Common Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents And Fatalities

Motorcyclists are more susceptible to injury and death than drivers of cars when they get into accidents. This is because motorcycles don't have the protective frame of a car, and so either the bike or the rider's body will bear the brunt of a collision. In many cases where the motorcyclist wasn't wearing a helmet, the injuries a person sustains in a motorcycle accident can be catastrophic.

Many factors can affect the number of motorcycles on the road at any given time. For example, warm and dry weather, a longer riding season and low gas prices can translate into an increase in riders on the road, which in turn can lead to a greater number of accidents. But once on the road, there is a predictable set of factors that can cause motorcycle accidents:

  • Cars turning left. Drivers often don't see, or aren't looking for, motorcyclists. Therefore, when a cyclist is moving straight through an intersection, and a car intends to turn left, the driver of the car may take the turn prematurely, colliding with the motorcyclist.
  • Road hazards. Poor road conditions — which can include potholes, wet pavement or unforeseen obstacles in the roadway — pose a greater risk to motorcyclists than they do drivers of cars.
  • Alcohol use. As with drivers of any vehicles, drinking alcohol before operating a motorcycle is dangerous, and can lead to not only significant injuries in the event of a crash but also criminal charges. Similarly, motorcyclists sharing the road with other drunk drivers are at risk of being seriously injured.

According to NHSTA data, alcohol was involved in more fatal motorcycle accidents in 2014 (29 percent) than car accidents (22 percent), light truck accidents (22 percent) or accidents involving large trucks (2 percent) in that same year. In 2014, 60 percent of riders who were fatally injured in motorcycle crashes tested positive for drug or alcohol use.

  • Speeding. Whether the person speeding had been a motorcyclist or driver of a car, speeding slows down the time each motor vehicle operator has to respond to unexpected obstacles. Given that it's more difficult to see motorcyclists than it is drivers of cars, speeding and motorcycles can be a destructive and even fatal combination.
  • Improper lane changes. When a car suddenly changes lanes without signaling, this creates a dangerous situation for any motorcyclist in the immediate vicinity.
  • Following too closely. If a car follows a motorcycle too closely, they leave themselves little room for any sudden stops. This is how motorcycles can get rear-ended.
  • Texting. Texting while driving creates a distraction for drivers that in too many cases can prove deadly.
  • Equipment factors. Failure to wear a helmet, or failure to wear an adequately protective helmet, can contribute to more significant injuries or death in the event of a crash. Not having anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control or an air bag can also translate into more serious injuries, as can using lightweight sport bikes with powerful engines.

Call Our Office To Pursue Compensation

Our Virginia attorneys offer free initial consultations to help injured people and their families start the process of seeking compensation to help pay for medical expenses and other related costs after a motorcycle accident. To schedule your appointment, call a lawyer at our Roanoke office at 540-342-2000 or reach out online.