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American Canyon Motorcycle Accident Attorney


Warmer weather brings out more motorcyclists on the road. Although motorcycle accidents don’t necessarily occur more often than other vehicle accidents, motorcyclists are more likely to get injured or killed than car occupants. Motorcycle accidents are similar to car crashes, but due to distinguishing factors related to motorcycles, the causes, injuries, and liability issues surrounding motorcycle accidents are far different from vehicle accidents.

The Risks of Riding a Motorcycle

A motorcycle is a risky form of transportation. It is smaller, less visible, and much lighter than a car. It also doesn’t have a metal box to protect the rider. Other risks related to motorcycle riding include:

  • Less visibility: A motorcycle can easily be hidden by other cars or objects on the road, especially at intersections, making it harder for other cars to see the motorcyclist.
  • No safety protections: A motorcycle is not equipped with a seatbelt or an airbag. Wearing a helmet and safety gear can provide the rider some protection.
  • Less stability: A motorcycle only has two wheels, which is less stable than a vehicle with four wheels, especially during hard braking and swerving.
  • Skill level: Riding a motorcycle requires more skills than driving a car. Riders who are not as skilled or don’t have a proper motorcycle license are more likely to get involved in an accident.
  • Risky behavior: sport and super-sport bikes are lighter and more powerful, which can encourage speeding and other high-risk behavior.
  • Road hazards: uneven road surfaces, debris, and wet pavement have little effect on a car but can pose a severe threat to motorcycles.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

The rider is always at risk of being in an accident whenever he or she gets on a bike. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motorcycle deaths were almost 29 times higher than the number of cars based on miles traveled in 2015. Nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2016. In California, motorcycle deaths represented 17% of all accidents. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • A car turning left: The accident usually occurs when the car is making a left turn at an intersection and fails to see the motorcycle or misjudges the bike’s speed.
  • Lane splitting: Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes of slowly moving or stopped cars. This practice is dangerous for inexperienced riders.
  • Speeding: Speeding is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents. It reduces a rider’s chance of reacting to other cars in time to prevent an accident.
  • Driving under the influence: Riders who cause an accident while under drugs or alcohol may face civil and/or criminal liability.
  • Unsafe lane changes: Drivers usually risk hitting a motorcyclist when they fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes.
  • Open car door: Accidents can occur when a driver opens the car door in the path of an oncoming motorcyclist.
  • Sudden stops: Abrupt stops causing rear-end accidents can result in serious injuries or even death for the motorcyclist.
  • Motorcycle defects: Defective or poorly designed parts can prevent a motorcycle from operating correctly.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Injuries in a car accident are dangerous, but injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident are even more life-threatening. Taking the proper precautions to prevent injuries is the first step to surviving a motorcycle accident. Some of the common injuries include:

  • Head injury: The most common injury is a head injury. A helmet should always be worn.
  • Neck injury: A neck injury can paralyze and possibly be fatal.
  • Road rash: A road rash injury occurs when a rider slides across the pavement. This injury is more than scrapes and bruises; it can lead to permanent injuries such as infections or nerve and muscle damage.
  • Leg injury: This type of damage affects not only the leg but the knees and feet, too. These injuries will likely not be fatal but can cause permanent disabilities.
  • Arm injury:” When a biker lands on his or her arm during an accident, severe nerve damage can occur not only in the arm but also in the upper body.

This video covers the top five common motorcycle accidents that can occur while riding on the road.

Preventing Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents threaten the rider and should be avoided as safely as possible. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 80% of all reported motorcycle accidents resulted in serious injuries or death. Motorcycle crashes are preventable if the rider takes extra steps to reduce the risks. Some tips motorcyclists can do to stay safe include:

  • Wear protective gear: Wear thick protective materials, gloves, boots, and eye protection.
  • Be visible: Wear bright-colored clothing and add some reflective elements to your bike. Also, ride in a section that will make you more visible to drivers.
  • Wear a helmet: wearing a helmet can prevent traumatic brain injury in the event of an accident.
  • Don’t speed or drink: The risk of getting into an accident is higher when you speed, drink, and ride. Observing the speed limit and staying sober will ensure you arrive safely at your destination.
  • Stay alert: Watch for distracted drivers, potholes, and other road hazards. Be ready for drivers who make sudden lane changes or swerves.
  • Avoid bad weather: Don’t ride in the rain or in any other type of adverse weather conditions. Pack the appropriate gear to stay dry and warm if you must ride in the rain.
  • Get trained: Inexperienced riders should take a motorcycle safety course before getting on the road. It’s also a good idea for skilled motorcyclists to take a refresher course.
Liability in Motorcycle Accidents

Liability in many motorcycle crashes is ruled by the law of negligence. A negligent person is someone who behaves carelessly on the road and causes injuries to other motorists. In most motorcycle accidents, it is usually the driver of a negligent vehicle. The driver can be held liable for injuring the accident victim. In some cases, the motorcyclist can also be the negligent party if he or she swerves in front of the car and causes the accident.

American Canyon Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries or death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, call me at (707) 564-1900 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice. Our legal team has helped many clients throughout Northern California with wrongful death and motorcycle accident cases since 1982. See our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Editor’s Note: updated [cha 9.11.23] Photo by Mansoor from Pexels cha [cs 1107]