What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Safely driving a motorcycle means knowing how accidents can occur

Motorcycles offer a way to explore the road that’s unlike any other sort of vehicle. There’s a reason why the thrill of riding down the open highway on a motorbike has been repeatedly celebrated across generations of American storytelling: it’s a uniquely exhilarating way to travel.

However, this thrill also comes with its own set of dangers. Motorcyclists are vulnerable to a variety of accident risks that aren’t as present for other vehicles, such as passenger cars. To highlight the importance of safe, sober, and mindful motorcycle riding, let’s explore some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

This list is by no means comprehensive. Rather, we’d like to focus on four conditions that commonly lead to motorcycle accidents, along with detailing how these dangerous conditions can compound collisions, injuries, and deaths.

Low Motorcycle Visibility

As motorcycles are smaller than cars, they don’t always get the same consideration on the road. Driving on the highway especially means having to navigate a space that’s designed largely for passenger cars. This means that drivers may not look out for motorcycles in the same way that they would watch for other traffic.

Motorcycle accidents stemming from low visibility can take several forms. One of the most common occurs when other cars attempt to change lanes or merge, unaware they have a motorcycle in their path. As motorcycles don’t offer much protection against being side-swiped, this can be incredibly dangerous for riders—especially on the highway.

Unaware drivers can also cause accidents when opening car doors in front of oncoming motorists. Since this commonly happens on crowded two-lane city streets, motorcyclists might not have much time—or room—to react.

While you can’t simply make other drivers more situationally aware as a motorcyclist, you can be mindful and proactive when navigating them. When in doubt, assume other drivers can’t see you and drive defensively.

Unsafe Turns

Left-hand turns comprise more than 40% of accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles. If that number seems high, it’s because it is: turning at 4-way intersections are uniquely dangerous for motorcycle riders.

These accidents can play out in a variety of ways, but they’re commonly caused by cars making left-hand turns while a motorcycle is also getting through the intersection. Whether the car turns into an oncoming motorcycle or swipes into one that’s trying to pass, the results can be fatal.

In the vast majority of these cases, the left-turning vehicle is at fault for the motorcycle accident. 

Reckless Driving

While motorcycles are hardly the only vehicles endangered by negligent, distracted, or drunk driving, they’re uniquely vulnerable to it. As motorcycles are already less visible to other motorists, the risk of a driver utterly failing to notice a nearby rider increases if they’re distracted or impaired.

Motorcycles driving recklessly can also pose a major danger. It’s hard to deny the adrenaline of tearing up the open road on a high-end motorcycle, and some riders take this to dangerous extremes. Needless to say, this isn’t safe. Not only does this provide riders with less time to react to potential collisions, but it also makes those collisions more dangerous.

Getting injured as a result of reckless driving can mean a long road to recovery. As these motorcycle auto accidents are often severe, healing can mean navigating a pile of steep hospital bills. That’s where having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can make a massive difference.

Dangerous Driving Conditions

Dangerous driving conditions can stem from both the mechanical integrity of a motorcycle along with the roads that it’s being driven on.

Motorcycles have a significantly higher margin for manufacturer issues to compound into full motorcycle crashes when something goes wrong. While a flat tire on a passenger car is never good, it doesn’t come with the same risk of the vehicle immediately flipping—as is the case with motorcycles. This is also true for other parts of the vehicle’s engineering, meaning that any issues have the potential to immediately cause a motorcycle defect auto accident.

The dangers posed by faulty engineering are also present on poorly maintained roads. A lower center of gravity and fewer contact points with the road means that potholes, cracks, and buckling roads can all throw a rider from their motorcycle if they’re not avoided.

If you’re injured in a motorcycle crash that stems from unsafe driving conditions, your road to recovery can face additional hurdles. The lack of another at-fault driver means your insurance company may not feel very motivated to step in when the medical bills start coming. This means it’s especially important to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer who will help you navigate your best steps and ensure your recovery is taken care of.

The moments after a motorcycle auto accident can be incredibly traumatic. This trauma can compound even further as the initial shock of an accident gives way to a steep recovery and mounting medical bills. Thankfully, you don’t need to navigate the road to recovery alone.

McDivitt Law Firm has been representing victims of Colorado motorcycle accidents for 40 years. Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys understand the nuances of navigating insurance claims and will intervene to ensure you’re able to focus your time on recovery. With offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, and Pueblo, we fight hard to ensure our clients get the compensation they deserve!

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