It is true that motorcycle accidents occur in a number of different ways, but one thing is consistent no matter the cause: motorcyclists face a significantly higher risk of serious injury or death in a collision.
In the event of a crash, bikers and their passengers are about as vulnerable as they can possibly be. After all, motorcycles are not equipped with airbags, seatbelts, or any form of protective barrier in the way that passenger vehicles are.
So while the possible causes of any individual motorcycle accident can be endless, there are a few more common causes that riders and drivers alike should be aware of and prepared for.
Motorcycle Accidents: 10 Common Causing Factors
- Distracted Driving. Driver distraction is a problem no matter the circumstances, but it is an especially deadly form of negligence in the presence of a motorcyclist. It only takes one misstep to trigger a serious injury or fatal motorcycle crash, and being preoccupied behind the wheel is a leading cause.
- Drunk Driving. Driving while under the influence of alcohol can impair the ability to react. Regardless of whether an impaired person is driving a motorcycle, a passenger vehicle, a commercial vehicle, driving drunk jeopardizes the safety of everyone on the road, including the person who is under the influence.
- Drowsy Driving. Driver fatigue does not discriminate and can affect anyone who is dealing with exhaustion and trying to operate a motor vehicle at the same time. Drowsy driving is also a common issue for commercial vehicle drivers who are pushed to their limits when it comes to driving for long periods of time and sacrificing rest.
- Drug-Impaired Driving. One out of three motorcycle accidents reportedly involve a motorcyclist who was under the influence of a controlled substance, including alcohol.
- Roadway Debris. Unsecured loads and roadway debris pose a threat to everyone on the road, but motorcyclists are particularly prone to these accidents. A rider’s balance can easily be thrown off by even the smallest bump in the road, and the consequences can be disastrous.
- Dangerous Roadway Design. Sometimes, the specific design of a roadway or intersection can make it prone to accidents. Proving government liability in these cases is often difficult, but consulting with an experienced attorney early on can increase the chances of a successful resolution.
- Speeding. Research shows that approximately 35 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents involved speeding on behalf of the motorcyclist at the time of the collision. Of course, speeding passenger cars and semi-trucks are just as capable of causing serious damage when driving above the speed limit.
- Traveling Too Fast For Conditions. Speeding is not simply when a driver is traveling above the posted speed limit, but also if they are traveling at a speed that is not safe for the current traffic or weather conditions. Driving a motorcycle 60 miles per hour on rain-slicked roads in Seattle, for example, is a bad idea. The same goes for weaving in and out of traffic congestion.
- Reckless Or Aggressive Driving. Driving in heavy traffic and reacting other drivers’ decision-making can be a challenge, but a line is crossed the second any driver becomes aggressive or reckless with their actions. Unfortunately, reckless driving and road rage are not uncommon in Washington state.
- Blind Spots. Another unique characteristic of motorcycles is that it can be difficult to spot them. Because bikes are smaller regular motor vehicles, visibility often becomes a problem. Drivers should be constantly aware of their surroundings in order to avoid causing a serious motorcycle accident.
Next Steps For Injured Motorcyclists
It is not always easy to determine fault (also referred to in legal terms as liability) and causation immediately following a motorcycle accident, especially in the event that someone involved in the accident is badly injured. Police investigators work diligently to gather all necessary evidence, witness statements, and first-hand accounts of the parties involved during the investigative process, and this process can take time – sometimes several weeks or months – before a final report is issued.
Hiring a personal injury attorney with a successful track record in handling serious motorcycle accident cases can be beneficial in a number of ways. First, there’s the fact that hiring an attorney often results in a better overall settlement even after deducting attorney fees.
Experienced personal injury lawyers also understand how to properly and thoroughly investigate a serious motorcycle accident so that all important evidence and witness testimony is preserved and mistakes are not made in the days and weeks following the accident. Accident victims who are considering hiring a lawyer should consult with one sooner rather than later, as there are strict time limits for pursuing legal claims.
Free Case Review & Legal Consultation
Use the confidential form on this page to contact our office in Seattle or call (206) 727-4000 to have your case reviewed for free by the award-winning legal team at Davis Law Group. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no up-front costs and you owe nothing until your case is successfully resolved.