What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

April 14, 2023 | David Abels
What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

People who ride motorcycles often have a bad reputation for being reckless. However, most motorcycles prioritize safety and follow traffic laws. When a crash happens, another driver or party is often to blame. Fault is not always immediately clear without investigation.

If another party is negligent and causes a motorcycle accident and injuries, the injured rider can seek compensation from the responsible parties and their insurers. Determining what - and who - caused your crash is key to getting the full compensation you need to cover your medical expenses and other losses.

The following are some common causes of motorcycle accidents that lead to injury claims. If you suffered injuries and want to know your rights, never wait to seek a free case evaluation from a motorcycle accident attorney

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Driver Negligence

Motorcyclists have the right to use our roads and highways like any other motor vehicle. Unfortunately, too many drivers fail to safely share the roads and hit motorcycles. Whether a driver’s conduct was due to an accidental lapse or intentional recklessness, they should be liable for any injuries and losses they cause.

Below are some of the most common forms of driver negligence that lead to motorcycle crashes. 

Distracted Driving

Motorcycle Accident lawyer in Chicago, Illinois area

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents nationwide. When drivers do not stay fully focused on the road, they are at a higher risk of causing an accident. The consequences of distracted driving can be particularly severe for motorcyclists, as they have little protection in the event of a collision.

One of the main ways that distracted driving causes motorcycle accidents is through inattentiveness. When drivers are not paying close attention to the road, they may fail to see a motorcyclist approaching or fail to notice a turn signal or brake light. This can lead to a collision that the driver might have avoided if they had been paying attention.

Another way that distracted driving can cause motorcycle accidents is through delayed reaction time. If drivers are texting or otherwise distracted, they may not react as quickly to a sudden change in traffic or road conditions. This delay can be life-changing or fatal for a motorcyclist relying on the driver to react in time to avoid a collision.

Finally, distracted driving can also cause a driver to leave their lane and even drift into oncoming traffic. When a driver is not paying attention, they might have to suddenly swerve if they are departing their lane.

Drivers should avoid using their phones, eating or drinking, or engaging in any other activity that can take their attention away from driving. Unfortunately, multitasking is increasingly common among drivers, which leads to more and more motorcycle accidents. 

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving causes many types of traffic crashes, including motorcycle accidents. The influence of drugs or alcohol significantly impairs a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Drugs or alcohol can substantially impair a driver’s judgment. When a driver is under the influence, they may make poor decisions, such as driving too fast, failing to yield to oncoming traffic, or failing to notice a motorcycle in their path. These decisions can lead to preventable crashes and injuries.

Drugs and alcohol can also cause delayed reaction time. Impairment can reduce a driver’s ability to react quickly to changing road conditions or traffic. It can also lead to reckless driving behavior, such as weaving in and out of traffic or failing to stay in their lane.

People should never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If they plan on drinking, they should always designate a sober driver or use a ride-sharing service. Unfortunately, drivers continue to make the irresponsible decision to drive after drinking or using drugs, which puts motorcyclists at serious risk.


Speeding plays a role in a large percentage of accidents on the road. When drivers exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for the conditions, they significantly increase their risk of causing an accident. This can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, as they can get hit by a driver traveling far too fast.

Speeding drivers have less time to notice obstacles and react. They also need more time to slow down or stop due to changing conditions. This combination can result in a devastating crash with a motorcyclist.

Speeding also causes reduced maneuverability. When drivers travel at high speeds, they have less control over their vehicle, making it more difficult to avoid obstacles or navigate sharp turns. Speeding drivers can lose control and collide with nearby motorcyclists.

Speeding can also increase the severity of a collision. When a driver travels at high speeds, the force of impact in a collision can be significantly greater, increasing the risk of serious injury or death for motorcyclists.

Drivers should always obey posted speed limits and drive at a safe speed for road conditions. By driving responsibly and staying alert, we can all help to prevent motorcycle accidents caused by speeding drivers.

Aggressive driving

Aggressive drivers are all too common, and many have particular aggression toward motorcyclists. When a driver displays aggressive driving behavior, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or cutting off other drivers, they significantly increase the risk of causing an accident.

Motorcyclists can suffer severe harm as a result.

  • Tailgating can cause a driver to hit the back of a motorcycle, often sending the rider flying forward over the bars. The motorcyclist might land in the path of the bike and the aggressive driver, causing the vehicles to run over the rider.
  • Cutting off a motorcyclist can cause them to slam on their brakes, and they can lose control and might have to lay their bikes down at high speeds. This can cause crush injuries, road rash burns, and more.
  • Intimidating or harassing a motorcyclist while on the road can distract the rider and cause them to lose control. If an aggressive driver has road rage and follows a motorcyclist off the highway, the motorcyclist is more vulnerable to assaults because they do not have the protection of a car.

