Motorcycles are a favored pastime for many. You can't beat the sunshine on your skin, the music in your ears, and the wind on your face as you cruise down the highway. However, motorcycles have a dark side, too. When accidents happen, motorcycle riders may suffer extremely serious injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an estimated 80% of motorcycle wrecks result in injury or death. In this article, we'll discuss the most common causes of motorcycle accidents on American roads.
If you've been hurt while riding your motorcycle, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our motorcycle lawyers in Arizona or New Mexico today. To schedule your consultation, call or text (602) 345-1818 if you're in Arizona or 602-345-1818 if you're in New Mexico. You may prefer to fill out our convenient and secure online contact form, which you can find on our contact page here.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen
Knowing the dangers on the road can keep motorcycle riders safe. The number one cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of other drivers to see and recognize motorcycles on the road. The size of a bike can make it a challenge for other drivers to see them on the road, especially when the view is obstructed by glare or another object. As with other types of accidents, causes of bike wrecks may include the failure to follow laws, reckless driving, excessive speeding, use of drugs and alcohol, etc. According to various sources, some stats regarding causes of motorcycle crashes, include:
- 28% of motorcycle wrecks that resulted in death involved drugs or alcohol
- Incorrect turns are the cause of 42% of bike deaths
- Speeding was the cause of 34% of motorcycle crashes in 2017
Below we'll discuss a few specific causes of motorcycle accidents.
Left turns can be incredibly dangerous for people on bikes because it can be hard for other drivers to see them. Either the motorcycle's turn signal is difficult to see or the driver in the turning car doesn't see the bike at all as he or she is making the turn.
In Arizona, commonly, drivers making left turns are proven to be liable. This is because Arizona's right-of-way traffic laws require vehicles turning left to yield at intersections to opposite-driving motorists. Even so, the law provides exceptions, such as with green light arrows. Having a motorcycle accident lawyer on your side can help you place liability on the right party.
Accidents that involve drugs or alcohol are more fatal for motorcyclists than for other drivers with 90% of bike accidents resulting in injuries compared to 33% of auto accidents resulting in the same severe injuries.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
Speeding is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents, and with speeding often comes recklessness. Not only do speed and recklessness make it more likely for motorcycle riders to lose control of their bikes, but those who drive recklessly or aggressively may also be setting themselves up for criminal charges in Arizona. Some examples of scenarios in which you may be charged with Aggressive driving include:
- Unsafe lane changes
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Passing another vehicle by driving off road
- Failure to yield right-of-way or traffic control devices (entrance ramps, road lines, etc)
If you are using excessive speed and commit two of the above violations, you could be found guilty of aggressive driving, resulting in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, and subject to such penalties as 6 months in jail, a $2500 fine, and up to three years of probation. The court may also suspend your driving privilege for 30 days. If convicted of a second charge, you may be stripped of your driving privilege for a year.
Another potential charge associated with road rage is “reckless driving,” which is also a criminal charge. ARS 28-693. Persons found guilty of reckless driving will be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor and subject to penalties such as fines, driver's license suspension, and up to 4 months in jail.
Sudden or Fast Lane Changes
After side impacts happen during lane changes, drivers commonly claim that they didn't see motorcycles. Some scientists speculate that passenger vehicle drivers have trained themselves only to recognize other passenger cars and trucks, resulting in them often “tuning out” motorcycles, bikes, and other smaller vehicles.
Potential Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
If you've been in an accident, a motorcycle accident lawyer could help you recover several compensatory damages, including:
- Medical expenses (past, current, and future)
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
If you've been hurt, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in New Mexico can help you determine the value of your case.
Talk to a Motorcycle Lawyer Today
If you've been injured as a result of a motorcycle accident, call or text our motorcycle lawyers in Arizona or New Mexico today. Regardless of whether you were at fault in the accident, you may still be entitled to some legal compensation to help you recover. Schedule your free case review by calling or texting (602) 345-1818 if you're in Arizona or 602-345-1818 if you're in New Mexico. You may alternatively fill out our convenient online form here, and we will reach out to you to set up your free consultation.
The information on our blog and website is for general informational purposes only, and it is not intended to serve as legal advice. For legal advice about your unique situation, call or text our car accident lawyers today.
We are located in Arizona and New Mexico. We serve clients in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Maricopa, and the entire state of Arizona. We also serve clients in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Roswell, Farmington, Los Alamos, Las Cruces, and the entire state of New Mexico.