Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and How an Attorney Can Help

motorcycle accident attorney

If you ride a motorcycle, you likely feel that drivers don’t even notice your existence sometimes. Unfortunately, that’s not an exaggeration. Thanks to selective attention and other phenomena, a driver’s brain quite literally makes them blind to bikes.

The road is an incredibly dangerous place for a motorcyclist. Being on heightened alert at all times is a matter of course, but may not be enough. One small mistake is all it takes to cost you your life.

What are the common causes of motorcycle accidents, and how does a motorcycle accident attorney help you? Prepare before your next ride as we take a deep dive into motorcycle accident causes.

Lane Splitting Accidents

Lane splitting is riding on the divider line between cars. It’s one of the unique joys of being a motorcyclist. You never have to worry about standstill traffic, since you just filter right through it. 

Right out of the gate, though, lane splitting is illegal in most states.

Still, motorcyclists may continue to do this, assuming there is no police car in sight. Even if no one catches them, there’s still plenty of trouble to be had.

Why Lane Splitting Causes Accidents

You can likely imagine why it’s so dangerous. During lane splitting, one of the following could occur: 

  • A driver opens their door
  • A driver makes a sudden lane change
  • You lose control and crash

Remember, drivers quite literally cannot process a motorcycle the same as a car. The only way a vehicle can see you while you are lane splitting is through their rearview mirror. Many drivers fail to check their mirrors before opening doors or changing lanes. 

The risk could also be your riding ability. Though convenient, lane splitting reduces your margin for error. Turn too sharply, and you could easily crash into vehicles alongside you.

Even if the crash doesn’t cause you any injuries, you could land in hot water. Take, for example, if your handlebar scratches the side of a vehicle when you miscalculate while passing close by. 

How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help

Motorcycle accident attorneys can be a boon if you are caught doing illegal lane splitting, such as in Washington. The fine starts at $136, but the consequences could be far worse. There could be a strike on your driving record, jail time, or whatever else the officer is feeling like.

Other places like Arizona allow lane splitting strictly for lane filtering. That is, you cannot pass between vehicles traveling at high speeds. Penalties for making a risky move like that could be steep. 

In either case, your motorcycle accident lawyer can help. They can reduce penalties and plead for less severe consequences for your driving record or jail time. At the very least, they can mitigate the fallout after a weekend collision

Sideswipe Collisions

A sideswipe is when a vehicle hits a motorcyclist from the side while both vehicles travel in the same direction. Sideswipes are quite dangerous, since the vehicle can easily knock you over at speed–or much worse.

What Causes Sideswipe Accidents 

Aside from the natural failure to process motorcyclists, drivers have blind spots. The two most prominent ones are at the sides of the vehicle. In particular, the area that isn’t visible through rearview mirrors.

Sideswipes usually occur in the following situations:

  • A driver makes a sudden lane change 
  • A driver makes a too-short lefthand turn
  • A driver cuts you off while lane-splitting
  • A driver overtakes you on a righthand turn

Sideswipes, as you can see, occur most often during turns. It may not even be because the driver failed to check their blind spot. They may get distracted by their phone and lose track of you.

How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help

A sideswipe may be your fault, but it’s almost always partially the fault of the other party. Again, whether it was a failure to check for blindspots or they got distracted, there was negligence on their part.

Motorcycle accident lawyers can then prove the driver’s poor behavior and vindicate you. Otherwise, you might have a car full of witnesses in collusion against you. Hire a lawyer when all you have is your word against theirs.

Rear-End Accidents

A fender-bender is usually only a minor inconvenience between two cars. At low speeds, it usually only succeeds in denting a bumper and scratching some paint. For a motorcyclist, even lower speeds can crumple your bike–and you along with it.

Rear-end accidents are all too common for a motorcyclist. Not all of them are at low speed, either. If a vehicle slams on the brakes at the last second, that collision could easily put you in the hospital. 

