What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government organization dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and reducing vehicle-related crashes. This includes motorcycle crashes. According to the NHTSA, over 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents result either in the injury or the death of the motorcyclist.

Below are the top five most common motorcycle accident causes. While these are not the only causes, they are the most prevalent. All of these causes of motorcycle accidents are preventable or avoidable. Understanding the statistics and the most common causes of motorcycle accidents can go a long way in preventing them.

5 Most Common Motorcycle Accident Causes


Inexperience is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. Ideally, a motorcycle rider should spend dozens of hours in training. The motorcycle rider should learn how to:

  • Operate his or her motorcycle
  • Gauge conditions
  • Respond to situations

All too often, people start riding motorcycles on the road well before they are ready. Their inexperience can often result in motorcycle accidents. According to the NHTSA, in 2017, 29 percent of all motorcycle fatalities involved riders without a valid motorcycle license.


Alcohol impairs judgment – on and off the roads. Riding a motorcycle requires razor-sharp reflexes, and even one drink can reduce reaction times. Nearly 40 percent of all single-vehicle motorcycle fatalities involved alcohol in 2018. Additionally, 26 percent of multiple-vehicle crash fatalities included motorcyclists with a blood alcohol concentration over .08, the legal limit, in 2018.

Left-Hand Turns

In fatality cases involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle, an astonishing 42 percent involved the other vehicle turning left while the motorcyclist was doing one of the following:

  • Traveling straight ahead
  • Passing
  • Overtaking another vehicle

Unfortunately, motorcycles are more difficult to see. Many motorists do not spend enough time looking for motorcycles before turning left at an intersection.

Excessive Rates of Speed

Speeding is one of the most common motorcycle accident causes. An excessive rate of speed may mean traveling in excess of the posted speed limits. However, it can also refer to traveling too fast for conditions.

For example, if the speed limit is 50 miles per hour, but a windstorm is occurring, 50 miles per hour is probably too fast. Given the reduced visibility during a windstorm, such speed would be irresponsible. According to the NHTSA, speed was considered a factor in 32 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2017.

Inattentive Driving

Inattentive driving, both on the part of vehicle drivers and motorcycle drivers, contribute to motorcycle accidents. These accidents can result in injury and death.

For example, a vehicle may drift into oncoming traffic if the driver is texting, rather than focusing on driving. A motorcyclist enjoying the freedom of the open road may fail to appreciate traffic slowing in front of them. Distracted driving is a danger in this country, and both motorists and motorcycle riders bear some responsibility.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Contact Our Arizona Law Firm for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one was injured due to the negligence of another driver, contact our law firm for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation.

At Miller Kory Rowe LLP, our motorcycle accident lawyers have the experience and knowledge of Arizona motorcycle laws to successfully advocate on your behalf. We offer free consultations because we are very selective in the motorcycle accident cases we take on as a firm. Contact us today to discuss your case at (602) 461-8640.

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