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Common Motorcycle Accidents and How to Avoid Them

While motorcycle accidents are rarely identical, most follow a theme. Understanding the theme helps you stay prepared and learn how to avoid them.

There is nothing more thrilling than cruising at high speeds on a big beefy bike. The adrenaline rush of engaging in stunts and maneuvering on the open roads is exhilarating. However, motorcycles offer little in the way of protection in case of a crash.

According to the National Highway Safety and Transport Authority, motorcyclists are 28% more likely to die in a crash than motor vehicle passengers. While they have powerful brakes, excellent handling, grippy tires, and obstruction-free vision, motorcycle accidents continue to be fatally dangerous.

Luckily, getting educated on how to stay safe while riding your motorcycle can save your life. As a new rider, it goes without saying that you should take an MSF rider course and invest in advanced training at racetracks. 

Wearing your safety gear and investing in bright-colored clothing will also help you become more visible, potentially avoiding the common accidents listed below.

Left-Turning Car

This is one of the most common motorcycle accidents. When a motorist does not see you or incorrectly judges your speed and turns left in front of you at an intersection, it can result in a crash.

Whether it is caused by inattention, blind spots, or distraction, most drivers do not perceive the presence of motorcycles as seriously as they do cars.

How to Avoid It

Look for any signs that the car ahead of you is likely to turn. As you approach an intersection, slow down and prepare for evasive action, staying keen to cover your brakes. A car waiting to turn in the lane is a threat to your life.

Remember, there may be objects outside of your vision, and any gaps in traffic might be an indicator that there is another vehicle approaching, even if you cannot immediately spot it.

Getting Rear-ended

A fender bender is another one of the most common accidents. Depending on the speed, getting rear-ended has different results for motor vehicle drivers compared to motorcycle riders. 

Even at low speeds, getting rear-ended can have serious consequences for a motorcyclist. If you are caught between two cars, the results could be fatal.

How to Avoid It

Use the vehicles on the road as a crumple zone. If you are stuck behind a car with more vehicles coming from behind, pull up in front of it, and you will be cushioned from any impact. You can also use the space between lanes.

If there are no crumple zones, avoid the center lane and flash your brake lights. Remember to keep your bike in gear and your hand on the throttle. 

Stick to the outer lane while closely monitoring any movement behind your motorcycle. Be prepared to ride away if a vehicle approaches you from behind.

Stay alert, especially if there is poor visibility, unexpected stops, crosswalks, or animals crossing the road.

Approaching a Sharp Bend Too Fast

Leaning around a corner fully in control of your motorcycle is exciting. However, if you are going too fast, you can lose control in a flash.

How to Avoid It

Ride only as fast as you can. You must learn to control your speed and react quickly to kill your speed and avoid losing control. Use visual cues to judge the direction and estimate the road. If the road is well-paved, trust your bike.

Do not press the brakes too quickly or chop the throttle, as it might upset the bike and cause you to lose traction. 

If a knee touches the ground, do not panic. Hold the angle and watch out for the exit as you smoothly ride it out. Trail braking can also help you safely shed speed.

Slippery Roads

Slippery roads are dangerous, especially if your motorcycle is not well-maintained mechanically or you are cruising at dangerously high speeds. Fortunately, proper tires with good traction and well-maintained brakes can help you maneuver easily.

How to Avoid It

Riding on slippery roads is not only dangerous to the rider, but it can also cause harm to other road users if you slide and hit them. 

You can avoid this by testing your tire grip. Apply the rear brakes on different surfaces to have an idea of how your bike will respond in different situations.

Compare road tires to racing tires to see their performance and tread patterns. It is also critical to weigh your skills and understand what you can safely handle before venturing on wet roads.

Hitting Gravel on a Blind Blend

Sand, loose gravel, muddy pools, and loose soil can be found behind a blind corner. If you run into any of these without warning, your front wheel could wipe out and cause you to crash.

How to Avoid It

Always ride at a pace that allows you to react quickly if you spot something unexpected behind a blind bend. As a rule of thumb, always approach blind bends slowly. As you increase your vision, you can pick up the pace on the way out.

Consider taking defensive driving classes to learn trail braking and maximizing your vision. Keep in mind vision equals safety, so the more you see, the more safely you can increase your speed.

Cars Unexpectedly Changing Lanes into You

It is not uncommon for vehicles to unexpectedly change lanes and veer into your space as a rider. Most small motorcycles can also easily get lost in blind spots. 

Remember, drivers, are also psychologically programmed to look out for other drivers, which makes it easy to dismiss or ignore motorcycle riders.

How to Avoid It

Always stay alert on the road. Even if you can see a driver in their mirror, it does not mean they are aware of your presence. 

Observe traffic patterns and blind spots. If one lane is suddenly opening up, do not rush to join it, as most drivers will also be doing the same.

Look for turn signals, wandering cars, wheels turning, drivers checking their mirrors, and their body movement. All these signals can indicate when a driver is about to change lanes and staying aware can make all the difference in keeping you safe.

Lane Splitting

While it seems cool to zip in between vehicles on the road, you risk crashing into another motorcycle pulling the same stunt. Even if your bike fits in between the lanes, do not ride carelessly to get ahead.

How to Avoid It

Use your judgment to determine the space around you. If you cannot maneuver comfortably, stay in your lane. 

Remember, lane splitting is a crime and can cause serious accidents. In case of an accident, you must prove that you were in your lane.

Head on Collision

Head-on collisions are almost always fatal for motorcycle riders. A motorcycle does not offer protection, and the rider almost always bears the impact in case of a collision.

How to Avoid It

Head-on collisions are common on rural roads, highway ramps, or single-lane streets. Stay vigilant and alert on these roads. 

Look out for slow vehicles and study the patterns of on-coming traffic, taking note of any impatient drivers.

Defensive driving classes can also help keep you safe and avoid head-on collisions.


Accidents are unexpected and, in some cases, unavoidable. However, being prepared and staying alert to your surroundings can help you stay safe. 

Always ensure that your insurance is updated and have a personal injury lawyer on call.

You can also read the Motorcycle Safety Foundation booklet to learn more tips on how to keep yourself and other road users safe when riding on two wheels.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal, tax or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. TurtleVerse does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.



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