There are many different risk factors and causes for motorcycle crashes. Some collision types are unique to motorcyclists. Unfortunately, motorcycle crashes tend to result in serious injuries and fatalities because motorcyclists have little to protect them from the impact. In fact, motorcyclists make up 3% of all road users, but 14% of all traffic-involved fatalities. Clearly, riding a motorcycle involves a certain degree of risk.
However, we hope that some of this risk can be lessened through awareness and education. Whether you’re a motorcyclist or driver, it’s important to understand some of the common dangers riders face every day. By keeping these dangers in mind and working to avoid them, you can help make the roads safer for all users.
Sometimes, a motorcyclist’s choices can increase the likelihood of a crash. It’s well established that the following risky behaviors up a biker’s chances of getting hurt:
As we move on to discuss some of the more common crash scenarios, keep these risk factors in mind. Adding any of the risk factors above could increase a rider’s chances of being seriously injured or killed.
Unexpected bumps, dips, turns, or debris can cause an unsuspecting motorcyclist to crash. Some of these hazards may be only minor nuisances for a car. In fact, many road hazards that could cause trouble for a motorcyclist wouldn’t even register as an issue for the driver of a car.
Here are some examples of road conditions that could pose a threat for a motorcyclist:
There is not always going to be a warning for every hazard. Motorcyclists should stay alert and ride defensively.
Car doors can be a risk for motorcyclists. For example, imagine a driver tries to exit her vehicle while it’s parallel parked on a busy road. If she does not check before opening her door, it could swing into the path of a motorcyclist.
Washington State has a law that requires those exiting a vehicle to check before opening their door into traffic (RCW 46.61.620). Put another way, it’s not just a good idea to use caution when opening doors – it’s the law.
A common crash scenario is when a car makes a left-hand turn, striking a motorcyclist. Intersections are particularly dangerous. It’s not uncommon for a driver to later claim they just didn’t see the motorcyclist.
As drivers, what we expect to watch for are other cars. It takes full attention to really look for all the other road users who may be crossing our path. This includes motorcyclists, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.
Motorcyclists are more likely to have a crash with a fixed object such as a guardrail, light pole, or tree. Of 5,114 fatal crashes that occurred in 2019, 23% involved objects. By comparison, only 16% involved a vehicle.
What could cause a motorcycle to strike a fixed object? There are several possible explanations:
While not as common, motorcycle defects can trigger a crash. This could include defects in the design itself, or a modification made to a bike. Faulty tires can also be dangerous.
As you’ve seen from our list, some crashes causes result from a motorcyclist’s risky behavior or choices. However, there are many times when a motorcyclist is not at fault! If you can prove that someone else was negligent and caused your crash, you could pursue a compensation claim.
Each of these scenarios is different and would require different types of evidence to build a case. We recommend that you call an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can help learn the facts of what happened and guide you through the process.
Our lawyers offer free case evaluations and will only charge you a fee if we’re able to win you a settlement. We understand the unique concerns about motorcycle claims and can take the legal stress off your shoulders. Call us or fill out the short form on our website to get started.
We have written additional content about motorcycle crashes previously: