Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

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Motorcyclists enjoy the freedom of riding their bikes but also accept the risk of traveling on roadways surrounded by much larger, heavier vehicles without the benefit of any real protection around them. Tens of thousands of motorcyclists are injured in crashes each year, and 2012 saw a 15 percent increase in injury crashes from 2011 with 93,000 injuries in 2012.

The following list of common causes of motorcycle accidents may help educate riders and make them cognizant of some mistakes or hazards they may avoid in the name of safe riding.

Lane Splitting

This is a completely preventable type of accident. It happens when a motorcyclist attempts to travel between two lanes of vehicles. It is a dangerous maneuver because cars don’t expect the motorcycle to be there, the motorcyclist has reduced area to control his motorcycle and the motorcycle is traveling in very close proximity to other vehicles. A driver may switch lanes and strike the motorcycle.


This one is simple. Speeding, especially in unsafe areas or weather, is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Speeding, just as with other motor vehicles, reduces the ability to control the motorcycle and increases the severity of a crash if it happens.

In 2012, 34 percent of motorcycle riders who were in fatal crashes were speeding, according to the NHTSA. This was in comparison to 22 percent of passenger car drivers and eight percent or large truck drivers.

Cars Turning Left

These are common types of accidents between two cars as well, and occur when the car is turning left and the motorcycle is going straight through the intersection. A driver may try to beat the motorcyclist through the intersection or may fail to see the motorcycle. Forty-one percent of fatal two-vehicle motorcycle crashes involved a vehicle turning left as the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking the other vehicle, reports the NHTSA.

Be wary of intersections and always proceed through them with caution. Other drivers on the roadway are unpredictable and your safety depends on your ability to avoid an accident.

Road Hazards

Motorcycles are not as stable as four-wheel passenger vehicles and may be more susceptible to accidents when driving over a large pothole, unexpected debris or dead animal in the roadway. When a motorcyclist hits a road hazard, he or she may lose control of the bike and wreck.

This is another common cause of motorcycle accidents, as 22 percent of motorcycles that were in fatal accidents crashed into a fixed object, compared to 18 percent of passenger cars, according to the NHTSA.

Alcohol Impairment

The same rules that apply to motorists apply to motorcyclists. Do not drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The potential for an accident greatly increases when these substances are affecting the rider’s judgment. Twenty-seven percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired with a BAC of .08 or higher.

This was compared to 23 percent of passenger car drivers and 22 percent of light truck drivers. Further, 43 percent of motorcyclists who passed away in a single-vehicle crash had a BAC of .08 or higher.

If You Were Victim of a Motorcycle Accident, Call Max Meyers Law

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident – one of the common causes of motorcycle accidents or not – in the Bellevue, Washington area and need legal representation, Bellevue accident lawyer Max Meyers can help. We help victims of motorcycle accidents recover compensation to which they are entitled. Call us today at 425-399-7000 or use our online contact form to set up a free consultation with an attorney.

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.