What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

February 28, 2024 | By Impact Legal Car Accident Attorneys
What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

The freedom of the open road is one of the great joys of motorcycle riding. Yet, amidst this freedom, there's a less pleasant topic: motorcycle accidents. While it's uncomfortable, knowing the risks is key to avoiding potential dangers.

A Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer presents stark statistics highlighting the importance of vigilance on the road.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that around 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes in the U.S. result in injury or death, a figure significantly higher than the 20 percent for passenger vehicles. 

motorcycle rider dying

Also, the likelihood of a motorcycle rider dying in a crash is 27 times higher than for passengers in cars, with nearly 5,000 motorcyclists losing their lives annually across the country.

These alarming numbers aim to inform and protect riders, not to deter them. By understanding the root causes of motorcycle accidents, riders can adopt strategies to avoid these tragic scenarios. Three main areas broadly categorize the causes: lawyer personal factors, roadway conditions, and interactions with other road users.

In this blog, a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer will guide you through each category, offering insights and practical tips to help riders enhance their safety on the road. From understanding legal nuances to implementing proactive measures, this resource aims to empower motorcyclists with the knowledge they need to navigate the roads safely.

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Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions between a motorcycle and a car occur when one vehicle strays into the opposing lane, directly crashing into an oncoming vehicle.

Although such collisions are relatively rare, making up only a small percentage of all vehicle accidents, they disproportionately result in a high number of fatalities and severe injuries.

Blind Spots

Blind spot accidents underscore a significant challenge for motorcyclists: being unseen by drivers during lane changes. The limited visibility from a vehicle's blind spots often misses the narrower profile of motorcycles, placing them at higher risk during lane transitions.

Drivers exacerbate this issue by giving only a cursory glance before changing lanes, not fully accounting for their vehicle's blind spots.

Left-Turn Accidents

Left-turn statutes regulate traffic flow and ensure safety at intersections, applying uniformly to all motorists, including those on motorcycles. In this blog, a motorcycle accident lawyer will guide you through each category, offering insights and practical tips to help riders enhance their safety on the road.

From understanding legal nuances to implementing proactive measures, this resource aims to empower motorcyclists with the knowledge they need to navigate the roads safely.

A common hazard arises from failure-to-yield incidents, where drivers of passenger vehicles may not notice oncoming motorcyclists while making a left turn. These situations significantly elevate the risk of collisions at intersections, which can be particularly difficult for motorcyclists due to their vulnerability.

Dangerous RoadvConditions for Motorcyclists

With their unique dynamics and reliance on balance, motorcycles face heightened risks from road conditions that might be merely inconvenient for passenger vehicles.

The responsibility to maintain and promptly address hazardous conditions falls on government agencies, whose duty includes ensuring the safety and navigability of roadways for all users.

Common Hazardous Road Conditions

  • Construction Zones: Improperly marked or uncovered speed limit signs during construction can create confusion and dangerous speed differentials, significantly increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Lack of Guardrails: The absence of guardrails on curvy or elevated roads can lead to severe consequences if a motorcyclist loses control.
  • Inadequate Lighting: Poorly lit roads compromise motorcyclists' ability to quickly identify and react to road hazards.
  • Road Debris: Materials left from road work can be particularly hazardous for motorcycles, leading to loss of control.
  • Malfunctioning Traffic Signals: Non-operational signals disrupt traffic flow and can cause confusion, leading to collisions.
  • Road Surface Issues: Cracks, uneven pavement, and potholes challenge the motorcycle's stability more than a four-wheeled vehicle.
  • Slippery Surfaces: Whether due to weather conditions or spills, slippery surfaces are especially dangerous for two-wheeled vehicles that can easily lose traction.

Due to sovereign immunity, initiating legal action against government entities for compensation related to dangerous road conditions can be complex and challenging.

Sovereign immunity shields government agencies and officials from lawsuits without their consent. Understanding this legal doctrine is crucial when dealing with legal matters involving government entities.

A motorcycle accident attorney can guide you through its impact on your case, helping you navigate complexities and explore potential exceptions.

While this principle does not make it impossible to sue a government entity, it introduces specific challenges and requirements, such as filing claims within strict deadlines and meeting particular legal standards to prove negligence.

Overcoming Sovereign Immunity Challenges

Successfully challenging a government agency over dangerous road conditions requires a motorcycle accident attorney to present a compelling case. A motorcycle accident lawyer will assist in highlighting negligence or failure by the government to maintain safe road conditions.

The right attorney significantly enhances the likelihood of a favorable outcome in sovereign immunity cases. These cases often hinge on demonstrating that the agency was aware of the hazardous condition and failed to act.

With their experience, a motorcycle accident attorney can adeptly navigate the legal intricacies, build a compelling case, and effectively argue against sovereign immunity constraints. Their experience handling similar cases equips them to uncover essential evidence, ensuring a robust presentation of facts to support your claim.

Motorcycle Defects

A flaw in design or a lapse in the manufacturing process can lead to malfunctions that may cause accidents, sometimes with severe consequences.

These defects can range from issues with the braking system and tire failures to problems with the fuel system that lead to unexpected fires or engine stalls. In such cases, the damages sustained by riders can be extensive, including physical injuries and serious financial and emotional burdens.

Pursuing a claim for injuries stemming from a motorcycle defect involves examining the nature of the defect, whether it arises from its design or manufacturing process. This distinction can affect the direction of the legal strategy and the identification of responsible parties.

Design defects are inherent flaws in the product's blueprint, meaning the motorcycle is dangerous even when manufactured correctly.

On the other hand, manufacturing defects occur when there is a deviation from the intended design during the production process, leading to a dangerous outcome that was not part of the original design.

Like cases involving road defects, those centered on motorcycle defects require a motorcycle accident lawyer due to the technicalities involved in proving the defect and establishing liability. It requires gathering substantial evidence, including expert testimony on the nature of the defect and how it led to the accident.

A motorcycle accident attorney can thoroughly examine critical aspects such as product recalls, previous similar incidents, and the manufacturer's adherence to safety standards, ensuring comprehensive legal representation.

Rear-End Collisions

When you're out on the road enjoying a ride on your motorcycle, your journey can unexpectedly take a turn for the worse, especially when you least expect it, such as while waiting at a stop sign.

Another vehicle rear-ending a motorcyclist is one of the more startling and hazardous situations a rider can face. This scenario often unfolds in the blink of an eye, leaving little room for reaction. The driver behind might not have paid attention or they lost control of their vehicle, leading to a collision with your motorcycle from the rear.

Such incidents, commonly called fender benders, pose a significant risk to motorcyclists, potentially leading to severe consequences.

Rear-end collisions are particularly concerning for motorcyclists due to the lack of protective barriers compared to those in a car. A fender bender might suggest minor damage, but the reality for a motorcyclist can be far more serious, even fatal, due to the vulnerability of being on two wheels.

These accidents can occur more suddenly than other crashes, such as those involving vehicles merging or turning, making them harder to predict and avoid.

The dynamics of a rear-end collision involve several factors, including the approaching vehicle's speed, road conditions, and driver's attentiveness.

Motorcyclists, therefore, must stay vigilant, constantly scanning their surroundings and employing defensive driving techniques to mitigate the risk of such accidents. 

Maintaining a safe distance from vehicles ahead, making your motorcycle visible to drivers behind you, and being prepared to take evasive action if necessary are essential precautions.

Dooring Incidents

Imagine you're on your motorcycle, caught in a standstill amidst a line of traffic. Along the curb, a row of cars lines up to your right. To bypass the congestion, you cautiously maneuver to the right, aiming to pass the stationary traffic.

Without warning, a car door suddenly swings open from the parked vehicles, striking you in your path. This type of accident, often called a dooring incident, is, unfortunately, a common risk for motorcyclists navigating congested urban environments.

Dooring incidents occur when drivers or passengers of parked cars fail to check for oncoming traffic before opening their doors. These unexpected obstacles can instantly appear for motorcyclists, leaving little to no time to react.

Exiting vehicles may not anticipate the approach of a motorcycle, especially if occupants focus on their immediate surroundings or get distracted upon leaving their vehicle, exacerbating the situation.

The consequences of a dooring accident can be severe for a motorcyclist. Unlike drivers within the frame of their vehicles, Motorcyclists face direct exposure to impacts, heightening the risk of injury. Such collisions can lead to physical harm and significant damage to the motorcycle.

The Growing Challenge of Distracted Driving for Motorcyclists

In the world of motorcycling, mastering the art of riding and remaining vigilant on the road is crucial for safety. However, the risk factor increases significantly when other road users are less attentive.

Distracted driving, a concern that has escalated in the modern era, poses a serious threat to motorcyclists. Distractions can range from eating, selecting music, engaging with podcasts, making phone calls, reading emails, and sending texts to simply zoning out.

Notably, the surge in cell phone use while driving, which has seen an approximate 1,500 percent increase, underscores a troubling trend.

Nearly 10 percent of all fatal crashes in the United States, a particularly alarming statistic for the motorcycle community, contribute to distracted driving.

In response to the growing menace of distracted driving, motorcycle awareness initiatives were launched globally, aiming to enhance drivers' sensitivity to the presence of motorcyclists. Despite these efforts, the burden remains on motorcyclists to maintain a high level of alertness to navigate safely around potentially distracted drivers.

Distracted Driving for Motorcyclists

Adopting proactive safety measures for motorcyclists can help mitigate the risks posed by distracted driving.

One fundamental strategy is maintaining a safe following distance, which provides additional time to react to sudden stops or maneuvers by distracted drivers.

Investing in motorcycles equipped with collision avoidance technology represents another layer of defense, offering critical support in preventing accidents before they occur. Furthermore, wearing highly visible clothing and gear increases the likelihood of being seen by a driver, reducing the chances of an accident caused by inattention.

If a distracted driver caused an accident involving you or a loved one, you need a lawyer to protect your rights and entitlement to compensation for injuries and damages. Seeking legal counsel can help navigate the complexities of your case and ensure you pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Securing the services of a knowledgeable attorney is the first step in ensuring you receive the justice and compensation you deserve after an accident. Hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer promptly sets the foundation for a strong case and accelerates your journey toward recovery, both physically and financially.

Jared Pehrson, Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Phoenix
Jared Pehrson, Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Phoenix

If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, a consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney allows you to understand the specifics of your case, the legal avenues available to you, and the steps necessary to pursue compensation.

A skilled attorney will evaluate the accident's circumstances, assess liability, and outline potential strategies for securing the compensation you deserve. This personalized guidance ensures you are well informed about your options and empowered to make informed decisions as you navigate the legal process following a motorcycle accident.