What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California?

There’s no greater feeling than getting on your bike and heading out on the open road. As an experienced motorcycle rider, you take a lot of precautions to ensure your safety. Still, motorcycle fatalities are on the rise in California, so you need to be extra vigilant when you’re on the road.

Are you wondering exactly what you should be looking out for to stay safe on your rides? We’ve got you covered. Read on for some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

Lane Splitting

California traffic is no joke, and sitting on the 405 during rush hour is no fun when you’re on a motorcycle. California laws allow motorcyclists to practice lane splitting when they can safely do it to avoid traffic.

If you’re not familiar, lane splitting is a practice of driving between two rows of traffic that are stopped or moving slowly. Many states have made this practice illegal because of the safety risks. Accidents occur because of the reduced amount of space you have to operate your motorcycle and because many drivers don’t expect a motorcycle to pass them during stop-and-go traffic.

If you’re comfortable with lane splitting, you don’t have to stop. Just remember to brush up on your riding skills. In addition, you should brush up on lane splitting laws if you plan to ride out of state.

Left-Hand Turns

Left-hand turns might seem innocuous, but when you’re on a motorcycle, they can result in a serious accident, especially when it is a car that is making the left-hand turn.

Left-hand turn accidents occur when a car is turning and a motorcyclist is going straight. The car strikes the motorcycle at a perpendicular angle rather than head-on. While left-hand turns are risky for all types of motor vehicles, motorcyclists are at a higher risk because of their smaller size and lack of visibility.

Take extra precautions when you’re going through all intersections, but be especially cautious when going through one without protected turn signals.

Driving Under the Influence

Everyone knows that driving under the influence is a dangerous thing for everyone out on the road. Motorcyclists are no exception. In fact, intoxicated driving is especially dangerous for motorcyclists.

Unfortunately, the risk associated with drinking and driving has not changed the fact that drunk driving is one of the most common reasons for all types of motor vehicle accidents. Drinking and getting behind the wheel or on your bike reduces your ability to respond to risks and it makes it more difficult for you to recognize risks altogether.

If you’ve been drinking, don’t get on your bike until you are sober. If you are on the road and spot a drunk driver, increase the amount of distance between you and the vehicle. When you have the opportunity to pull over, call local law enforcement to notify them of the risk. 


There are a lot of factors that contribute to a motorcycle accident, and speed is a big one. 

Speeding not only increases the likelihood that an accident will occur, but it also increases the severity of the injuries. Speeding reduces the amount of time you and other drivers have to react in order to avoid a collision. In addition, the faster you are going, the harder the impact.

Think about it like this, if you gently toss a baseball at your window, it probably won’t break. On the other hand, if you get a Major League Baseball pitcher to throw a 100 mph fastball at the window, your window will be toast.

Sure, flying down the highway with the wind on your face feels great, but getting into an accident because of the speed you were driving doesn’t feel so good. In fact, it can be deadly. 

Distracted Driving

It’s super easy for drivers to get distracted these days, especially in stop-and-go traffic.

Between texting, social media, phone calls, and navigation apps, people on the road have a lot on their minds. Sure, they think they might be able to check their texts quickly without losing control of their car, but an accident can happen in seconds. This is what makes distracted driving so dangerous.

As a motorcycle rider, you need to be on alert at all times, even when other vehicles are not. If you see a driver with a phone in their hand or demonstrating signs of distraction, then it’s important for you to keep your distance from them.

Road Conditions

Caltrans does its best to keep California’s roads in tip-top shape, but even their most diligent efforts can’t prevent 100 percent of the hazardous road conditions in the state.

Happening upon fragments of a blown-out tire or hitting a pothole can really ruin your ride. Staying vigilant and riding at safe speeds can help you avoid hazardous road conditions before they cause you to get in an accident. 

If you’ve been in an accident because of poorly maintained roads, speak to an attorney about your options for seeking compensation from governmental entities.


Getting rear-ended while you’re in a car never any fun. On the other hand, getting rear-ended while you’re out on a ride might lead to a fatal accident.

California is famous for its traffic, but sitting in traffic is no time to let your guard down. Always keep an eye on what’s going on around you and make sure that your brake lights are functioning on your motorcycle. It can mean the difference between life and death.

Watch Out for These Causes of Motorcycle Accidents!

It’s not enough these days to simply be a skilled motorcycle rider. You also need to be on the lookout for risks and hazardous drivers. Staying familiar with common causes of motorcycle accidents can help you keep safe and enjoy your ride!

Staying alert and on the lookout for hazardous conditions and drivers is great, but accidents still happen to even the most experienced motorcycle riders. If you’ve recently found yourself a party to a motorcycle accident, then you’re probably wondering what you should do to recover. Contact Sweet Lawyers today to learn how we can help you!


Related Posts

motorcycle accident lawyer

13 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Getting involved in an accident with another vehicle while you’re on a motorcycle is a scary experience. You don’t have the same protections that an automobile has. As a motorcyclist, you are more exposed to the elements. Did you know that over 80,000 motorcycle accidents happen each year, and most of those accidents either end […]

personal injury lawyer

12 Reasons To Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Phoenix

When you get involved in an accident with another driver or some other negligent party, you have to reach out to their insurance company to settle your damages. This includes any damages to your personal property and your injuries. Did you know that the average settlement amount for an auto accident is about $15,000? Depending […]

Flamingo Road SUV-Motorcycle Collision Injures 24-Year-Old Las Vegas Man [Las Vegas, NV]

7 Tips for Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Phoenix, AZ

Although motorcycles only make up 3% of vehicles on the road, 14% of accidents involve motorcyclists. And unlike many people assume, the fault doesn’t always lie with the rider.  The majority of motorcycle accidents also involve another car or a truck. The reality is that many drivers don’t notice motorcycles on the road before it’s […]

attorney consultation

Here’s What to Know About Your Coming Attorney Consultation

Trying to find the right lawyer to handle your case can be an intimidating experience to go through. A quick online search for a free attorney consultation for auto accidents can yield a large pool of attorneys to sort through. There are over 1.3 million lawyers in America, which is an overwhelming number of people. […]

Police Report Request Form

Police Report Request

"*" indicates required fields

Sweet Lawyers has my permission to help provide a free police report.*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Help Is Here

We have answers. Tell us about your situation.

Call (800) 674-7854 or request a callback below

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.