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Motorcycle Accidents: What Causes Them and Who is Responsible

by melaniedfleury on August 26, 2013

Motorcycle Accidents: What Causes Them and Who is Responsible

There aren’t many bikers out there who wouldn’t say that riding motorcycles isn’t just a mode of transportation; it’s a way of life. Unfortunately, this love for the free feeling that’s felt when traveling down the open roads on a motorcycle puts bikers at increased risk for being seriously injured in accidents. This is why it’s essential for motorcycle riders to recognize what increased risks they face; and if they are involved in an accident, they should understand who is responsible.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

While there are numerous reasons that any automobile may be involved in an accident, there are a few causes that happen more often than not when motorcycles are involved. It’s important for all drivers to understand these causes if they hope to avoid being involved in a motorcycle accident.

Lane Splitting: Lane splitting is the act of a rider traveling between two lanes of stopped or slowed traffic. The motorcycle’s smaller size allows them to travel faster in a smaller space than the vehicles around them, but this can lead to serious accidents. Other drivers don’t expect vehicles to pass them while stopped in traffic, but the person at fault will often vary depending on state law. If you are involved in an accident due to lane splitting, a personal injury lawyer can help to determine who is responsible.

Left-Hand Turns: Many accidents involving two cars happen when one car is turning left, but this is exponentially more disastrous for motorcycle riders. In fact, at least 42 percent of all motorcycle accidents that involve a traditional automobile are caused when a vehicle turns left and hits the biker. As mentioned, this type of accident can occur among two cars as well, but due to motorcycles being less visible, these accidents are quite common.

Road Hazards: All vehicles face road hazards, but a pothole that might not even faze an SUV could easily result in a horrific crash when a motorcycle is involved. Motorcycles are inherently less stable than other vehicles, so slick pavements, uneven highways, dead animals or just about any other irregularity in the road can lead to an accident for bikers.

Legal Liability in Motorcycle Accidents

Before understanding liability in a motorcycles accident, it’s first important to understand that bikers are often under a different set of laws than other drivers. Lane splitting, for instance, is actually permissible in some states. Deciding liability in these situations will depend largely on whether or not the act is permitted where the accident occurred.

Additionally, many states allow bikers to ride abreast of each other in the same lane. As anyone can imagine, this or lane splitting wouldn’t be allowed for traditional vehicles in any locale. The most important thing that a biker can do to figure out liability is to understand their local laws and hire an attorney if they’re involved in an accident.

Legal professionals who deal with motorcycle accidents will be knowledgeable in a state’s motorcycle laws, and this makes them better equipped to prove liability in a case. Since liability can vary between different states, having legal help is always advisable after a car collides with a motorcycle.

Motorcycle accidents can be especially detrimental due to the lack of protection that the vehicle provides. In addition, other drivers may not be able to see motorcycles as well as they would traditional automobiles. Luckily, simply recognizing the increased dangers and most common causes of accidents may help bikers and other drivers remain more vigilant while out on the road. When an accident does occur, however, motorcycle riders should speak with an attorney if they hope to recover both physically and financially.


The freedom that is felt when riding on a motorcycle is one that writer Melanie Fleury enjoys. She has learned, however, that although motorcycle rides are fun, the stakes are much higher when in an accident. The Law Offices of Joseph Pius, a personal injury lawyer, want motorcyclists to know that injuries are more likely because of the lack of protection, and that an experienced lawyer can help to get fair compensation for those involved in an accident.

melaniedfleury
Melanie Fleury is a freelance writer, blogger, mother of 4 and animal rescuer.

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