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What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

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September 19, 2023 Motorcycle Accidents

With their high-speed capabilities and sleek designs, motorcycles have long symbolized freedom and excitement. However, motorcyclists face risks when riding on roads with other drivers.

Motorcycle accidents, unfortunately, occur with alarming frequency and often result in severe injuries or even fatalities. Despite common misconceptions, these accidents aren’t always the motorcyclist’s fault. The actions of other drivers or parties often contribute to the crash.

Various factors could lead to motorcycle accidents, such as external or environmental conditions, vehicle-related issues, bad driver behavior, and traffic-related issues.

A motorcycle accident lawyer can evaluate your case and determine who you can hold responsible for the crash and subsequent losses.

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Misconceptions About Motorcycle Accidents

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

One common misconception about motorcycle crashes is that the biker is usually at fault. This stereotype often comes from the mistaken notion that those who ride motorcycles are inherently reckless.

Motorist inattention, failure to yield the right of way, distracted driving, or impaired driving cause most motorcycle accidents. Your lawyer can pinpoint the cause of the accident and who’s likely responsible. Drivers cannot disregard a motorcyclist’s presence and right to ride safely.

Environmental Factors Contributing to a Crash

Drivers who fail to account for their environment and changing road conditions can wreak havoc and devastation on those around them, including motorcyclists.

Motorcycles and Changing Weather Conditions

Adverse weather, such as heavy rain, fog, snow, or wind can significantly increase the risk of motorcycle accidents. These conditions can change a driver’s visibility, grip on the road, and control over the vehicle. Vehicle drivers, unfortunately, often fail to adjust their driving for these situations. If drivers fail to slow down or give ample space to nearby motorcyclists, they can cause a crash.

Road Conditions Leading to Motorcycle Collisions

Motorcycles, due to their smaller size and lighter weight, are more susceptible to accidents due to poor road conditions.

Potholes, debris, loose gravel, or slick surfaces due to oil or ice can each lead to loss of control and subsequent accidents. Municipalities and transportation departments must ensure the presence of safe and well-maintained roads for all users, including motorcyclists.

Dangerous road conditions can also cause drivers to make abrupt and reckless lane changes or to slam on the brakes to avoid debris, which may cause a collision with a motorcyclist traveling near the vehicle.

How Visibility and Lighting Play a Role in Accidents

Anything that hinders a driver’s ability to see a motorcyclist in their path or surrounding area can result in a motorcycle accident. Poor lighting in certain stretches of roads or the glare from sunlight can reduce visibility, obscuring motorcycles from the view of other drivers. The weather or driving under the influence can also reduce visibility.

These environmental factors underscore why car drivers must adapt their driving habits to prevent accidents with motorcyclists.

Vehicle-Related Factors

Vehicle- and motorcycle- related factors can also contribute to motorcycle accidents. The design and maintenance of vehicles, the size and type of other involved vehicles, and mechanical failures or defects of a motorcycle can cause or exacerbate accidents and injuries to victims.

Vehicle Design and Maintenance

The smaller size of motorcycles can make them harder to spot. The absence of safety features, such as airbags and seatbelts, can also make motorcycle accidents more severe.

Vehicle maintenance issues can also increase the risk of accidents. For instance, faulty brakes, worn-out tires, or malfunctioning headlights on a car can compromise the driver’s ability to prevent a collision with a motorcyclist. When a driver fails to maintain their vehicle and make repairs, they increase the chance of a motorcycle crash.

Size and Type of Other Involved Vehicles

The size and type of vehicle in an accident with a motorcyclist can significantly influence the outcome. Large vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs, can cause more severe injuries because of the force behind the strike on a motorcycle. Drivers of larger vehicles might also have more difficulty identifying a motorcycle due to the vehicle’s size and height.

Mechanical Failures and Defects

Mechanical failures, such as tire blowouts, brake, or steering failures, can lead to a rider losing control and crashing. Any defects in the vehicle manufacturing process or equipment a rider uses can also lead to accidents, causing devastating injuries.

