Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Arizona is one of the most popular states for motorcycle riding in the nation. The seasonal weather combined with the little rain received in the state, especially in the desert, can make for great biking conditions. Even in the extreme heat of summer, you are likely to see a few bikers on the roads. Motorcyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities of other drivers when it comes to the roads. Though they are entitled to ride like anyone else, but bikers are often overlooked or ignored by drivers of vehicles, increasing the chances they will be involved in a motorcycle accident.

When a collision occurs, motorcyclists are more likely than other drivers to be injured or killed. Below our experienced Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys discuss the common causes of motorcycle accidents.

Some of the Most Common Reasons for Motorcycle Accidents

In our experience representing victims of motorcycle accidents, we have noticed some common forms of crashes, including the following:

There is a reason it is illegal to drink and drive. Alcohol is a depressant that slows the central nervous system. When drinking, a driver is slower to make decisions and slower to react, increasing the chances of causing an accident or being unable to avoid one.

A large number of accidents involving motorcycles are caused by one driver being under the influence of alcohol. Whether it is the driver of a car or another motorcycle, these drunk drivers place the safety of others on the road in jeopardy when they choose to drive. In fact, in over 24 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in Arizona in 2012, alcohol was a factor.

Failure to Yield:

When one driver ignores the rules of the road, it can cause an accident. This happens too often at intersections with motorcycles where the motorcycle has the right-of-way. When a driver wants to turn left, the driver must first yield to oncoming traffic, even if the traffic is a motorcyclist. A driver can only turn when it is safe to do so and not before traffic clears. Another common failure to yield crash at an intersection happens when a driver wants to turn right on a red light. Here, a driver must wait for cross traffic to clear before beginning a turn. Because drivers of cars often fail to see motorcycles, a driver may begin a right turn when a biker is oncoming, placing the vehicle and the motorcycle in the same place at the same time and causing a crash.

Driving Distracted:

More and more, drivers are admitting to driving while distracted. Whether it is a cell phone in the car, eating a quick meal, or even dealing with kids in the back seat, any distraction places the driver’s attention away from the road and away from where it should be focused. When this happens, crashes that injure motorcyclists are much more likely to occur.

Distraction can also result from an object outside of a vehicle like a billboard, an emergency vehicle, or another accident. Regardless of the distraction, a driver can kill a motorcyclist with only a moment’s lapse in attention, making distraction a serious and deadly cause of motorcycle crashes.

Rear-End Collisions:

Rear-end crashes are the most common collision between cars in the nation. When one car rear-ends another, the accident can be minor or severe. When a motorcycle gets rear-ended, though, the resulting crash is usually significant. Often the motorcyclist gets thrown forward and off of his bike, resulting in a second impact with the ground. Rear-end collisions can result when a driver is following a biker too closely or when a driver fails to notice a motorcyclist slow or stop.


Dooring is a type of accident that mostly affects bicyclists and motorcyclists. It occurs when a vehicle occupant opens a door of the car in an attempt to exit, usually after parking. If the occupant opens the door into a lane of traffic, a motorcyclist is at risk for striking the door and being injured. While it may seem like an innocent mistake, opening a door into a motorcyclist’s path can be a deadly decision and it is the responsibility of a driver to make sure there is no oncoming traffic before allowing anyone to open a door.

Switching Lanes:

When driving on a multi-lane road, the need to switch lanes arises and drivers may move laterally back and forth. To do this safely, though, a driver needs to make sure there is no one in the other lane before beginning the switch. It is easier for motorcycles to hide in a blind spot of a car than it is for a larger vehicle, meaning that drivers need to be extra cautious and to consciously look for motorcycles before changing lanes. When a driver fails to do so, a crash often occurs.

This list includes some of the common types of accidents involving motorcycles but it is not all inclusive. A biker can be hurt or injured in any type of crash and must rely on other drivers to act safely and to prevent accidents.

Where you injured in a motorcycle accident in Arizona?

If you have been hurt while riding a motorcycle, you may have a claim for your damages. The Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are standing by to take your call at (602) 819-5191 today to provide you with a free case consultation or feel free to contact us online. Let us help you recover if another driver has caused an accident that left you injured.