9 Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

January 26, 2018

The 9 most common types of motorcycle accidents explained and how to avoid them

Freedom on the open road, social gatherings, helping mother nature, and exciting.

These are just a few of the reason people enjoy riding motorcycles and make it their hobby.

Riding can be a extremely fun way to get from point A to point B.

Here are 9 common types of motorcycle accidents to watch out for when you are on your bike.

Motorcycle Accident Categories

  • lane splitting
  • head-on collision
  • hitting stationary objects
  • left-hand turn accidents
  • excessive speed
  • alcohol use
  • road hazards
  • high-performance motorcycles
  • distracted driving

2015 Motorcycle Accident Stats from the National Center of Statistics and Analysis:

  • 88,000 motorcyclists were injury in an accident
  • 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in an accident
  • 54% of motorcycles involved in fatal crashes were due to collisions with motor vehicles in transport
  • 74% of motorcycles involved in motor vehicles traffic crashes were frontal collisions
  • 33% of motorcyclist involved in fatal crashes were speeding
  • 27% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired, higher than any other type of motor vehicle driver
  • 67% of motorcycle fatalities occurred on non-intersection locations

1. Lane Splitting

lane splitting

What is lane splitting?

Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between lanes or rows of slow moving or stopped traffic.

In many countries, lane splitting is common, but it is illegal in most of the United States.

Legal or not, you’ll often see lane splitting in traffic jams.

Motorcyclists can ride on through, whereas regular motor vehicles cannot.

Unfortunately, it often causes accidents since motorists do not anticipate a motorcycle passing their vehicle in traffic.

Often, the distance the motorcyclist is trying to maneuver is narrow and they get within close proximity to other cars.

A door could suddenly open or change lanes, even a hand out a window could cause a motorcyclist to lose control.

2. Head-On Collision

motorcycle head on collision

As you read in the statistics, 74% of motorcycles involved in car traffic accidents where frontal collision. And only 7% were hit from behind.

How does a head-on collision happen?

Head-on accidents happen when a vehicle crosses the center line of a road, or if a vehicle is going down a street the wrong direction.

They also commonly happen in construction zones, 2 lane rural roads, and highway ramps.

3. High-Performance Motorcycles

high performance motorcycle

What classifies as a high-performance motorcycle?

High-performance motorcycles, or sport motorcycles, are optimized for speed, acceleration, braking, and cornering on paved roads.

Due to their ability to travel at excessive speeds, anywhere from 160 mph to over 200 mph, there is a greater risk of a drive losing control.

Motorcyclists involved in a crash on a high-performance bike have a death rate four times higher than those riding a traditional motorcycle.

Only experience riders should take high-performance motorcycles out on the roads.

4. Excessive Speed

excessive speeding on a motorcycle

As mentioned above, 33% of fatal motorcycle accidents involved the driver speeding.

This is significantly higher than other vehicles:

  • 19% for passenger car drivers
  • 15% for light-truck drivers
  • 7% for large-truck drivers

Excessive speeding is not just exceeding a posted speed limit, but can include racing and driving too fast for conditions, such as weather, pavement, and work zones.

5. Alcohol Use

drinking and driving

27% of riders involved in fatal crashes had alcohol impairment, BACs of .08g/dL or higher.

Additionally, 7% of fatally injured riders had lower alcohol levels, BACs of .01 to .07 g/dL.

Whether you are driving a motorcycle, a bike, or a minivan, alcohol and driving don’t mix. Ever.

6. Road Hazardspothole causes accident

Roads hazards are unfortunately common, and numerous.

They can include

  • Potholes
  • Edge breaks – when two traffic lanes are different heights
  • Wet payment
  • Objects on the road
  • Animals
  • Gravel
  • Leaves
  • Expansion joints – connects two sections of road together
  • Open bridge joints – holds sections of a bridge together
  • Slick surfaces – leaves, trolley tracks, crosswalk lines, painted surfaces
  • Standing water
  • Debris

7. Left-Hand Turn Motorcycle Accidents

left turn accident

Since motorcycles are smaller than other motor vehicles, they are often less visible and have a higher risk of not being seen.

Over half of all motorcycle accidents happen when drivers turn left in front of a motorcyclist.

8. Hitting Stationary Objects

motorcycle hits stationary object

Hitting a simple object such as a guard rail, road sign, even a construction cone, can be just as dangerous for a rider as an accident involving a car.

When a motorcyclist hits a fixed object, it is often fatal because the rider is thrown from the bike and/or hits the object.

This can result in serious injury such as compacted spine, spinal cord injuries, and head trauma.

9. Distracted Driving

distracted driving motorcycle accident

Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents in the United States.

It doesn’t just include talking on the phone, but texting, eating, reading, grooming, or even talking to a passenger can cause a distraction.

When it comes to distracted driving, riders need to be attentive to other drivers.

It can just as easily be another motorist’s distracted driving that leads to an accident with a motorcycle.

How to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident

  1. Never drink and drive.
  2. Follow all traffic laws.
  3. If you are riding across state lines, be sure to check each state’s laws pertaining to motorcycles.
  4. Receive proper motorcycle training.
  5. Have your motorcycle regularly inspected.
  6. Practice riding on a closed course before riding on an open road.
  7. Wear protective hear such as a helmet, motorcycle jacket, bright clothing, glasses, and use headlamps to be more visible.
  8. Check the weather.
  9. Avoid distracted driving.
  10. If you are unfamiliar with the roads you are on, take extra precaution around turns and corners.
  11. Pay extra attention when driving through intersections.

No matter what type of vehicle you are driving, safety should always be a top priority while on the roads.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in St. Louis

If you do find yourself in a motorcycle accident, first, go see a doctor, then talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Be sure to take pictures of what happened, and document as much evidence of the wreck as possible.

You want an attorney who fights zealously for you, but also understands what you are going through. If another driver’s negligence leaves you with severe injuries, you deserve compensation.

Donna Frayne, at the Law Office of Donna Clark Frayne, LLC in St. Louis, is a motorcycle driver herself, and understands what you are going through.

She knows that driving a motorcycle can be a dangerous activity, but also understands the passion behind it.

Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer

Donna has more than 20 years of experience representing victims of motorcycle accidents.

We strive to create a stress-free environment where you can discuss your personal injury case and your needs.

We handle all types of claims, from car accidents, to medical malpractice, to workers’ compensation.