The Number One Cause of Motorcycle Accidents

Posted on April 25, 2022 at 2:28 PM by The Biker Lawyers

The number one cause of accidents involving motorcycles is human error.

The 5 Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents in Iowa are:

  1. Head-on collisions
  2. The “Lethal Left”
  3. Lane changing
  4. Corner turning
  5. “Dooring”

Read on to learn more (and get your free guide).

How can a Motorcycle Accident Affect Someone’s Life?

Unfortunately, when a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident with a car the person on the motorcycle is liable to suffer the most severe injuries. Though drivers and passengers of cars or trucks are protected by a steel cage around them, many motorcycle riders choose not to wear any protective gear aside from boots, gloves, and (sometimes) a helmet. Their skin is left exposed to any road rash and cuts that may occur in an accident.

Even more serious than road rash are the internal injuries that motorcyclists can sustain in an accident with a car or truck. Some common motorcycle accident personal injuries include

  • Head trauma
  • Broken bones
  • Dislocations
  • Organ damage and more.

Motorcycle riders who have been injured while riding could be incapacitated for months while they recover from their injuries.

5 Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

1. Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions between motorcycles and cars are the most common type of car-motorcycle accident. They are also the deadliest type of collision, where the motorcycle rider is killed almost 90% of the time.

A head-on collision occurs when two vehicles are driving in opposite directions and one of the drivers veers across the centerline of traffic. This is extremely dangerous because it places both vehicles face to face at the time of impact. The higher the speeds involved, the more severe the injuries will be for both parties. This type of accident usually happens when a car fails to yield to oncoming traffic before making a left turn or as a result of driver negligence (drunk, distracted, or otherwise impaired).

Unlike cars, motorcycles do not have any protection around them to shield riders from impacts or injuries. Because of this, even at low speeds, a head-on collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle can be fatal for the motorcyclist.

2. The Lethal Left: Cars Making Left-Hand Turns

A common cause of motorcycle accidents is when a car makes a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle. In many cases, this happens because cars simply do not see motorcycles. Motorcycles are not nearly as tall as cars, nor do they emit the same amount of noise that other vehicles typically make.

The “Lethal Left,” as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calls it, refers to collisions at intersections caused by drivers turning left in front of a motorcyclist traveling in the opposite direction.

When cars turn left, they must first yield to oncoming traffic and then cross any lanes they don’t intend to turn into. As part of this process, drivers of vehicles making left-hand turns must also scan for pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, drivers often fail to notice motorcyclists until it’s too late, either because they are not looking for small vehicles or because the motorcycle is obscured by an object or another vehicle.

When a car meets a motorcyclist at an intersection after making a turn, the results are likely to be fatal.

Since motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, drivers of other vehicles have a tendency to look right through the motorcycle while identifying larger vehicles. This is especially dangerous at intersections, where drivers approaching from the opposite direction may not be looking for motorcycles.

A car can weigh over 4,000 pounds, while a motorcycle can weigh around 800 pounds. This means that a motorcycle is less than 25% of the weight of a car and just 20% of the weight of an SUV. Evasion is next to impossible when you’re struck by a vehicle that weighs more than five times your own, especially when it’s turning left, across your face.

The NHTSA estimates that 75% of all crashes involving cars and bikes have one thing in common: A driver failed to see an approaching motorcycle before making his move into its path.

3. Lane Changing

Another common accident occurs when another vehicle changes lanes into an oncoming motorcycle without yielding properly. Most often this results in sideswiping. While this type of accident may be less catastrophic than others mentioned here, it can still lead to serious injuries and property damage if not handled correctly by both parties involved.

4. Corner Turning Motorcycle Accidents

Corner turning accidents are very common and happen when you turn your motorcycle or car onto an intersecting road or intersection. These can be dangerous because of a couple of reasons.

First, there’s the right-of-way/yield situation. Any time you approach a corner, you have to yield to oncoming vehicles and motorcycles. When they have the right of way, they have the legal right to proceed through the corner without stopping. If you go into that corner while they are coming through, who’s going to win? Yes, it’s them by a long shot.

The second reason these types of accidents are common is due to blind spots in all vehicles including motorcycles. Drivers/riders sometimes don’t see each other until it’s too late or misjudge how fast someone is coming towards them when turning across lanes of traffic. It happens all the time with cars and trucks because of their size and weight. This has a much higher probability of causing injury with a motorcycle than your standard car accident

5. Dooring

The last type we will mention is known as dooring. Dooring occurs when someone opens their car door directly into an oncoming motorcycle’s path without checking if anything was coming up behind them first (a practice known as “looking before you leap”).

When these types of accidents occur, subsequent investigations show that most drivers simply did not look out well enough behind them prior to opening their doors. Image to promote a free pdf guide on Motorcyclist Hand Signals by The Biker LawyersThese drivers were caught off guard by how fast motorcycles can accelerate from 0 to 50 miles per hour in just a few seconds (even faster depending on rider experience level).

When you are on the road, be aware of all the dangers.

When you are on the road, be aware of all the dangers. Watch for blind spots and double-check to make sure it is safe before you proceed.

Avoiding blind spots is especially important when riding a motorcycle because other vehicles may not be able to see you. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, pay attention to the road, and do not pull out until there is enough time and space to do so safely.

Know who to call

If things go wrong on the road, the common motorcycle accident injuries we’ve discussed here are just a fraction of the problems you may have to deal with. Filing insurance claims, dealing with emotional distress, and other long-term issues are a lot to handle. We recommend contacting motorcycle accident attorneys who give a free consultation and specialize in personal injury. Call The Biker Lawyers – we ride with you.


If you liked this article and want to learn more about rider safety, check out next!

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