Motorcycles are exhilarating, efficient, and fun. At Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®, with our long history of riding, we understand that better than most law firms. However, we also have to acknowledge that motorcycles are also more hazardous than other motor vehicles. When motorcyclists get involved in collisions, they are at a far greater risk than other motorists. Motorcycles are smaller and less protected from crashes than cars and trucks. Even with safety gear like motorcycle helmets, motorcyclists are five times likelier than passenger car occupants to be injured in a crash. Worse, they are twenty-seven times likelier to be killed. It’s vital that motorcyclists are attentive to possible causes of accidents. To facilitate greater awareness, we have put together this article to help our fellow motorcyclists be attentive to the risks.

Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

The list below comprises the 10 most common causes of motorcycle crashes.

  1. Unsafe lane changes.Drivers will often neglect to check their blind spots or signal when they are changing lanes. This is a sadly common cause of accidents involving motorcycles.
  2. Car doors. When a driver or passenger opens the door of their parked vehicle, they are often looking out for cars but not motorcycles. Often, a car door suddenly flung open in the path of an oncoming motorcycle can be unavoidable for the motorcyclist.
  3. Speeding.All types of auto accidents feature speeding as a leading cause. Driving over the speed limit means that a vehicle’s chance of getting into an accident is far greater, as the reaction time necessary to safely respond to a hazard gets shorter.
  4. Driving under the influence. Despite numerous PSAs and awareness campaigns, people still ride motorcycles when drunk or otherwise incapable. Anyone found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can potentially face both civil and criminal liability.
  5. Lane splitting.Driving between two lanes of traffic is also referred to as lane splitting. It’s dangerous, especially for less experienced riders. Some jurisdictions actually forbid it because of this.
  6. Sudden stops.Rear-end accidents caused as a result of following too closely or abrupt stops can cause motorcyclists severe injury. Overapplication of the front brake in response to a sudden obstruction can cause unseating, which  at high speeds can be deadly.
  7. Inexperienced drivers.Whether they’re behind the wheel or on the bike, inexperienced drivers are the likeliest to make unsafe or poorly judged moves on the road.
  8. Left turn accidents.It can be difficult to judge distance while making left turns. There are also complications caused by failures to correctly observe the right of way.
  9. Dangerous road conditions.Many riders can be injured in a motorcycle accident that resulted from them losing control of their vehicle due to potholes, debris, lack of appropriate signage, or adverse weather conditions.
  10. Motorcycle defects. If a poorly designed or manufactured motorcycle part fails in motion, and an accident occurs as a result, the manufacturer can be held liable for injuries or deaths caused.

Common Motorcycle Crashes and How to Avoid Them

If you want to know more about these common causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them, read on.

Regarding unsafe lane changes, there isn’t a lot that motorcyclists can do to protect themselves from these incidents. It’s hard to check whether a driver has seen you or not. Unfortunately, the safest way to conduct yourself as a motorcyclist is to assume the worst of every motorist on the road. If you are prepared to evade a car in the case of a sudden unsafe lane change, you may avoid these types of accidents. The same principle applies for car doors. When you are passing parked cars or stopped traffic, a constant level of readiness for the eventuality of someone carelessly opening a door will mean your reaction time will be quicker. This policy also holds up when accounting for inexperienced drivers and left turn accidents. Leave margin for error due to inexperience or oversight when it comes to left turns, and you can afford yourself a little more protection.

Speeding, at least, is an easy problem to avoid. Observe the speed of traffic, and keep a safe distance from the vehicle(s) in front of you. Not only will this make your journey safer, it will give you more time to react to the inconsiderate motorist speeding near you. Similarly, driving under the influence can be avoided by observing basic rules about safety, and keeping your distance from other drivers, especially those who appear to be driving erratically. Anticipating sudden stops is another issue related to relative speed. It is both safer and easier to stop suddenly with a lower cruising speed. Lane splitting is another issue that is more down to the individual motorcyclist. There are certainly situations in which it is safer than others, for example lane splitting during a wait at a red light as opposed to riding between an active traffic jam on the freeway. Motorists’ familiarity with motorcyclists is also an important factor. In areas where motorcycles are more common, other highway users are likelier to anticipate lane splitting. It’s important to bear in mind that riders may be held liable depending on the jurisdiction, or even something as arbitrary as the police officer or judge’s opinion on lane splitting. Lastly, while road conditions are sometimes unavoidable, in the case of poorly maintained or signposted roads, the negative effect of weather conditions can be ameliorated by a more conservative riding style. You’d think it would make sense to all motorcyclists to follow this rule of thumb. The fact of the matter is, approximately half of all accidents involving a single motorcycle are the result of either speeding or alcohol use. This figure does not differ hugely from the figures for single vehicle accidents not involving motorcycles. However, as previously established, accidents of any kind are invariably more dangerous for motorcyclists than other vehicle users. Don’t leave yourself open to personal injury when it can be avoided with common sense and caution.

Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® Knows Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycle crashes can destroy your life, even if you (as is likelier) survive the crash. Injuries, medical bills, loss of earnings: a few seconds can cost you hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. When it comes to establishing liability and seeking compensation to try and put your life back together, you want to make sure that you have the best attorneys in the business fighting your corner. You don’t want some ten-a-penny ambulance chaser, you want a specialist motorcycle accident attorney. Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® have a long and illustrious pedigree. Our founder Russ Brown was the original motorcycle lawyer who rides. He not only specialized in the field of motorcycle accident injury— he invented it. Over the last four decades, we have built on his sterling example of tackling cases with leadership, personalized attention, and unmatched experience. Today, we continue Russ Brown’s work, not only working as personal injury litigators, but providing our expertise as consulting motorcycle experts for many of the country’s finest attorneys. We have delivered successful results for all manner of cases in the past, no matter how negative the situation. Bad police reports, or issues with license, helmet, insurance, even toxicology issues do not mean your case is hopeless. We achieve success in 98% of all retained cases. When you have an accident, call us for a free consultation on 1-800-424-5377. It can be the difference between financial ruin and a substantial payout for you and your family.