Common Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents

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Motorcycles are becoming an increasingly popular means of transportation. They are appealing to a broader range of riders than ever before, including older adults and more affluent individuals. Their popularity is attributed, in part, to the low cost of maintaining one; they are typically much more fuel efficient than cars, trucks, and SUVs. As of 2007, there were 7.1 million motorcycles on the road in the United States.

With motorcycles, as with any motor vehicles, there are risks associated with them. However, because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, they can be less visible to other motorists, as well as pedestrians. In addition, by nature of design, motorcycles provide operators with less protection from the elements, as well as from other vehicles in the event of an accident. Additional factors contributing to motorcycle accidents include congested roadways, hazardous road conditions, negligence of motorcycle operators, negligence of other drivers, speed, and alcohol.

Most motorcycle accidents involve more than one or more motor vehicles, other than the motorcycle itself; these account for 55 percent of motorcycle accidents. The remaining 45 percent of motorcycle accidents are single vehicle accidents.

If you own a motorcycle it is important to be aware of the risks associated with motorcycles. Being aware of common causes of motorcycle accidents may help you to avoid being involved in one yourself.

Road Hazards/Driving Conditions

Road hazards and driving conditions, including weather, as well as whether it is day or night, can lead to motorcycle accidents. Road hazards, which may include potholes, slipper road conditions, wet roads, loose stone or gravel, winding roads, blind spots, and even animals, can cause motorcycle accidents. Road hazards such as fresh loose stone, curves, and construction are supposed to be marked by the highway management. If hazards are not clearly marked, or not marked at all, highway management may be considered to be negligent and at fault for the accident.

Poor weather conditions, such as rain, fog, or even snow, may contribute to motorcycle accidents. Drivers of cars or trucks may not see motorcyclists; in such instances, it may be difficult to determine who may be at fault for an accident, or if anyone was at fault at all. In poor weather conditions, it is extremely important to exercise caution and be aware of other drivers.


In 2007, speed was a factor in 36 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes. In addition, drivers of sport model motorcycles (which can reach up to 190 mph) have a fatality rate four times higher than other types of motorcycles. When motorcyclists drive at excessively high speeds, beyond the posted speed limit, they can lose control of their vehicles relatively easily, which can then cause an accident. In addition, if a motorcyclist driving at an excessive speed were to hit a pothole or unseen bump in the road, it could send the motorcyclist off the bike or cause the motorcycle to go off the road. It is critical that people observe posted speed limits when operating motorcycles; it can significantly reduce the chances of becoming involved in an accident.

Negligence of Other Drivers

Motorcycles may not be visible to other motorists. If a driver fails to see a motorcyclist and causes an accident, they may be at fault. Other motorists may also cause an accident by driving recklessly, texting while driving, talking on a cell phone while driving, driving erratically, or speeding. If a driver causes an accident because of one of these reasons, he or she may be found negligent and be at fault for the accident.

Driving Under the Influence

Alcohol was responsible for 36 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2007. In 28 percent of these accidents the drivers had a BAC of .08 or higher. Eight percent had BAC lower than .08. In accidents that occurred on weekends, these percentages were even higher. It is critical, if you are driving a motorcycle, that you do not drive if you have been drinking.

Other motorists who have been drinking can also cause motorcycle accidents. It is important to be aware of other drivers at all times when operating a motorcycle.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents. An attorney will assess your case, review information obtained at the crash, and help to determine who was at fault in the accident. In the event that you were not negligent, and not at fault, a lawyer will help you pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, or other expenses incurred, as well as for property damage and/or pain and suffering.


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