• Kenneth Powell

Are Motorcyclists Usually at Fault?

Motorcycle accidents can be extremely tragic, with some of them resulting in serious injuries, which include paralysis, head trauma, loss of limbs, and even loss of life. As a result, determining who is at fault is key to any claims for damages. And while most people are quick to blame the motorcyclists, the reality is far more complicated. But let’s take a deep dive and find out who is usually at fault in a motorcycle accident.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents?

What Is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents?

Generally speaking, the most common cause of motorcycle accidents is reckless passenger vehicle driving. However, car drivers are at less risk in a motorcycle accident, as their cars provide them with more protection. What’s even worse is that, more often than not, car drivers don’t even notice motorcycles until it is too late.

It’s worth mentioning that left-turn accidents account for almost 50% of all motorcycle collisions. These often happen at intersections where riders try to pass on the left when a car is turning. And since motorcycles are easily in the blind spots of other drivers, they might get hit by the turning car.

Additionally, motorcycle crashes are also the result of unclear road signage and poor maintenance of roadways. That’s why it is extremely important to be aware of traffic at all times, as doing otherwise can make driving a motorcycle to be fatal.

What Behaviors of Reckless Driving Put Motorcycle Riders at Risk?

There are a couple of common behaviors that lead to reckless driving and are usually at fault for motorcycle accidents:


Sadly, drivers that get distracted on the road are becoming more common than ever. Why is that a problem? Because when there are distracted drivers on the road, every traveler is at risk. However, motorcycle riders are at a higher risk of death in the event of an accident. Activities like eating, texting, talking, grooming, or entertainment usually distract drivers and prevent them from noticing nearby riders.


Drivers that are intoxicated are unable to use their senses fully. That puts motorcyclists at a higher risk, especially since intoxicated drivers can suffer from blurred vision, delayed mental capacity, poor judgment, and slow reaction times. So, when an intoxicated driver encounters a motorcycle, the chances of an accident increase dramatically. And, usually, the accident will result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities for the rider or passengers.


Fatigue is just as dangerous as intoxication, as lack of sleep can be similar to the effects of alcohol. Congested commutes, long work hours, and lack of quality sleep can make a driver fall asleep behind the wheel or have a hard time maintaining the focus he needs to drive safely.

Unsuspecting motorcycle riders might be unable to avoid vehicles that have lost control due to the fatigued driver. The results range from head-on collisions and sideswipe to rear-end crashes, which can be fatal.

Excess Speed

The faster a vehicle goes, the harder it is to identify hazards, stop, or avoid impact with nearby objects or vehicles. As a matter of fact, speeding drivers are a common cause of most preventable motorcycle accidents. That’s because their excess speed prevents them from noticing oncoming motorcycles that are legally crossing an intersection.


Driving too close to a motorcyclist, or tailgating, is a behavior usually blamed for most rear-end collisions. Even at low speeds, a collision that’s caused by tailgating can push the motorcycle from underneath the rider or eject the unsuspecting rider into the road or traffic. Therefore, tailgating is extremely dangerous and can lead to devastating accidents that injure or kill individuals.

Aggressive Maneuvers

From aggressive passing and quick lane changes to cutting off other drivers or failing to use turn signals, there are a lot of aggressive maneuvers that drivers do on a daily basis. Riders are often the most vulnerable to this kind of maneuver, as a simple bump or a sudden stop can cause them to lose their balance and control of their motorcycle. That results in the motorcyclist colliding with nearby vehicles, sliding into the road, or being ejected from their bikes.

The Bottom Line

All in all, motorcyclists are rarely at fault when it comes to accidents in which they are involved. In fact, negligent drivers and poor road conditions are what cause most motorcycle accidents.

However, if you find yourself the victim of a motorcycle accident, you should know that you can claim compensation. And while the process of doing so can sound complex, you can get in touch with the Powell Law Firm and request professional advice from motorcycle accident lawyers. Our legal team is always ready to assist you in any personal injury case, no matter if it involves a motorcycle, another car, or anything in between. You can also seek help even if you want to know whether or not you can sue a friend for crashing your motorcycle.