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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents


  • Driver negligence is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, even though bikers have a reputation for being reckless operators.
  • The open-air design of motorcycles puts riders at significant risk compared to other types of motor vehicles.
  • The small size of motorcycles means other motorists on the road sometimes don’t notice them.
  • Motorcycle accidents can leave victims with significant physical, emotional, and financial damages.
  • Working with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you recover compensation for your damages.

Motorcycles offer freedom on the open road but also come with some inherent risks. Unlike the occupants of passenger cars, motorcyclists are fully exposed with limited structural protection. Additionally, the small size of motorcycles means that they often go unseen by other drivers on the road. These factors contribute to riders’ risk of injury, along with the common causes of motorcycle accidents.

If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, you need an expert on your side as you fight for the compensation you deserve. The respected team of motorcycle accident attorneys at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia will go above and beyond to help you secure a settlement that compensates you for your medical expenses, emotional trauma, and other damages like lost wages.

Don’t try to handle your personal injury claim alone. Reach out to our team at WHG for a free consultation. You can contact us online or call us at (800) 320-HELP.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

The high speeds, lack of protection, and comparatively low visibility of motorcycles make them uniquely dangerous for their riders, as motorcycle accident statistics show.

  • Motorcyclists are 4 times more likely to be injured and 28 times more likely to die in an accident when compared to the occupants of cars
  • Motorcycle riders make up 14% of all traffic fatalities despite motorcycles only accounting for 3% of all registered vehicles
  • Motorcycle accident fatalities have increased by 20% over the last decade

The risk associated with motorcycles highlights the need for riders and other motorists on the road to keep an eye out and avoid dangerous practices.

Many Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents Are Avoidable

The risks of motorcycles mean that riders must be especially careful to avoid hazards.

Car Driver Negligence

When passenger cars meet motorcycles on the road, motorcycle riders can be exposed to serious danger. Car drivers aren’t always prepared to share the road safely, and collisions with larger cars represent a huge chunk of motorcycle accidents.

Car drivers will often change lanes or make turns without checking for motorcyclists, who can easily disappear into their blind spots. Cars making left-hand turns are especially deadly, accounting for over 20% of motorcycle crashes. Cars also might ignore traffic laws and signals, making it even harder for motorcyclists to stay out of their paths.

Other forms of car driver negligence that put motorcyclists at risk include:

Hazardous Road Conditions

Hazardous road conditions are another common cause of motorcycle accidents. What could be a small bump or skid for a car can turn into a disaster for a motorcycle.

While most motorcyclists know better than to ride in the rain, it still happens. There are several other ways that road conditions can present a hazard for motorcycling, such as:

  • Poor weather
  • Uneven road surfaces like potholes or gravel
  • Lack of proper road maintenance
  • Construction zones
  • Oil spills

To avoid these accidents, motorcyclists should slow down on rough or unfamiliar roads and avoid driving in bad weather or near construction zones.

Vehicle Defects

Whether it’s a problem with the motorcycle or with other vehicles on the road, mechanical issues can pose a danger to riders. Common vehicle defects in both passenger cars and motorcycles include:

  • Faulty brakes
  • Malfunctioning headlights
  • Issues with throttle control
  • Defective fuel systems

Make sure to keep up-to-date on motorcycle maintenance to avoid running into trouble on the road.

However, sometimes vehicles malfunction even if all maintenance is performed correctly. If you are in a motorcycle accident, and a defective part or product in your vehicle or another vehicle is partially to blame, you may be able to recover compensation from the manufacturer.

Inexperienced Riders

Motorcycles are performance machines that may be difficult to control for inexperienced riders. They may also have some bad habits that haven’t been corrected yet which can put them at risk.

Inexperienced riders may encounter trouble due to:

  • Lack of training
  • Overestimation of riding ability
  • Inadequate knowledge of traffic laws
  • Failure to wear protective gear
  • Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Every state in the country requires either a motorcycle license or a motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license to ride. Be sure to complete all the necessary training before riding your motorcycle, wear a helmet and other protective gear, and avoid riding when you’ve been drinking.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Due to the high speed and lack of protection, motorcycle accidents can result in severe and sometimes life-altering injuries.

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: These injuries can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage. TBIs have the potential to affect a motorcyclist’s quality of life by harming their cognitive functions, physical abilities, and emotional health.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can lead to partial or complete paralysis, significantly altering a person’s mobility and lifestyle.
  • Road rash: This injury occurs when skin is scraped away during sliding on the pavement, potentially leading to infection, requiring skin grafts, and leaving scars.
  • Broken bones: Common in motorcycle accidents, broken bones can vary in severity and may require surgery, immobilization, and physical therapy for recovery.
  • Internal injuries: These are injuries to organs or internal bleeding caused by blunt force trauma or penetrating trauma, often requiring immediate medical intervention.

