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These Are the 7 Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Blogs from January, 2021

Close up of a fallen orange motorcycle at night

As you know, motorcycles can be very dangerous because they offer riders very little protection in the event of a collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “More than 80 percent of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist.”

Motorcycles don’t offer the same crashworthiness and occupant protection elements as standard vehicles, but this is partially offset by the fact that they are better than their auto counterparts in the following areas:

  • Agility
  • Maneuverability
  • Ability to stop quickly
  • Ability to swerve suddenly when needed

The following are the seven most common causes of motorcycle accidents:

#1 - Head-On Collisions

When cars collide with motorcycles, the car most often hits the motorcycle in the front. These accidents occur at least 78% of the time and frequently result in the death of the motorcyclist.

#2 - Cars Turning Left

These incidences are by far the most dangerous to motorcyclists. At least 42% of all accidents that involve a motorcycle and a car are the result of a car making a left-hand turn.

These accidents typically occur when the motorcycle is doing one of the following:

  • Going straight through an intersection,
  • Passing the car, or
  • Trying to overtake the car.

#3 - Lane Splitting

According to Washington State law (TCW 46.61.608), motorcycle lane splitting is strictly prohibited: “No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.” If you are caught breaking this law, you may be subject to a $136 fine.

Even though lane splitting is illegal in Washington, some motorcyclists engage in the behavior anyway, particularly during heavy traffic. Doing so is dangerous for the following reasons:

  • The act requires the motorcycle to be close to the nearby cars,
  • The motorcycle has significantly less space to maneuver, and
  • Car drivers don’t expect vehicles or motorcycles to pass them in slowed or stopped traffic.

#4 - Speeding and Alcohol Consumption

Nearly half of all accidents involving a motorcycle are the result of speeding or alcohol consumption.

Both speeding and alcohol consumption are especially dangerous for motorcyclists because accidents of this nature tend to be severe. Since motorcycles don’t offer much (if any) protection to riders, these accidents are much more likely than other types of accidents to result in motorcyclist fatalities.

#5 - Fixed Object Collisions

Roughly 25% of all motorcycle accident deaths occur when motorcycles collide with fixed objects, as opposed to just 18% of car occupant deaths. The reason for this may seem obvious since motorcyclists don’t have any barriers to protect themselves as car drivers do.

#6 - Road Hazards

Given the nature of motorcycles, road hazards are far more dangerous for motorcyclists than for car drivers. Among many others, the following road hazards have significant potential to cause motorcycle accidents:

  • Potholes
  • Roadkill
  • Slick pavement conditions
  • Uneven heights between lanes

#7 - High-Performance Motorcycles

High-performance motorcycles are grouped into one of two categories: supersport motorcycles and sport motorcycles.

Supersport Motorcycles

These bikes are built on racing platforms modified for highway use. They are lightweight and have high-horsepower engines, which allows them to perform particularly well. Some supersport bikes can go up to 160 miles per hour (mph).

Youngsters under the age of 30 tend to ride these types of bikes, which contributes overall to the number of accidents that occur due to these high-performance cycles.

Sport Motorcycles

These bikes are similar to supersport motorcycles, but they have a reduced power to weight ratio. Sport motorcyclists are most often younger than 34 years old.

Supersport motorcyclists are four times as likely to lose their lives in a collision than traditional motorcyclists. In addition, sport motorcyclists are two times as likely to lose their lives in a collision than traditional motorcycle riders. Traditional motorcycles include the following types of bikes:

  • Cruisers
  • Standards
  • Touring motorcycles

It is also worth noting that traditional motorcycle riders are typically over the age of 40, which may contribute to the overall death rate.

Staying Safe

While all drivers on the road have a duty to drive cautiously, as a motorcyclist, you have a greater responsibility to keep yourself safe behind the handlebars. Car drivers have a metal cage to help protect them in the event of an accident, but as a motorcyclist, you don’t have those same protections.

Now that you know the most common reasons for motorcycle accidents, you can take greater care on the road to avoid these sorts of collisions.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. We have helped many other people in similar situations recover compensation for their injuries, and we may be able to help you, too.

Give our Kent personal injury attorney at Dore Law Group, PLLC a call today at tel(253) 236-3888 to discuss your case.