5 Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

Many people find it exciting to ride motorcycles. However, this turns out to be a more dangerous form of transportation than most types. In 2017, 5,172 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, with two-wheeled motorcycles accounting for 91% of motorcycles in fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Riders are especially vulnerable in a motorcycle accident.1 To help understand your level of risk when riding a motorcycle, here are some of the most common types of motorcycle accidents.

1. Lane Splitting

When lane splitting, a motorcyclist is riding between lanes and passes between rows of vehicles that may be stopped or moving slowly. It is illegal in most of the U.S. but not in California. While it allows riders to move through when other motor vehicles cannot, lane splitting creates a danger because car drivers don’t expect anyone to pass their vehicle, especially if a motorcycle is in their blind spot. The distance between vehicles is often narrow, bringing motorcycles close to other vehicles and making it hard to navigate, which can easily lead to an accident.

2. Head-on Collision

NHTSA data from 2017 show 76% of motorcycles in two-vehicle crashes were involved in a frontal collision (just 7% were hit from the rear). The results of a head-on collision are often fatal. Motorcyclists may be crushed or thrown from their vehicle and land on a hard surface. Head-on collisions tend to happen when left-turning cars hit a motorcycle, the motorcyclist passes through an intersection, or tries to overtake the car.

3. Left Turn Accidents

In fatal crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle, according to NHTSA’s 2017 data, 42% of crashes involved a vehicle turning left. Left-hand turn collisions often involve riders passing a vehicle or attempting to overtake one, but sometimes occur as the motorcyclist is going straight through an intersection. The reason for the danger is cycles are smaller than cars, so are less visible to drivers who are turning. Those passing vehicles in the same lane are the most vulnerable.

4. Excessive Speed

In 2017, 32% of riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding (per NHTSA data). By contrast, speeding was a factor in only 18% of fatal passenger car crashes. Speeding involves driving faster than the posted speed limit on roads. Riders who engage in racing, drive too fast for certain types of weather and pavement, or don’t slow down in work zones, are also at extreme risk.

5. Alcohol Use

Driving under the influence, or DUI, is often a factor in the common types of motorcycle accidents mentioned above. Riders in fatal crashes, whether they are killed or survive, are more likely to have alcohol impairment than any other type of driver. Intoxication is common because of the social nature of riding a motorcycle. Bikers often go to restaurants, bars, and other local hangouts. It is never a good idea to drink and drive. Distracted driving, or operating a motorcycle while on cellphone, for example, should be avoided as well.

Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani

If you or a loved one has been affected by these and other common motorcycle accidents, contact us to speak to a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer today. Our personal injury law firm specializes in motor vehicle accident law and has represented many clients involved in motorcycle accidents. We are reviewing claims and our attorneys are providing much-needed legal representation during the coronavirus pandemic. To speak with a lawyer and get a free consultation, call (888) 952-2952 today!

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Los Angeles

serving southern california


714 W. Olympic Blvd.
Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90015


(888) 508-5085