Recovering from motorcycle accident injuries can be a long and painful process, often requiring extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and adjustments to daily life. The emotional and financial toll of these injuries can also be significant, affecting not only the injured party but their loved ones as well.

Compensation for Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Negligent Operators or a Third Party

Motorcycle accident injuries often have a ripple effect on the lives of survivors, interfering with their physical health, emotional well-being, and financial situation.

After a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to various types of compensation to cover both economic and non-economic damages. This can help you recover from the immediate and long-term effects of the accident.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents Create Burdens for Injured Riders

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a motorcycle accident, you may be able to pursue compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses: Covers current and future medical treatments, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any required medical equipment.
  • Lost wages: Compensates for the income you lost while recovering from the accident and potential loss of future earning capacity.
  • Property damage: Pays for repairs or replacement of your motorcycle and any personal property damaged in the accident.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensates for physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life experienced as a result of the motorcycle accident.
  • Loss of consortium: Compensation for the impact the injuries have on the relationship with your spouse.
  • Punitive damages: In cases of extreme negligence, additional compensation may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.
  • And more

It’s important to work with an experienced motorcycle attorney who can help you accurately assess and pursue the full range of compensation you’re owed. You should also ensure that your attorney has a background in litigation so that they will be prepared if your personal injury lawsuit goes to trial.

How to Keep Yourself Safe on the Road to Avoid the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

While many motorcycle accidents are not the rider’s fault, there are still ways to protect yourself on the road. To mitigate common causes of motorcycle accidents, riders should prioritize safety at all times.

Some ways to practice safe motorcycle riding include:

  • Practice defensive driving techniques, anticipating potential hazards, and staying vigilant.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear, including a DOT-approved helmet, protective clothing, gloves, and boots.
  • Perform regular maintenance checks on your motorcycle to ensure it’s in optimal condition for riding.
  • Stay informed about weather and road conditions before embarking on a ride, adjusting your plans accordingly.
  • Avoid distractions such as texting or adjusting the radio while riding, maintaining focus on the road ahead.

Ways a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help Maximize Your Compensation

In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, you may wonder what to do next. Motorcycle accidents often cause serious injuries, mental trauma, and extensive financial burdens. In theory, insurance should help here, but insurance carriers may be more interested in protecting their bottom line than in protecting you.

A motorcycle accident lawyer can provide substantial assistance in a difficult time. They can help with:

  • Legal guidance and representation throughout the personal injury claims process, ensuring your interests are advocated for.
  • Examining evidence from the motorcycle accident, deposing witnesses, interviewing experts, and more to determine liability and accurately assess damages.
  • Negotiating with the negligent driver’s insurance carrier to obtain a fair settlement that covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
  • Advocating for your right to seek compensation in front of a judge or jury if the insurance company refuses to pay out what your claim is worth.
  • Providing support and resources for physical and emotional recovery, connecting you with medical professionals and support groups as needed.

Reach Out to the Seasoned Motorcycle Accident Attorneys of WHG Today

At WHG, we have intentionally built a reputation for being accessible to our clients because we want you to know that we value your trust. Our team of formidable motorcycle accident lawyers at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia will relentlessly seek fair compensation for your damages, as we have done for countless other clients.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your legal options and get the support you need. We encourage you to speak with our team by contacting us online or calling us at (800) 320-HELP.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do immediately after a motorcycle accident?

In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, your first steps can have an impact on your long-term outcomes. To stay safe and improve your chances of adequate compensation:

  • Move to safety
  • Check for injuries and seek medical attention
  • Call 911
  • Exchange information with other drivers
  • Gather evidence at the scene, like photos and witness information
  • Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer

Do motorcyclists have to have insurance in Florida?

Florida’s motorcycle insurance requirements are more lax as compared to other states’ rules. You don’t need insurance to register your motorcycle. However, you do need to have something called “proof of financial responsibility” in case you are involved in a motorcycle accident. Basically, this is saying you can reimburse someone for damages resulting from a collision where you were at least partially at fault.

Does Florida require motorcyclists to wear helmets?

If you are over the age of 21 and you don’t want to wear a motorcycle helmet, you need to be prepared to carry an insurance policy that will cover at least $10,000 in medical bills in the event of a crash. Anyone under 21 has to wear a motorcycle helmet, always, whether they are operating or riding.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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