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Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

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What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcycle accidents are not uncommon, and it’s important to be informed about the common causes of these types of collisions. Knowing what can potentially lead to a motorcycle accident is key to avoiding them in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

Driver Error

The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is driver/rider error. Errors made by either the motorcyclist or a car driver can easily result in an accident. The most frequent errors include:

  • speeding,
  • distracted driving, and
  • failing to yield the right-of-way.

In addition, many drivers underestimate how long it takes for a motorcycle to stop or react to sudden changes in traffic patterns or hazards on the road. It’s important for all drivers to pay attention and be aware of their surroundings when operating any vehicle on the roads.

Lane Splitting

As we mentioned, rider negligence or recklessness can lead to accidents. A common form of reckless riding that can lead to accidents is lane splitting, which occurs when a motorcyclist drives between vehicles on the road or highway.

Cars and other vehicles may not see motorcyclists when trying to make lane changes if they drive between lanes. Motorcyclists also risk being caught and/or crushed between vehicles.

Intoxicated Driving

Driving or riding while under the influence can lead to an accident and serious injuries. In addition to avoiding driving after drinking, drivers and riders should also take care to avoid others on the road who are swerving or driving recklessly.

Passenger Errors or Negligence

Passengers can cause motorcycle accidents in a variety of ways. In addition to distracting the rider in some way, other ways passengers can cause an accident include:

  • When a passenger is not securely affixed to the bike, they can easily fall off and cause the rider to lose control.
  • If a passenger is not properly briefed or trained on how to ride as a passenger, their movements can be unpredictable and cause an accident.
  • If passengers are holding onto the rider too tightly or leaning in the wrong direction it can throw off the balance of the motorcycle and result in an accident.

Lack of Visibility

Another major issue that often leads to motorcycle accidents is visibility—or lack thereof. Motorcycles are much smaller than cars and trucks and can be harder for other drivers to see when changing lanes or merging onto highways.

In addition, motorcycles don’t have as many lights as cars do, making them less visible at night or during inclement weather conditions such as rain or fog. To stay safe when riding a motorcycle, always use your headlights after dark and wear bright clothing so other drivers will be able to see you more easily on the road.

Motorcycle Defects and Malfunctions

While it is less common than negligent drivers causing motorcycle accidents, defective parts or mechanical failure can be a factor as well. A manufacturer defect can cause an accident if a part fails when being used correctly according to its intended purpose. This may include defective brakes that malfunction when applied; tires that suddenly blow out due to poor construction; handlebars that break off; or any other malfunction related to engine failure or design flaws. In some cases, these defects can even be caused by poor maintenance from a dealer or previous owner.

Road Hazards

Motorcycles are also more prone than cars to being affected by certain road hazards such as potholes, loose gravel, wet leaves, slick surfaces, railroad tracks, and even large animals crossing the street. These hazardous situations can cause a rider to lose control of their bike if they aren't prepared for them ahead of time. It is important for riders to maintain their speed limit in order to better anticipate potential hazards on the road ahead of them so they can react quickly if needed.

If you have been in a motorcycle accident that was cause by another, Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, PC. can get you started on filing a claim. Please contact us today by calling (603) 288-1403.