Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Why the Accident Was Not Your Fault
It was not your fault. People operating or riding motorcycles are entitled to the same respect, safety, and right of way under the law as others have while sharing a roadway. You are not presumed to have done anything wrong or act negligently by the fact that you are operating or riding motorcycle. Motorcyclists, and their passengers are given the same protection under the law as any other driver of a car, truck, bus, motorcycle, or bicycle rider from the acts of negligence and careless driving of another motorist.
Even though there are far fewer motorcycle crashes than other types of traffic accidents each year – because far fewer motorcycles are on the road – motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die than passenger car occupants. When motorcyclists are not killed in these accidents, they often suffer serious and life-altering injuries. This is largely due to the fact that they lack the protection that occupants of passenger vehicles have.
We know that for many, riding a motorcycle isn’t just a hobby or a mode of transportation, but a way of life. When someone else’s negligence causes a serious accident, this way of life can be threatened. What’s worse is that the other party might try to blame you for the accident, potentially leaving you to pay for your medical bills, repairs or replacement of your bike, and other losses.
Motorcyclists have every right to share the road with passenger cars and trucks and large commercial vehicles. Bikers deserve respect and adequate attention and care. If a negligent motorist, trucking company, municipal entity, or another party causes you harm, you have the right to pursue an injury claim to seek compensation for your losses.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t wait to get the qualified legal help you need. Contact the experienced motorcycle accident law firm of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon to speak with a skilled trial attorney about your case. We are ready to discuss your case with you and how we can pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
One of the most common factors in motorcycle accidents is speeding – on the part of the motorcyclist, the other driver, or both. A disproportionate number of motorcycle accidents involve high-performance motorcycles, which can reach speeds of 160 mph or more.
When motorists speed, it becomes more difficult to handle the vehicle, make emergency maneuvers, and brake quickly. Speeding is also usually responsible for more severe injuries because the greater the combined speed of both vehicles, the greater the impact of the collision.
A rear-end collision occurs when a vehicle strikes the back of another. This type of accident is often caused by distracted driving or failure to leave enough distance between vehicles. Even low-speed rear-end collisions can result in tragic consequences for motorcyclists who may be severely injured upon impact and thrown from their bike.
Left-Hand Turns in Front of Oncoming Motorcycle
One of the most common causes of serious injury accidents occurs when another vehicle turns left in front of an oncoming motorcycle. This type of collision is often caused by:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Misjudging the distance between the turning vehicle and the oncoming motorcyclist
- Failure to look for oncoming motorcycles
In these collisions, the driver who was turning is often found to be at fault for the accident because they didn’t follow right-of-way rules. In some situations, the motorist traveling straight may be at fault for the accident if they were speeding, ran a red light, or violated another traffic law.
Failure to Yield Right-of-Way
Accidents often occur when negligent drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to motorcycles, either because they do not see the motorcyclist or because they are intentionally violating traffic rules. For example, a passenger vehicle driver may turn in front of a motorcyclist, causing a crash to occur. When this type of accident occurs, the result is often a head-on collision, which is the deadliest type of motorcycle accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Many serious or fatal injury accidents are caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Intoxicated drivers often experience impaired judgment, blurred vision, difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle, and other impediments to safe driving.
Signs that a driver may be drunk include:
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Sudden braking or accelerating
- Driving without lights turned on in the dark
- Not signaling before switching lanes or turning
- Driving the wrong way
- Tailgating other vehicles
Intoxicated driving is negligent driving, plain and simple. If an impaired driver hit you and caused a serious motorcycle crash, they should be held accountable for their poor decision-making.
Drivers Not Sharing the Road
All motorists have a basic responsibility to share the road with others. Unfortunately, some people think they have more right to the road than anyone else, and this is often the case when driving near motorcycles.
Just because motorcycles are smaller doesn’t mean that other motorists don’t have to respect their space. Some negligent or distracted drivers may fail to look for motorcyclists on the road. Others might put motorcyclists in danger by tailgating, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, or otherwise driving aggressively.
If a driver fails to share the road with all other motorists – including those riding motorcycles – they could easily cause a devastating crash.
Distracted driving is another common cause of motorcycle accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving accounted for the death of more than 2,800 people and injuries to another 400,000 people in a single recent year. However, these numbers are widely believed to be underreported due to motorists not wanting to take responsibility for their actions.
Distracted driving is commonly grouped into one or more of the following types of distractions:
- Cognitive distraction – A cognitive distraction is one that takes your mind off the task of driving, such as talking to passengers or daydreaming while driving.
- Visual distraction – A visual distraction is one that takes your eyes off of the roadway, such as looking at a GPS unit or a text message.
- Manual distraction – A manual distraction is one that takes your hands off the steering wheel, such as eating or fiddling with dials in a vehicle while driving.
Some types of distractions meet all three of these definitions, such as texting while driving. Any distraction can increase the risk of an accident occurring.
A “dooring” accident occurs when a vehicle’s occupant (either the driver or a passenger) opens a door into the motorcyclist’s lane without looking. In far-too-many instances, this happens before the motorcyclist has time to react, forcing them to strike the door.
These accidents can result in the motorcyclist being thrown from their bike, and often into other lanes of traffic. Motorcycle riders can be severely hurt or killed if people do not first look for them before opening their doors to exit the vehicle.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Because motorcycles are less stable vehicles than four-wheeled passenger vehicles, any variance in the height or texture of the roadway can pose a danger to riders. Some common road hazards that could cause serious injury crashes include:
- Debris on the roadway
- Uneven heights between lanes
- Cracked or crumbling pavement
Motorcyclists can also lose control of their vehicle when traffic signs warning of dangers or sharp curves are not in place or are covered by overgrown trees or bushes. Motorcyclists may be more susceptible to accidents caused by slick roads due to rain, sleet, ice, or oil spills.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Motorcycle accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, back injuries, road rash, and more. These injuries can have a lasting impact on your life, and in the worst cases could result in permanent disability or death.
You may be able to recover compensation for the medical expenses, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more if you were hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. If this has happened to you, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from Davis, Saperstein & Salomon in New Jersey can help.
Our trial attorneys have successfully recovered sizeable verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, including multimillion-dollar awards. Do not hesitate to reach out to our New York and New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers for help with your claim. Consultations are 100% free and confidential. We represent motorcycle accident victims on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you won’t have to pay us anything unless and until we recover compensation for you.
Don’t let this accident leave you struggling to rebuild your life. Contact us today to discuss how we can pursue the full compensation you’re entitled to.