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What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

July 1, 2021 Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are much more likely to be injured or killed in an accident than those in passenger vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 84,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2019. Because of the high risk of injury, it is critical to know the most common causes of motorcycle accidents to protect yourself and others on the road.

Riding Under the Influence 

It is very dangerous to ride a motorcycle while intoxicated, as it impairs the senses. Alcohol and drugs can affect a rider’s judgment, reaction time, balance, and the coordination required to shift gears. In 2019 motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than drivers of other motor vehicle types. It is not just being above the legal limit of .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) that riders must avoid, as having a BAC as little as .05% can increase the likelihood of being in an accident by 40%.


Speeding not only increases the risk of an accident but also the potential for injuries to be severe. Higher speeds give riders less time to react, which can cause them to lose control of their bike. Riders are more likely to speed while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, making it a deadly combination. Following speed limits is crucial to maintaining both your safety and the safety of others.

Head-On Collisions

A head-on accident occurs when the front end of a motorcycle collides with the front end of another vehicle. There are multiple scenarios where a head-on collision can occur, for example:

  • A vehicle veers into the opposite lane and collides with oncoming traffic.
  • The initial vehicle gets hit by another vehicle, causing it to crash into an oncoming vehicle.
  • The driver is distracted or impaired, causing the vehicle to drift into the opposite lane.
  • A risky overtaking maneuver, especially on blind curves.

This type of accident is one of the worst in terms of how dangerous they are, due to the amount of force involved and the fact that passenger cars weigh well over four times more than the average motorcycle.

Blind Spots

When a vehicle fails to notice a motorcycle in its blind spots and makes an unsafe lane change or turn, it can be deadly for the motorcyclist. Because motorcycles are much smaller, other drivers also tend to misjudge their distance and speed then cause an accident by turning left into their path.

Roadway Hazards and Fixed Objects

Motorcyclists are much more susceptible to the elements. Uneven pavement, potholes, road debris, and wet pavement can all contribute to a severe collision. It’s common for heavily-used city roads to be in poor conditions, and even construction work and resurfacing efforts can be detrimental to a motorcyclist.

If your or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Call (619) 238-1811 and speak to a highly skilled San Diego Motorcycle Accident Attorney in a free consultation today