Staying calm and patient on the road can help to prevent motorcycle accidents. However, drivers continue to get impatient with traffic and other circumstances, and they might intentionally act recklessly and lead to accidents. 

Failure to Yield

When a driver fails to yield the right of way to a motorcyclist, they significantly increase the risk of causing an accident. Failing to yield can cause a car-motorcycle collision or run the rider off the road.

Failure to yield collisions often happen at intersections. A driver might not notice an oncoming motorcyclist and might turn in front of them. They also might fail to give a turning motorcyclist the right of way. This can cause T-bone collisions that knock a rider off their bike. Drivers might also fail to yield to a motorcyclist who is merging or changing lanes, and they may directly collide with the motorcyclist or sideswipe them.

Knowing when to yield is critical for all drivers to avoid accidents. They must also pay attention to oncoming motorcycles and take accurate precautions so drivers do not turn in front of them. Many drivers forget about yielding and right-of-way rules when it comes to motorcycles.

Not Checking Blind Spots

Failing to check blind spots is a major cause of motorcycle accidents, especially on the highway. When a driver changes lanes and fails to notice a motorcyclist in a blind spot, they can sideswipe the motorcycle and cause the rider to lose control.

Motorcycles can easily be in a larger vehicle’s blind spot, and drivers have the duty to check before making a maneuver. The fact that motorcycles are smaller vehicles does not excuse drivers from carefully checking blind spots using their mirrors or looking over their shoulders before turning or changing lanes.

Drivers who skip these important steps can cause life-altering injuries to motorcyclists, and they should be fully responsible.

The above are, of course, only some examples of driver negligence that can hurt motorcyclists. Drivers who violate any traffic safety laws can put riders at risk, and injured accident victims should never delay in consulting with a motorcycle accident attorney about their rights and options for compensation.

You Can Hold Other Parties Liable for Motorcycle Accidents

While driver negligence often causes crashes, other parties might also share liability for a rider’s accident and injuries. Consider the following.

Dangerous Road Conditions

Dangerous road conditions, such as potholes, gravel, wet or slick surfaces, and uneven surfaces, are also significant causes of motorcycle accidents. These conditions can cause a motorcyclist to lose control, leading to a collision or crash.

Sometimes, these hazards exist because of inadequate road maintenance. The local, state, or even federal transportation department responsible for maintaining that particular highway or street might be liable if they were negligent in inspecting or repairing the road.

Further, a construction crew might leave items on the road or otherwise act negligently when making repairs. In these situations, the construction company might be liable for any resulting injuries if a motorcyclist hits an obstacle.

Bringing claims against government agencies or companies can be quite different from filing insurance claims against individual drivers. You should immediately speak with an attorney if your accident resulted from an unreasonable road hazard. 

Employer Liability

Many people drive as part of their work duties, whether they are commercial truck drivers, delivery drivers, or simply travel from one worksite to another during the work day. If a driver hits a motorcyclist while they are on the job, the biker can hold their employer vicariously liable for the resulting injuries and losses.

You can hold employers liable for the negligent hiring people with a history of dangerous driving. Companies might negligently supervise or retain dangerous drivers, increasing the risks of crashes. They also might fail to maintain work vehicles, and vehicles might malfunction and cause accidents.

An experienced injury lawyer can identify whether an employer might share liability, which can increase the available insurance coverage. This is especially important for motorcyclists with severe and permanent injuries. 

Discuss a Possible Injury Claim With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Gary Annes Attorney for Motorcycle 
 Accident Cases near Chicago
 Gary Annes Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, in Chicago

If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, always seek legal advice from a motorcycle accident lawyer. No matter what you believe caused your crash, you can benefit from having a professional evaluate the situation.

A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options. They can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and determine who was at fault. They can also help you negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and other damages.

When discussing a possible injury claim with a motorcycle accident lawyer, provide them with as much information as possible. This includes details about the accident, any injuries you suffered, and any medical treatment you have received. You should also provide them with information about any insurance policies that may apply, including your own motorcycle insurance policy, as well as any policies of the other driver or drivers involved in the accident.

Your lawyer will use all of this information to determine the strength of your case and to develop a strategy for pursuing compensation. They may also consult with medical experts to understand the full extent of your injuries and the long-term effects they may have on your life. They can then use this information to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies or pursue a personal injury lawsuit in court if necessary.

In addition to helping you pursue compensation for your injuries and other damages, a motorcycle accident lawyer can also provide guidance and support throughout the legal process. They can help you navigate the complex legal system and can provide you with the information and resources you need to make informed decisions about your case.
After a motorcycle accident and injuries, never wait to pursue a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with personal injury law firm in Chicago. Doing so can help reduce your stress, allow you to focus on your physical recovery, and protect your financial future.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

Abels & Annes, P.C.

Address: 100 N LaSalle St #1710,
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (855) 529-2442
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David Abels


David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

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