How Do Many Motorcycle Crashes Happen?

Female motorcyclist driving

If you ride a motorcycle, understanding the causes of motorcycle accidents is essential to your safety on your bike. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can become deadly quickly. And while some of these accidents are unavoidable, remaining vigilant and aware while you ride could help you prevent a fatal crash. 

If you’re wondering, “How do many motorcycle crashes happen?” read on to learn the most common causes of motorcycle crashes and tips to avoid these accidents. 

Common Cause #1: Left-Turning Vehicles

Motorcycle accidents often occur when vehicles turn left in front of oncoming motorcyclists, typically at stoplight intersections. 

Drivers often have to make quick decisions when they pull into an intersection and attempt to turn left in front of oncoming vehicles. Unfortunately, drivers sometimes think they have enough time to turn, failing to see a motorcycle coming their way. As a result, the bikes strike their vehicles at high speeds, resulting in a severe crash. 

How To Avoid: Left-turning accidents often occur when drivers fail to notice motorcyclists. As a result, one way to avoid these accidents is to increase your visibility on the road. 

We recommend wearing bright colors and reflective clothing while riding to improve your visibility. You should also always act predictably on your bike so that other drivers can anticipate your actions. 

Finally, we recommend approaching intersections with caution. Even if your light is green, taking your foot off the gas for a few seconds can give a left-turning driver more time to notice you before turning. 

Common Cause #2: Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions are also some of the most common motorcycle accident causes. Unfortunately, these accidents can often be fatal. 

Head-on collisions typically occur when one driver moves left of center and enters the lane of an oncoming driver. Because motorcycles are smaller and less noticeable than passenger vehicles, some drivers may fail to notice an oncoming motorcyclist when attempting to pass another driver on a one-lane road. 

How To Avoid: You can take a few steps to avoid a head-on collision on your bike. The National Safety Council recommends the “Four Rs” to prevent head-on collisions:

  • Read the road ahead: Remain aware of the traffic in front of you throughout your ride.
  • Drive to the right: Stay within the right-hand lane or on the right side of the outermost lane whenever possible.
  • Reduce your speed: If you notice another vehicle driving erratically, reduce your speed until you are safely past them.
  • Ride off the road: If a driver is coming toward you, the safest option may be to drive off the road to avoid the collision.  

Common Cause #3: Lane Switching or Lane Splitting

Motorcycle accidents often occur when a car merges into another lane without noticing a motorcyclist in their blind spot. Because motorcyclists take up less space than passenger vehicles, they can be easy to overlook. 

However, crashes also occur when motorcyclists lane-split or drive next to other vehicles within the same lane. While lane splitting is legal in some states, it is not always safe. 

How To Avoid: First, we recommend staying out of other drivers’ blind spots as much as possible. You may be in a driver’s blind spot when your front tire is aligned with the driver’s back tire or rear door. We recommend increasing or lowering your speed slightly to maintain more distance between yourself and the vehicles on either side of you. 

Additionally, we recommend against lane splitting. Riding predictably is one of the most important ways to avoid an accident, and many drivers would not expect you to split lanes. 

Now that you know the answer to “How do many motorcycle crashes happen?” you can begin taking steps to avoid these scenarios. However, sometimes crashes are unavoidable. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact our Law Tigers team today at 1-888-863-7216 to schedule a free case evaluation.