Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, especially when safety measures are not taken by both the motorcyclist and other drivers on the road. Motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic and can even result in fatalities. Understanding who is at fault for most motorcycle accidents can help everyone take measures to reduce their occurrence. If you’d like to take legal action after a collision, a Carson motorcycle accident attorney can help you do so.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Before understanding who is at fault for most motorcycle accidents, it is important to know the statistics.

  • Motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2021, with 5,932 deaths in total.
  • 43% of motorcyclists who passed away as a result of single-vehicle crashes were impaired by alcohol in 2021.
  • California ranks as one of the top states for fatal motorcycle accidents, with 634 reported fatalities in 2022.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents can happen for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes are:

  • Collisions with other vehicles. This includes cars making left turns and head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are the most dangerous type of accident for motorcyclists due to the impact and the high risk of being thrown off their motorcycle. This becomes especially dangerous if the rider is not wearing a helmet. There’s a high risk of their head hitting the pavement or another object, which can result in traumatic brain injuries, concussions, or death.
  • Collisions with stationary objects. Motorcyclists are at high risk of fatality when they strike fixed objects. For example, if the road is slick due to rain, snow, or ice, and the rider veers off the road and hits a building, they can be severely injured.
  • Road hazards. Road hazards account for a good portion of motorcycle accidents. Hazards include bumpy roads, gravel, obstructions, slick pavement, potholes, puddles, animals, debris, and railroad tracks.
  • Motorcycle Lane Splitting. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist rides in between two lanes. This is common, especially in traffic jams or slow-moving traffic. However, lane splitting may increase the risk of accidents, as drivers typically do not expect to see vehicles fly past them, especially in slow-moving traffic.Also, if traffic is congested, the motorcyclist cannot maneuver as quickly and easily if they encounter a situation that requires quick reaction time. However, the safety of lane splitting is debated, and some argue that it can be safer for motorcyclists than sitting in traffic.
  • Motorcyclists or other drivers driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents had higher rates of intoxication than any other type of vehicle driver in 2021.
  • Speeding. It is easy to speed on a motorcycle, especially smaller and lighter ones, which increases the risk of death or injury. If cars or trucks speed, they may be unable to react quickly to motorcycles.

Who Is at Fault for Most Motorcycle Accidents?

In many motorcycle accidents, drivers of other vehicles are at fault for striking the motorcyclist while making a left turn. This can happen due to the driver being distracted, the driver miscalculating the speed and/or distance of the motorcyclist or one of the vehicles speeding. In these cases, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.

However, there are many other causes of motorcycle accidents, and it is not always the other driver’s fault. Sometimes, the motorcyclist is responsible, while in other cases, fault is shared. Occasionally, it is no one’s fault at all.

When the cause of the motorcycle accident was determined to be the other driver’s fault, they can be deemed liable. Accidents are often caused by negligence, which can include distracted driving, failing to yield, or not checking blind spots.

When the cause of the accident falls on the motorcyclist, this is usually a result of risky behaviors such as speeding or lane splitting. Also, while the lack of helmets does not cause accidents, it can contribute to severe injuries or death that may not have occurred had the rider worn proper protective gear.

In some cases, the accident is a result of shared fault. For instance, a driver of a car may strike a motorcyclist because they failed to yield, but the motorcyclist may have also been speeding.


Q: Who Is at Fault in Most Accidents Between a Car and a Motorcycle?

A: In most motorcycle accidents, the at-fault party is a driver who struck the motorcyclist, particularly while making left-hand turns. While in some cases, the motorcyclist can share fault, the driver of the other vehicle is typically deemed to be at fault because it is their responsibility to yield to other traffic since they are making a left-hand turn.

Q: What Is the Biggest Cause of Motorcycle Accidents?

A: The biggest cause of motorcycle accidents is drivers of other vehicles striking the motorcyclist while making a left-hand turn. This can occur for many reasons, including the driver failing to see the motorcycle, the driver is distracted, the driver miscalculating the distance and speed of the motorcycle, either vehicle speeding or one of the drivers driving while intoxicated, among other reasons.

Q: What Kills Most Motorcycle Riders?

A: Most motorcycle riders are killed in accidents due to being struck by another car or due to them striking another car or object, which results in head injuries. Many head injuries can be avoided, or at least less serious, when riders wear helmets.

Q: What Is a Factor in Most Fatal Motorcycle Crashes?

A: One factor in many fatal motorcycle crashes is speeding. Many motorcyclists resort to speeding, as it is easy to do so, and they are able to weave in and out of traffic in ways that other vehicles cannot. However, speeding means that motorcyclists won’t be able to respond to oncoming hazards as quickly and efficiently as they would otherwise. Speeding also increases the severity of an accident, as the impact is greater at higher speeds.

Contact McLachlan Law, APC, Today

If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, especially due to the fault or negligence of someone else, McLachlan Law, APC can help. Contact us today for more information.