What Are The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

What Are The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Calendar icon July 29, 2022

Riding on a motorcycle is a favorite summer pastime for some New Yorkers. But a sunny afternoon drive can soon turn disastrous in the event of a collision. Motorcycle accidents can happen out of nowhere and can result in catastrophic injuries or even death.

High speed accidents, head-on collisions and poor road conditions all contribute to the number of motorcycle accidents we see each year. Unfortunately, preventing a motorcycle crash is not always in your control. Here are some of the 5 most common causes of motorcycle accidents:

Left-Hand Turns

The most common type of motorcycle accident occurs when a passenger vehicle or commercial van makes a left-hand turn in front of a motorcycle. This is the single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists, accounting for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car.

While this type of accident is also common between two cars, a motorcycle’s size and lack of protection make these accidents extremely dangerous for riders. Usually, the car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is going straight through an intersection or passing on the left.

Head-On Collisions

Commonly occurring in construction zones, 2-lane rural roads, or highway ramps, head-on collisions account for 56% of motorcycle accident fatalities. 78% of the time when this happens, a car strikes the motorcycle head-on resulting in a fatal accident.

Head-on collisions between a car and a motorcycle usually happen when either the car or the motorcycle crosses the centerline of the road or a vehicle is traveling the wrong way down a one-way road. Depending on the speed in which either vehicle is traveling, the collision can result in serious and often fatal injuries to the motorcyclist.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides in-between lanes of slow-moving traffic. Lane splitting is a common practice in many countries, but is illegal in most U.S. states — including New York. However, that does not mean that this practice is not fairly common to encounter, especially in cities with plenty of traffic.

Although there are many advocates within that motorcycle community that endorse lane splitting as a safe practice, it can cause accidents with unaware motorists who may change lanes, open a door unexpectedly, or even litter out of an open window; causing the motorcyclist to lose control of their bike.

Excessive Speeding

High-performance motorcycles, although a small portion of all motorcycles on the road, account for a disproportionate number of motorcycle accidents each year. Some of these high-speed bikes can reach up to 160+ mph while on the road, which can lead to thrill-seekers racing down roadways at unsafe speeds.

Fatal accidents are two to four times more likely to occur amongst riders of sports motorcycles over conventional motorcycles, and speeding alone accounts for an average of 33% of motorcycle fatalities in the U.S.

Poor Road Conditions

Road hazards and poor weather conditions on the roadways account for nearly one-third of all motorcycle accidents each year. While some road conditions may be caused by nature — wet roads, for example — others may be due to poor roadway maintenance.

Some examples of hazardous road conditions that cause serious injuries to motorcyclists include:

  • Potholes
  • Poorly lit curves
  • Poorly lit intersections
  • Grooved or uneven pavement
  • Lack of protective dividers, medians, or guardrails
  • Unmarked lane shifts
  • Standing water due to poor drainage

Motorcycles are more susceptible to poor road conditions than cars, and these conditions can often lead to devastating injuries for an affected motorcyclist.

How To Avoid a Motorcycle Accident

It’s a known fact that riding a motorcycle poses more risks than riding in a passenger vehicle, but there are a few basic tips that every motorcyclist should know so they can stay safe and avoid a potentially fatal injury.

For starters, motorcyclists should invest in protective gear to protect vital parts of their body from common motorcycle accident injuries. Wearing protective gloves, pants, and boots can reduce your risk of suffering from a serious injury like road rash. Wearing a helmet while riding can potentially save your life and prevent a head injury in the event of a collision.

Next, be sure to take proper precautions while riding in traffic. Be sure to follow all local and state traffic laws while operating your motorcycle and practice defensive driving to keep yourself safe. In inclement or low visibility weather, be sure to have a functioning headlamp to ensure you are visible to other drivers on the road.

Finally, never operate any type of motor vehicle or motorcycle while under the influence. Drunk drivers cause more than 17,000 deaths annually and 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had alcohol impairments at the time of the collision. No matter what type of vehicle you are operating, never drink and drive.

When To Hire A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you have been severely injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be left with painful injuries, substantial medical bills and even lost wages. A personal injury attorney who has experience working with motorcycle injury victims can help you to recover a fair settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Motorcyclists who have been injured in New York have 3 years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim, and 2 years from the date of the accident to file a wrongful death suit if you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash. However, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after the accident to ensure that your rights are protected.

For a free and confidential case consultation, contact the team of motorcycle accident attorneys at Cellino Law. Our experienced and compassionate team is here to help answer any questions you may have regarding a personal injury or wrongful death case resulting from a motorcycle crash. Our team can be reached 24/7 at 800-555-5555.



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