back to articles | April 02, 2024 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Motorcycle

9 Common Motorcycle Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Riding a motorcycle is a fun and exhilarating experience. Feeling the wind against your face and hearing the roar of the engine is an inexpressible feeling that transforms everyday greatness.


Riding a motorcycle is a fun and exhilarating experience. Feeling the wind against your face and hearing the roar of the engine is an inexpressible feeling that transforms everyday greatness. The open road also offers an escape from the constraints of your daily life, a sense of liberation that isn’t easy to find.

However, as thrilling as they can be, motorcycles can be dangerous, especially at high speeds. Motorcycles offer much less protection than vehicles, meaning riders are much more likely to be seriously injured or killed in the event of an accident. Motorcyclists account for over 380,000 fatalities every year around the world, and a high percentage of these deaths occur in the United States.

Motorcycle accidents can occur due to negligence, recklessness, and other unexpected circumstances. Therefore, as a rider, it’s essential to know the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and how to ensure a safe ride on your bike. Here are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.

Head-on collisions

Head-on collisions are the most common and dangerous cause of motorcycle accidents. They usually occur when a vehicle crosses over into the lane of an oncoming motorcycle. These accidents are common in construction areas, highway ramps, and two-lane rural roads. Head-on collisions are rare events, but they account for a high number of deaths and serious injuries.

One of the best ways to avoid head-on collisions is to always ensure you ride defensively. Act accordingly and ride your motorcycle as if every vehicle on the road could do something dangerous. It’s also safe to drive to the right if possible. This will help keep you as far as possible from vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

Inexperienced drivers

Beginner motorcycle riders (those with less than two years of experience) are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident than experienced riders. On the other hand, vehicle drivers with little experience are less likely to notice bikes on the road, estimate their speed, and avoid a crash.

Practicing in a parking lot may not prepare you for the real dangers on the open road. Unfortunately, most riders hop on a motorcycle with very little knowledge of the hazards and risks of motorcycle riding.

Before setting on horseback, ensure you have taken the Motorcycle (MSF) Rider Courses, passed their exams, and acquired your motorcycle endorsement. You should also take a motorcycle safety course and get a valid motorcycle license. However, remember that, as you need to purchase the right auto insurance before registering your car, almost every state requires proof of motorcycle insurance before you can register your two-wheeler and get a license plate.


Speeding is the leading cause of car accidents, but it can be an even more hazardous riding habit. Exceeding the speed limit gives the rider less time to react to a dangerous situation on the road and can make it more difficult to control the bike. The impact is also more likely to be severe when you are speeding and hit on something.

Both car drivers and motorcyclists should remain within the speed limit to avoid accidents. However, riders should particularly pay attention to this issue, as a speed-related motorcycle crash is likely to result in a fatality. If you are craving for speed, find local speed parks that allow riders to race their heart on a closed circuit while being safe.

Lane splitting

Lane splitting happens when a rider drives between two lanes of stationary or slow-moving vehicles, usually during heavy traffic or at a traffic signal. Due to various aspects, such as the close proximity of the motorcycle to the car and the limited space the rider has to maneuver their bike, lane splitting increases the chance of an accident.

Different states have varying laws when it comes to lane splitting, but it’s illegal in most of the United States. There is a high chance you will be found at fault when you are involved in an accident while lane splitting.

The best thing to do is to avoid lane splitting completely. However, if you live in a state that allows lane splitting, like California, and choose to do it, ensure there is enough space to maneuver safely without hitting anyone else’s vehicle.

Left-turning vehicles

Another common cause of motorcycle accidents is left-turning vehicles. In fact, it accounts for nearly 50% of all accidents involving vehicles and motorcycles.

A left turn can result from many aspects, but the most common one is unintentional blindness from drivers. While the driver might have looked at the rider, they might not have seen them since they were not expecting to. Vehicle drivers also fail to see the motorcycles before making a turn because bikes are smaller than other automobiles on the road.

While this kind of accident is also common among vehicles, it is more dangerous for motorcyclists. Unlike a car, you don’t have layers of protection to reduce the impact, and there is nothing to hold you in space. Even if you are not thrown off your bike, a small car like a sedan will have a size advantage over your motorcycle.

To avoid a left-turn accident, always stay on the speed limit. You should also be cautious of vehicles in the oncoming traffic lane, especially at intersections. Slow down when you see or suspect that a car in front is about to turn.

Car doors

It might seem like the skit or movie you see on TV, but being hit by an open car door is a common accident among motorcyclists. This kind of accident occurs when a car driver or passenger opens a car door without looking to see whether the path is clear.

An accident is usually unavoidable in such circumstances, and a motorcycle may end up crashing into the open door. As a result, the rider can sustain serious injuries, such as broken bones, head trauma, and even severe lacerations.

To avoid open-door accidents, always be aware of any vehicle parked on the roadside and give it a wide distance. It’s also the responsibility of car drivers and passengers to always look around before opening the doors.

Alcohol and drug use

Operating any automobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs is incredibly dangerous and against the law. This is especially true when it comes to riding a motorcycle. Alcohol and substance abuse impairs your driving skills and reduces reaction time, increasing the likelihood of an accident.

Whether it’s legal or not, don’t drink and ride. If you are out on the town with friends and you find yourself drinking, take advantage of the cheapest ways to get home, such as using a taxi. That way, you will have no regrets, and you can easily pick up your motorcycle the following day.

Besides staying sober while riding, it’s essential to be aware of the situation on the road. Ensure you avoid other road users who exhibit suspicious and dangerous behaviors. It’s better to slow down or choose another lane than become a motorcycle crash victim.

Poor weather and dangerous road conditions

You might be lucky to live in a state where the weather is generally warm and sunny, except during summer rainstorms. However, wet, rainy, or foggy weather complicates everything, including motorcycle riding. The roads may become extremely slippery, especially within the first days of the rain pouring down, leading to sliding and loss of control.

Poor weather also limits visibility, both for the motorcyclists and other drivers on the road. Other bad road conditions include potholes, construction defects, tire snakes, and grass clippings.

Always ride at a safe speed and be extra careful in poor weather and dangerous road conditions. Look out for gravel on the road surface, especially in turns if it rained the day before.

You can also use the Search, Evaluate, Execute (SEE) technique to regularly assess road conditions and come up with a safe riding plan. While it might not be possible to avoid bad road conditions altogether, you can reduce accident damage by being aware of your surroundings and adjusting accordingly.

Distracted drivers

While you might be the best rider in the world, that doesn’t mean other drivers on the road are paying attention. Texting or listening to music or podcasts while driving can affect a driver’s ability to see or adequately respond to a motorbike on the road, leading to accidents. Pedestrians and cyclists can also be unpredictable sometimes.

Motorcycle awareness campaigns are taking place around the world to hopefully re-train drivers to watch for bikes. However, as a rider, it’s imperative to always be on high alert to ensure that distracted drivers don’t pose a collision threat. Maintain a proper following distance, wear highly visible riding gear, and invest in collision avoidance technology.

Wrapping it up

It’s not possible to avoid motorcycle accidents completely, but both vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders can do their best to reduce death and serious injuries. With these tips in mind, it should be much easier for motorcyclists and auto drivers to avoid the most common motorcycle accidents or at least minimize the damage. Most importantly, always wear the right riding gear, stay vigilant while on the road, and prepare to react to potential hazards.