Motorcycle crashes are some of the deadliest and most dangerous that someone can be involved in. Fortunately, they aren’t rare either. Understanding the primary causes of motorcycle crashes is key to enjoying your motorcycle safely and knowing whether you have grounds for a lawsuit if you or a loved one has been involved in such a crash.
What Are The Top Causes Of Motorcycle Crashes?
Motorcycle crashes are incredibly dangerous and even deadly. According to a 2019 National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration report, over half of 5,100 fatal motorcycle accidents included some other moving vehicle, like a car or truck.
Motorcycle crashes are also particularly deadly in New York. According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, (162) motorcycle riders died on New York roads per year between the years 2017 and 2021. (200) motorcyclists died in 2021 alone. Even though only 2% of registered vehicles in the Big Apple are motorcycles, they are involved in 14% of traffic fatalities, and most crashes involve both a motorcyclist and another motor vehicle that is at least partially at fault for the crash.
Given these facts, it’s important to know the primary causes of motorcycle crashes. Note: The majority of crashes cannot be attributed to a single cause; rather, they typically arise from a combination of factors and errors that culminate in hazardous and potentially fatal outcomes, much like elevator accidents.
Collisions are some of the most common and potentially dangerous causes of motorcycle crashes and injuries. That’s because motorcycle riders are much less protected compared to the occupants of other vehicles.
When a motorcycle impacts another vehicle, the motorcyclist is heavily vulnerable to severe injuries and even death. Motorcycles are also much lighter and smaller compared to cars, so any collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles often have more severe and physically dangerous results.
Note: Even minor collisions, such as a low-speed impact with another moving vehicle, have the potential to destabilize a motorcycle and result in significant injuries for its rider.
Left-Hand Turns By Cars
While any unexpected turn can be deadly, left-hand turns by cars are especially dangerous in terms of motorcycle crash probability. Nearly half of all fatal crashes that involve a car and a motorcycle also involve a car turning left at the time of the crash.
When a car turns left, it may accidentally strike passing or incoming motorcycles in intersections. Cars can make erroneous or mistimed left-hand turns due to driver distractions, speeding, low disability, and more. This is true even though right-of-way laws are straightforward in that drivers who turn left have to yield to oncoming traffic. As such, if you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash due to a left-hand turn, you may have grounds for a successful lawsuit.
Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Motorcycle lane splitting is a dangerous behavior that can also lead to frequent crashes. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle goes between a line of slow-moving or stopped automobiles. It may also be called lane filtering or lane sharing.
In any case, lane splitting is not allowed in most cases, and it’s a common cause of many motorcycle crashes because cars don’t expect a vehicle to pass them while they are in slow traffic or stopped traffic. Even worse, there’s practically no room for a motorcycle to maneuver as it moves between stopped or slowed vehicles.
Unwise Riding Behaviors
On top of the above causes, reckless motorcycle-riding behaviors may also lead to motorcycle crashes. These can include:
- Alcohol or other drug use. Riding a motorcycle while intoxicated is criminal and very dangerous, and approximately 30% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes throughout 2019 were alcohol-impaired.
- Speeding. Many motorcyclists may wish to go very fast while on their bikes, but this can lead to serious incidents and injuries.
- Riding a motorcycle while not wearing a helmet or other protective gear. Many motorcyclists don’t wear helmets or protective leathers, so if they are involved in crashes, they can suffer more severe injuries than they might otherwise.
In this way, operating a motorcycle recklessly may increase your chances of becoming seriously injured, similar to how driving a car recklessly or irresponsibly can also lead to crashes. If you are partially responsible for your motorcycle crash, you may receive a lower payout than you expect, even if your lawsuit is successful.
Road hazards may further cause motorcycle crashes. These can include gravel on the pavement, railway tracks, uneven road surfaces, potholes, ice, and beyond.
In any case, a motorcycle moving at a fast enough speed may not allow a rider to move their vehicle fast enough to avoid an obstacle or hazard. If they impact the hazard, they could go out of control or crash.
What Are Additional Common Causes Of Motorcycle Crashes?
In addition to the above primary causes of motorcycle crashes, additional causes or root origins may contribute to motorcycle crash statistics. These include but are not limited to:
- Car doors opening unexpectedly, which can happen frequently in cramped metropolitan streets. For instance, a motorcyclist may drive past a parked car only for the car’s door to open without warning, causing the motorcyclist to hit the door.
- Sudden stops from the vehicle in front of the motorcyclist, which can happen on fast-moving highways.
- Bad weather and seasonal hazards. Riding a motorcycle in rainy or snowy weather is never ideal, nor is riding a motorcycle in foggy weather.
All of these causes can contribute to very dangerous motorcycle riding scenarios and environments. Inexperienced motorcyclists may be at a higher risk of serious injuries and damages.
What Are Common Injuries From Motorcycle Crashes?
Because motorcycles are so exposed compared to other motor vehicles, their occupants often suffer severe injuries. Some of the most common injuries from motorcycle crashes include:
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal injuries, including partial and total paralysis
Many of the most serious injuries from motorcycle crashes may incur high medical bills and debts. Due to this fact, injured motorcyclists may have little choice but to sue the at-fault party for a motorcycle crash in order to recoup their costs and acquire compensation to cover medical expenses.
How Do You File A Claim For A Motorcycle Crash?
Generally, New York does not allow you to file a claim against an at-fault driver in an auto crash or motorcycle crash. New York is a no-fault state, which means the courts normally order that both drivers’ insurance companies take care of any payments or fees associated with the crash.
That said, there are some circumstances in which you may still qualify to file a lawsuit against an at-fault party, like an inattentive driver. If your injuries are excessively severe, debilitating, or disfiguring, you could have grounds for a successful lawsuit. Moreover, in the event that the driver at fault can be definitively proven to have acted with malicious intent or exhibited gross negligence, you may still have valid grounds to pursue a lawsuit against them, irrespective of the severity of your injuries.
That said, the only way to know whether you have grounds for a lawsuit is to contact knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorneys. The right law firm can provide a wide range of assistance in your case, including but not limited:
- Gathering evidence on your behalf while you recover from medical treatments for your injuries
- Speaking to insurance companies, like the other driver or party’s insurance company in a given motorcycle crash
- Providing sound legal counsel so you understand your legal options and the likelihood of filing a successful lawsuit
- Representing you in court if necessary, which can be highly critical in proving that you are entitled to compensation or damages for your medical bills
With that in mind, you should speak to Schwartzapfel Lawyers right away at 1-516-342-2200. Our experienced attorneys will know exactly what to do for your motorcycle crash case, and we can help you determine whether a lawsuit is the right course of action for your family and your needs.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
In the end, motorcycle crashes can be caused by many of the same root causes as auto crashes (e.g., distracted driving, driving under the influence, general unsafe driving practices, etc.). Still, you should know who to contact in the event that you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle crash and requires litigation assistance.
To this end, Schwartzapfel Lawyers’ knowledgeable motorcycle crash attorneys can gather evidence for you, help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, and/or defend you from accusations of fault.
Contact us today online or at 1-516-342-2200 to save yourself miles of headache, heartache, and financial strain down the road. Don’t wait! Your financial future is too important to leave to chance. Instead, act now and allow Schwartzapfel Lawyers the honor and privilege of fighting for you™ every step of the way!
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!