes, accidents while turning left at an intersection, and rear-end accidents at stoplights.

A motorcycle-vehicle collision can occur even under normal circumstances, where both the vehicle driver and motorcyclist are paying attention to the road. When drivers or cyclists are distracted, impaired, aggressive, or speeding, it only makes roads and highways that much riskier. Distracted driving is a major problem, since it diverts driver attention away from the road and increases the likelihood of them not seeing a motorcycle moving into their vehicle’s blindspot. A driver who is looking down at their phone to respond to a text or look up directions is putting nearby motorcyclists in extreme danger.

Drinking and driving

Drinking and driving continues to be a pervasive problem in many communities, and is a major factor in motorcycle accidents. In all reported motorcycle accidents, 27% of motorcycle riders were impaired at the time of the crash. In other situations, the drunk driver of a passenger vehicle caused the accident: 21% of motorcycle accidents involved an impaired driver. 

Road hazards

Even if there were no other vehicles on the road, there would still be motorcycle accidents. In fact, 43% of all crashes involved just one vehicle: the motorcycle. Motorcycles and their riders are exposed to the elements when they ride—including the condition of the road. A sizable pothole, a fallen tree branch, or loose construction gravel on the road can all lead to a dangerous, and potentially deadly, wreck. Other single-motorcycle accidents are caused by issues with the bike itself, including a tire blowout or brake failure. It’s important to keep your motorcycle well-maintained.

What should you do if you are injured in a motorcycle accident?

First, call the police and emergency personnel. Never ride away from an accident scene. Even if you think you’re fine after a low-speed collision, that could just be the flow of adrenaline coursing through you. You’ll want to have a medic evaluate you at the scene to make sure there are no serious injuries. Next, talk to the other driver and any witnesses and get their contact information at the scene. If your cell phone is still operable, take pictures of the vehicles involved and the extent of the damage. This includes pictures of any safety gear you’re wearing, such as your helmet.

To learn more about the leading causes of motorcycle accidents, check out the infographic below: