Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

While motorcycle accidents are not more common than any other type of auto accident, the severity of injuries suffered is disproportionately higher. A motorcyclist is 26 times more likely to die in an accident than someone driving a passenger vehicle. This is in part due to the limited protection provided for motorcyclists. Understanding the causes of motorcycle accidents is a valuable tool for motorcyclists and others occupying the road in the crusade to reduce the number of needless motorcycle-related fatalities. If you have been injured, the Southern California motorcycle accident attorneys of Jimmie Kang Law Firm may be able to help you recover the compensation you require to move forward with your physical and emotional recovery.

The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle injuries can result from motorcyclist and driver negligence, and there is a myriad of ways in which motorcyclists can suffer harm. Our Orange County motorcycle accident lawyers believe that understanding these causes can help everyone on the road avoid accidents in the future and save lives. Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

  • Left-hand turns— studies have shown that performing a left-hand turn at a busy intersection is one of the most dangerous maneuvers behind the wheel today. Depth perception and the ability to accurately gauge the speed of oncoming vehicles is required to time the turn correctly, and drivers tend to lose these capabilities as time goes by. Motorcyclists are often involved in catastrophic accidents when cars pull in front of them while making left turns. It is also possible for the motorcyclist to pull in front of the oncoming vehicle for the same reasons.
  • Head-on collisions— over half of all motorcycle fatalities are the result of head-oncollisions. The force of impact is likely to throw the motorcyclist from his or her bike and into another object or the vehicle that has collided with it. Even if the victim survives, the chances of serious and debilitating injuries are high.
  • Lane splitting— one of the most annoying actions taken by motorcyclists during rush hour is to occupy the space between two lanes to move past slow-moving or stopped vehicles. The motorcyclists themselves are more likely to collide with vehicles due to a limited amount of space between cars and drivers are less likely to notice the motorcyclist when attempting to shift lanes.
  • Collisions with fixed objects— motorcycles are much more difficult to control than other vehicles due to the need to balance and shift the bike’s center of gravity to perform maneuvers. Should a rider lose control, he or she may collide with barricades, road fixtures, signs, railings or buildings.
  • Speeding— as with all other types of auto accidents, speed plays a significant factor in the risk of a crash, and the severity of the injuries suffered in one. Many accidents can be prevented if drivers and motorcyclists alike would merely slow down.
  • Tailgating— motorcycles are rarely provided the space or respect on the road that they deserve, and it is much more difficult for motorists to react in time when a motorcyclist needs to come to a quick stop. Motorcyclists tailgating other vehicles are equally at risk of being involved in an accident and are putting their lives at risk merely to arrive at their destination a few minutes earlier.
  • Drugs and alcohol— a staggering 50% of accidents involving only a motorcyclist are linked to alcohol and drug use. In addition to reducing reaction time, the influence of alcohol can impact the ability of motorcyclists to maintain balance and operate their bikes.
  • Poorly maintained roads— road hazards are much more likely to cause motorcycle accidents than other types of auto accidents. Potholes, uneven pavement and sudden lane narrowing can throw cyclists off balance or make them lose control of their bikes. Poorly placed or inaccurate signage may also be the cause of an accident if it leads vehicles into the wrong lanes.
  • Driver distraction— many of the motorists that motorcyclists share the roads with are multitasking. They are having phone conversations or sending and reading text messages— and this makes them a danger to everyone else on the road, including motorcyclists.
  • Driver assistive technologies— many of the technologies that are advertised to reduce the risk of an accident may also become the cause of one. Features such as autonomous braking may cause a vehicle’s brakes to engage when the car senses a danger ahead. This becomes precarious when the car is being followed by a motorcycle, and the brakes engage due to a false positive. These assistive technologies also provide drivers with a false sense of security and may diminish their natural driving abilities and instincts.
  • Adverse weather conditions— conditions such as fog, rain or ice can be precarious to motorcyclists. While many motorcyclists avoid the roads during winter months, it is possible for some to be caught off guard by a late spring or fall snow storm. Fog, rain, and glare from the sun can also make it more difficult for other drivers to spot and track motorcycles, placing their operators at higher risk.
  • High-performance motorcycles— bikes that are classified as a sport and super sport motorcycle are lighter weight bikes that operate at much higher speeds. Their riders are far more likely to act recklessly, testing the limits of their motorcycles’ speed and maneuverability. Some super sport bikes can reach speeds more than 160 mph, which is a deadly speed to be traveling before an impact or dismount.
  • Road rage— motorcyclists are often involved in road rage incidents due to their behavior toward other motorists or other drivers’ impatience with them. Regardless of who is at fault for these incidents, there is no excuse for such acts, especially when they threaten the lives of all those involved.

It is the hope of all of our Orange County motorcycle injury lawyers that drivers and motorcyclists become more aware of the hazards that they face on the road and how to minimize their risk of being involved in an accident. The injuries suffered in these types of collisions are far more severe and likely to alter or bring an end to the victims’ lives. It is for this reason that motorcycle safety should always be taken seriously.

Jimmie Kang Law Firm routinely represents motorcyclists who have been injured in accidents and their families. If you have been in a crash, we would like to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to for the cost of your medical treatment, lost wages and out of pocket expenses. Contact us today to arrange a risk-free consultation with one of our award-winning Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys to learn more about your rights. If we are unable to collect compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.

Motorcyclist Fatalities and Percent of Total Traffic Fatalities, 1990-2014
Source: FARS

Research by University of Southern California

A study was conducted by the University of Southern California, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which looked into the causes of motorcycle accident cases, some of which may surprise you. 

The following is a summarized list of what was discovered by researchers:

  • Nearly 75 percent of the motorcycle crashes studied involved a collision with another vehicle.
  • Roadway defects only accounted for 2 percent of motorcycle accidents.
  • In 75 percent of the cases where more than one vehicle was involved in the accident, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way.
  • Most motorcycle crashes are caused by other drivers who fail to see or recognize motorcyclists in traffic.
  • Many motorcycle collisions were the result of a vehicle making a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
  • A motorcycle accident is most likely to occur in an intersection.
  • Accidents caused by an uneven road or pothole can be fatal for a motorcyclist.

  • Weather was not a factor in 98 percent of motorcycle crashes.
  • Alcohol was a factor in nearly 50 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes.

  • Vehicle defects rarely caused motorcycle accidents.
  • Crash bars were not found to be an effective injury countermeasure.
  • Head and chest injuries were the most deadly in motorcycle collisions.

The study showed that many accidents occur because a driver did not see the motorcyclist in time, causing often fatal injuries.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino or other area in Southern California, you need to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer at the Injury Law Office of Jimmie Kang immediately.  We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Call us today for a free legal consultation.

24/7 Call Now