What is a Major Cause of Death in Motorcycle Accidents?

Posted: May 20, 2020

Causes of Death in Motorcycle AccidentsMotorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries or death. In 2018, out of the 36,560 people killed in traffic accidents on America’s roads, nearly 5,000 were the result of motorcycle accidents. Read on to learn about some of the major causes of death in motorcycle accidents.

Head-On Collisions

One possible cause of death in motorcycle accidents are head-on collisions with other motor vehicles. In 2017 data from NHTSA, in two-vehicle crashes, 76 percent of the motorcycles involved were impacted in the front, while only 7 percent were impacted in the rear. Both types of collisions can result in serious injuries or death to the motorcycle rider.

Left-Hand Turns

Per the NHSTA, in 2017, 42 percent of two-vehicle fatal accidents involved the other motor vehicle making a left-hand turn, while the motorcycle was going straight or passing other vehicles. Even though these types of accidents can also happen between cars, motorcycles, due to their size, tend to blend into their surroundings when compared to other larger motor vehicles. This makes it harder for other motorists to see motorcycles and to judge their speed when turning in front of them, which can result in death or serious injury.

Lane Splitting

When a motorcycle cuts between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic, this is known as lane splitting. Lane splitting can be a cause of serious injury or even death in motorcycle accidents for several reasons. First, cars are close to the motorcycle, which causes danger. Second, the motorcyclist has reduced space in which to maneuver, which can lead to problems. Third, drivers may not anticipate a motorcyclist splitting the lane, which can lead to a serious or fatal motorcycle accident that no one saw coming.


According to NHTSA, speed was a contributing factor in 32 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2017. While speeding can negatively impact all motorists, motorcyclists are at additional risk for a fatal accident due to the lack of protection a motorcycle offers compared to a car.

Impaired Riding

Operating a motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in serious motorcycle accident injuries or death to all parties involved. In 2017, 28 percent of motorcyclists killed in a motorcycle accident were alcohol-impaired. Alcohol and drugs impair a motorcyclist’s reaction time, alertness, and judgment making it difficult for the rider to control the bike and make swift lifesaving decisions.

Fixed Objects

Motorcyclists colliding with a fixed object, such as a light pole or sign, are likely to suffer severe motorcycle accident injuries or death. According to NHTSA, motorcycles were more frequently involved in fatal accidents with fixed objects than other motor vehicles, and in 2017, 23 percent of motorcyclists were involved in fatal accidents with fixed objects. Because motorcycle riders do not have the protection of a steel and aluminum car body, they can be thrown far and hard from the motorcycle in these types of collisions.

Road Hazards

Potholes, construction zones, slick pavement, and dead animals’ on the road all pose a potential danger to motorcyclists. Any irregularity on the road can lead to a dangerous situation and becomes a serious threat to motorcycle riders.

High-Performance Motorcycles

According to 2017 data, the number of motorcyclist fatalities on motorcycles with engine sizes of 1,000 cc or less decreased by 9 percent while the number of motorcyclist fatalities on motorcycles with engine sizes from 1,001 to 1,500 cc decreased by 23 percent.  Interestingly, the number of motorcyclists killed on motorcycles 1,501 cc or higher increased by over 100 percent.

Motorcycle Accident? Call William Mattar.

If you need legal help after being injured in a motorcycle accident, consider contacting the William Mattar law offices today. We are available 24/7, and our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers can help you file a claim. Call 844-444-4444 or submit a contact form online.

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