The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

by NPHM | April 20th, 2020

Maybe you’ve heard that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than other motorists. Or perhaps you’ve heard that around 90,000 people are injured in motorcycle accidents every year in the U.S. Though these statistics are widely shared, it can seem like too little attention is given to why motorcycle crashes happen. Here’s a hint: it’s not always because the biker was driving recklessly.

There are around 3,750 motorcycle crashes in Ohio every year, and nearly 350 in Cuyahoga County alone. These crashes are almost always preventable, whether it involves drivers being more aware of nearby riders or motorcyclists being more cautious. By knowing the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, we might be able to avoid them, whether we’re on a motorcycle or simply sharing the road with one.

Here are 10 of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:

  1. Impaired driving
  2. Distraction
  3. Fatigue
  4. Following another vehicle too closely
  5. Speeding
  6. Other drivers making left turns into the paths of oncoming motorcyclists
  7. Other drivers changing lanes without noticing motorcyclists in their blind spots
  8. Failing to yield the right-of-way
  9. Failing to heed traffic signals
  10. Colliding with fixed objects

Many of these causes can apply to both motorcyclists and the drivers of the vehicles around them. But when the driver of another vehicle behaves negligently, it’s often the motorcyclist that gets hurt.

The Demands of Riding a Motorcycle

Motorcycles offer riders many benefits but there are also several dangerous challenges facing motorcyclists. One of the biggest challenges is sharing the road with drivers who fail to notice a motorcyclist’s presence.

For example, drivers often misjudge the distance of an oncoming motorcycle, which is one of the reasons that intersections are especially dangerous for motorcyclists. Drivers turning left might perceive that a motorcycle is traveling slower than it actually is, leading to a head-on or T-bone collision.

Sometimes drivers also fail to give motorcyclists the space they need. This could mean allowing very little distance between the front of their vehicles and the motorcycles they’re following. They might also fail to notice the presence of motorcyclists in their blind spots, which makes side-impact collisions more likely.

Motorcyclists Practice Defensive Driving Out of Necessity

Safety advocates often encourage motorcyclists to practice defensive driving. What does defensive driving mean for motorcyclists?

  • Motorcyclists must be mindful of situations in which drivers might not see them, including intersections and blind spots.
  • Motorcyclists should maintain their motorcycles at all times and be prepared for any inclement weather.
  • Motorcyclists should practice defensive driving tactics while riding assertively without being either timid or overly aggressive.
  • Motorcyclists should always wear appropriate gear when riding.

Is the Burden of Responsibility on Motorcyclists?

It seems as though motorcyclists are often being told what they need to do to stay safe. But does that mean that motorcyclists always bear responsibility for crashes? Not at all. In fact, it’s typically the driver of the other vehicle who is at fault for a collision between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle.

Though motorcyclists are encouraged to be vigilant about the dangers they face, they should also know that they have rights just like every other motorist. When another driver causes them harm through careless driving, they deserve compensation for the damages they suffer.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, Call Us

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we have recovered more than $1 billion for clients in just 26 years. We know how challenging life can be when someone is injured by a reckless driver, especially when it comes to staying on top of both accident-related and day-to-day living expenses.

For motorcyclists, the situation is often much more dire than it is for people injured in other vehicles. Motorcyclists aren’t just facing more serious injuries than other motorists, they’re also stigmatized at every step of the claims process. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to offer motorcyclists far less than they deserve, which is why it’s so important to speak to an attorney before accepting any offers.

Let us review your case for free, so we can help you better understand your legal options. Contact our Ohio motorcycle accident attorneys by calling (216) 230-6384 to speak to a team that understands what you’re going through.