What Causes Rear-End Accidents

Given everything we have discussed up to this point, it’s easy to see why these accidents are so common. It’s a mix of how drivers fail to process motorcyclists and their inattention. Common reasons include the following:

  • A driver doesn’t see you until the last second
  • You are less visible under their high SUV/truck hood
  • They’re distracted

At best, a two-ton vehicle mangles your backend. At worst, it destroys your bike and ejects you off of it into the road.

How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Helps You

Rear-end accidents are open-and-shut cases between two cars. Since colliding with a motorcycle leads to worse outcomes, the judge will be even less forgiving of the driver.

Your accident lawyer can secure the best insurance compensation. You may have medical bills and a bike to fix or replace. Importantly, a lawyer ensures the driver doesn’t get away with it. 

Speeding-Related Accidents

It’s tempting to speed on a bike. Unlike a car, there’s a special thrill that comes with two wheels. You feel the wind whipping past you, and see the ground beneath you flying away.

Many motorcycle owners fall prey to the temptation to push their bikes to its limits. Many buy a motorcycle in the first place to satisfy their craving for adrenaline. Sadly, speeding is far more deadly when riding a bike. 

Causes of Speeding and the Accidents it Leads to

It’s easy to speed on a motorcycle for several reasons:

  • You get caught up in the thrill 
  • You have poor visibility of the speedometer
  • You miscalculate how fast it feels

And, of course, the accidents that occur in the process are devastating:

  • Colliding with another vehicle at high speed 
  • Losing control of the motorcycle
  • Going off-road into a ditch or obstruction
  • Losing control in extreme weather conditions

Speeding is illegal because of how difficult it is to control any vehicle at high speeds. Although motorcycles tend to have good handling, this fact remains the same. 

How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help

Speeding tickets are usually a slap on the wrist. For minor infractions, they amount to points on your license and a fine with a perfunctory court date.

The problem with motorcyclists is that they usually go way over the speed limit. Remember, there’s a special temptation to go fast that cyclists succumb to. Especially when it’s easier to weave around traffic.

At a certain speed, the infraction becomes criminal. Criminal speeding could be much more than a fine; it could land you in jail. Even without jail time, you’ve got a tricky case that requires a lawyer.

Impaired Driving Accidents

One would assume that anyone would think twice about riding a motorcycle while under the influence. Sadly, after a couple of drinks, you’ll likely see no difference between getting on a bike or behind the wheel. 

Motorcycles take more skill and precision handling than cars. It comes as no surprise that impaired motorcyclists have double the likelihood of getting into an accident compared to car drivers.

Causes of Impaired Driving Accidents 

Impairment from alcohol or other substances severely limits your perception. You lose focus, lack critical thinking skills, and suffer slower reaction times.

DUI accidents often involve the following:

  • Reckless driving that endangers others
  • Easily-avoided collisions
  • High-speed collisions with vehicles
  • High-speed collisions with obstacles
  • Collisions with pedestrians 

Without alcohol, your reaction time or logical reasoning might save you in these situations. With it, all of that goes out the window. 

How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Helps You 

DUIs are not a laughing matter. A DUI doesn’t just look terrible on your record or risk the lives of others. It can put you in prison, or at the very least have life-altering consequences.

Fighting a DUI case alone is a bad, bad idea. You more or less have to accept the judge’s verdict.

With a lawyer, there is plenty of minutia and evidence to dispute. It’s more likely you’ll get reduced charges–or have them thrown out altogether.

Get Legal Assistance at Sweet Lawyers

Motorcycles are fun to ride but come with a ton of caveats. They are more prone to accidents–especially the extreme sort that could end up deadly. It’s not enough to just be careful; you may need a motorcycle accident attorney in certain situations to protect you.

Sweet Lawyers deal with motorcycle accidents all the time. Rest assured, we get the best outcomes for our clients. Request a free case evaluation here to obtain justice.

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