Human Factors

Just as motorcycles and external conditions play a role, the behavior and actions of other drivers can contribute to motorcycle accidents. Driver error, distracted driving, and impaired driving can lead to accidents.

Simple errors that drivers can make, such as failing to signal before changing lanes or not checking blind spots, can have devastating consequences. These drivers may not see a motorcycle, so they can collide with or force them to swerve dangerously, leading to an accident.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a growing concern and a significant contributor to motorcycle accidents. Distractions such as texting, eating, or changing the radio can divert a driver’s attention from the road. Even a momentary lapse of attention can cause an accident. Distracted driving causes many accidents where a driver collides with a rider stopped at a red traffic light, a stop sign, or within stalled traffic.

Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs strongly increases the risk of accidents. Impaired drivers have slower reaction times, reduced motor control functions, delayed coordination, and compromised decision-making abilities, which pose a grave danger to motorcyclists.

A motorcycle accident attorney can look at all evidence of the accident to determine the driver’s actions in the moments leading up to a crash and what negligent behaviors they may have engaged in before causing the accident.

Traffic-Related Factors

Apart from environmental, vehicular, and human factors, traffic-related conditions also play a significant role in causing motorcycle accidents. Traffic congestion, inadequate or malfunctioning traffic signals and signs, and road construction or detours can all contribute to accidents involving motorcyclists.

Traffic Congestion

High-trafficked areas or congested roads are particularly treacherous for motorcyclists. Heavy traffic requires motorcyclists to navigate around other vehicles, often in tight spaces, which increases the risk of a collision. In congested traffic, other drivers may not notice or disregard motorcycles due to their smaller size.

Traffic Signals and Signs

Motorcycle accidents can also occur due to inadequate or malfunctioning traffic signals and signs. Drivers who fail to adhere to traffic signals and signs or misinterpret them could inadvertently cause an accident with a motorcyclist, particularly at intersections where a motorcyclist relies on the signals for safe passage.

Road Construction and Detours

Road construction and detours often create dangerous and unpredictable road conditions. Construction zones pose an increased risk due to changes in traffic patterns, temporary signs, or construction debris on the roadway. Detours can lead drivers into unfamiliar territory, increasing the potential for motorcycle accidents.

Your Rights as a Motorcycle Accident Victim

A motorcycle rider has the same rights as any other driver. Should an accident occur due to the negligence of another road user, you can seek compensation for any damage you incur as a result. Hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you in a claim immediately following the crash.

Right to Compensation

If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident due to another driver’s negligence, you have the right to compensation for damages. You may recover compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, and pain and suffering.

The damages you recover will depend on the specifics of your case and the extent of your losses. To successfully pursue compensation, you’ll need to prove who caused the accident and show the extent of your damages through evidence.

Role of a Lawyer

A motorcycle accident attorney will protect your rights and navigate the complexities of your motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit. An attorney can investigate the accident, gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and advocate for your rights throughout the legal process.

Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with in motorcycle accident claims. Their priority is to protect their interests, which can lead to lowball settlement offers or outright claims denials. A motorcycle accident attorney can negotiate on your behalf to seek a good outcome.

Types of Motorcycle Accident Damages

The damages you may recover in a motorcycle accident claim include economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost income, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

After a motorcycle accident, a dedicated motorcycle injury attorney can fight for the compensation you deserve under the law.

Protect Your Legal Rights After a Motorcycle Accident

Keith Fuicelli, Attorney for Motorcycle Accident

Keith Fuicelli, Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Numerous variables can contribute to the cause of motorcycle accidents—environmental, vehicular, human, and traffic-related factors.

By taking a comprehensive approach to handling your case and seeking the advice of a skilled motorcycle accident attorney, you can protect yourself and your interests.

Motorcycle accidents can leave a path of destruction, so you may feel the effects of a crash throughout your lifetime. By hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer, you can fight for the compensation you need to settle the financial implications of the accident and get the resources necessary to continue your recovery.