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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Car and motorcycle accident outdoors.

Motorcycles can be a fun, cost-effective alternative to driving a passenger car. Motorcycles can also be extremely dangerous. Bikers face additional hazards given the added risks and requirements of riding a motorcycle, and when they are involved in an accident, they are more likely to suffer serious injury. Below, we discuss the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, whether caused by the biker or by other drivers on the road. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a Southern California motorcycle crash, call a seasoned Claremont motorcycle accident lawyer for advice and assistance.

Drowsy, Distracted, and Drunk Drivers

The biggest contributor to motorcycle accidents is negligent drivers. Drivers who get behind the wheel while intoxicated or after going too long without sleep, as well as motorists who text while driving, are the biggest hazards motorcyclists and other drivers face. Bikers, too, create additional hazards for themselves and others on the road when they operate after drinking, not sleeping, or while engaging in distracting activities.

Speeding and Aggressive Driving Maneuvers

Speeding remains a leading cause of accidents across all vehicle types. Drivers and bikers who speed have less time to react to sudden stops, lane changes, and other hazards on the road. Passing on the right and other aggressive driving maneuvers can also increase the likelihood of an accident, giving everyone less time to adjust and more hazards to avoid. The greater the speed, the greater the likely injury resulting from a crash.

Inexperienced Riders

Riding a motorcycle takes considerably more skill, training, and attention than driving a modern, automatic transmission car. Bikers must often make split-second adjustments to avoid hazards, account for objects and other drivers, and otherwise maintain control and security on the road. That type of instinctive adjustment takes time to develop. Bikers who ride without a proper license, as well as young riders with limited experience, are significantly more likely to get into a crash.

Inattentive Drivers

Motorcyclists are at their safest when they assume everyone else on the road is an inconsiderate, distracted driver. Many auto drivers fail to check their blind spots or otherwise make periodic checks of their surroundings. Motorcycles are smaller and harder to detect, especially when a driver is not being appropriately cautious. Drivers might make sudden stops, lane changes, or turns without signaling and without giving bikers sufficient time to adjust.

Car Doors

One of the greatest advantages of riding a motorcycle is the ability to skip through heavy traffic. In California, it’s perfectly legal for bikers to ride in-between the lanes of traffic (often called “lane-splitting” or “white-lining”) in order to get past slow or stopped vehicles. If a driver opens their car door, either because they are not paying attention or because they are deliberately trying to catch a motorcycle, they can cause bikers to crash and sustain serious injury.

Inclement Weather

The speed limit posted on any given road is meant to apply under normal conditions: clear weather, dry road, sufficient lighting. If visibility is limited because of rain or other conditions, motorcyclists and drivers must drive more slowly and carefully to account for the limitations. The same consideration applies if the road is icy or wet due to weather or a spill. Bikers and drivers who fail to adjust their behavior to the actual conditions of the drive may be liable for an accident, even if they were following the posted speed limits and staying in their lane.

Poor Road Conditions

Road hazards such as felled tree branches and potholes often give rise to accidents, especially when motorcycles are involved. Motorcycles are significantly more susceptible to potholes and objects on the road, and bikers are much more likely to lose control when they hit an unexpected hazard. If there is a problem with the road itself–such as rampant potholes–then the government body responsible for maintaining the road might be liable for accidents they could have and should have prevented.

Manufacturing Defects

Operating a motorcycle, or any motor vehicle, requires the operator to rely on the safety and security of the vehicle to make split-second moves and decisions. If there is a problem with the bike or car’s construction, the likelihood of an accident is significantly greater. Motorcycles might be designed or built with faulty brakes or handlebars, unresponsive steering, failing engines, or any number of other defects. Cars, trucks, and other vehicles on the road are also commonly subject to recalls for dangerous defects. If the build or design of a vehicle causes a crash, the manufacturer is liable for resulting injuries.

Call an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney at Blasser Law for assistance with a motorcycle crash or other motor vehicle accident in Southern California. The skilled and accomplished Claremont personal injury legal team at Blasser Law is ready to help victims recover after an accident in the San Gabriel Valley or Los Angeles County. Contact our personal injury law office at 877-927-2181.

Blasser Law

445 West Foothill Blvd., Suite 108
Claremont, CA 91711




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