Motorcycle Accidents: The usual cause » Pacific Coast Injury Law Center

An Increasingly Popular Mode of Travel: The Risks and Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycling has become an increasingly popular mode of travel, and for good reason. Bikes are affordable, have great fuel economy, are easy to park, and offer a sense of freedom and adventure that is hard to beat. California, in particular, is a haven for motorcycle enthusiasts, with breathtaking views and diverse terrains to explore.

However, with the increasing popularity of motorcycles comes an unfortunate reality: the elevated risks for accidents, injuries, or death cannot be denied. Bikes are difficult to spot from the driver’s seat of a car, and accidents involving motorcycles often result in serious injury or death.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2020 was the deadliest year ever for motorcyclists on U.S. roadways, with 5,579 fatalities on record. Around 530 of those deaths occurred in California alone.

While some accidents are unavoidable, many are caused by error, negligence, distraction, or recklessness on the part of drivers. Here are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:

Driving under the influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. Around half of all single-vehicle bike crashes involve alcohol, and DUI was a factor in about 30% of all crashes in which someone died.


Speeding is another leading cause of motorcycle accidents. According to the NHTSA, speeding killed 11,258 people nationwide in 2020, accounting for 27% of total traffic fatalities.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is a growing concern, with more than 3,100 deaths in 2020 attributed to distracted driving. Motorcyclists should be aware of drivers who are texting, eating, or engaging in other distracting activities while behind the wheel.

Road rage

Incidents of road rage are on the rise, with drivers who lose their temper behind the wheel becoming increasingly violent. Avoiding confrontations with aggressive drivers is key to staying safe on the road.

While some accidents may be unavoidable, being aware of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents can help riders stay safe on the road. It’s important to always wear a helmet and protective gear, and to take motorcycle safety courses to improve your skills and awareness while riding.

In conclusion, while motorcycling offers a sense of freedom and adventure that is hard to beat, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved and take steps to stay safe on the road. With education and awareness, we can work to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities on our roadways.

Motorcycle accidents are all too common in busy intersections, where improper left turns, failure to yield right of way, and red-light running can cause serious injury or death. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road, lacking the safety features of larger vehicles like seat belts, air bags, and crumple zones. As a result, motorcyclists must take extra precautions to avoid accidents and drive defensively.

One common tactic used by motorcyclists to navigate traffic is lane-splitting, which involves maneuvering between lanes of traffic to get ahead. While this practice was legalized in 2017, it still carries risks, such as the potential for accidents caused by drivers opening their car doors or tossing out debris.

Motorcyclists must also be cautious in inclement weather, as slick roads and poor visibility can increase the likelihood of accidents. Road debris, potholes, and rough surfaces also pose a danger to motorcyclists, who must be vigilant and anticipate potential hazards.

To stay safe on the road, motorcyclists must drive defensively and anticipate potential risks. Defensive driving includes obeying traffic laws, wearing a helmet, and keeping your vehicle in good repair. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, it may be helpful to reach out to a personal injury attorney for guidance and support in recovering losses and moving toward financial security.

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