In this article, we’re taking a deep-dive look into Motorcycle Accidents – Statistics And Guidance On Accident Prevention.

Index (click links to jump ahead or scroll down to read all):

  1. Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
  2. Determination of Fault In Motorcycle Accidents
  3. North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Statistics
  4. NC Contributory Negligence Laws
  5. How To Minimize The Risk Of Accidents On Motorcycles

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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle crashes are a common occurrence on roads and highways around North Carolina. According to statistics, motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely to die in a road crash than people in passenger cars. This alarming figure raises the question, who is at fault in most motorcycle crashes? In this section of the article, we will explore the different factors that contribute to motorcycle crashes and the role each party plays in causing or preventing these accidents.

Motorcycle crashes can happen for various reasons. One of the most common causes is the failure of drivers of other vehicles to see and detect motorcyclists on the road. Motorcycles are smaller than cars, and their visibility is often limited, especially in busy traffic. Drivers may not notice motorcycles and their riders until it is too late, resulting in accidents. In such situations, drivers are typically at fault for not being attentive and failing to take the necessary precautions when driving near motorcyclists.

Another common cause of motorcycle crashes is the lack of experience and training among riders. Riding a motorcycle requires a specific set of skills and knowledge that are not always evident in new riders. Some riders may not know how to handle their motorcycles in challenging road conditions or emergency situations, making them more vulnerable to crashes. In such cases, the fault for some accidents may well rest with the rider for not having gained the necessary experience and training.

Poor road conditions and infrastructure also contribute to motorcycle crashes. Roads with potholes, cracks, and debris can cause motorcyclists to lose control of their bikes. Similarly, poorly designed intersections and narrow roads can create hazardous situations for motorcyclists. The authorities responsible for maintaining road infrastructure are typically at fault in such cases but proving fault isn’t always easy. In almost all situations involving a motorcycle accident, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be needed to ensure the rights of the crash victim are properly observed during the legal process.

Motorcycle crashes can also happen due to mechanical faults and defects. Motorcycles, like any other machine, can malfunction, and if such malfunctions occur while riding, they can cause accidents. In such cases, the fault lies with the manufacturer or mechanic responsible for the faulty parts or maintenance. It isn’t unknown for a simple motorcycle accident case to evolve into one involving the need for a product liability attorney.

Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol is another leading cause of motorcycle crashes. Intoxication can impair a rider’s judgment, reflexes, and coordination, making it difficult for them to operate their motorcycles safely. In such cases, the rider is at fault for riding while intoxicated.

Lastly, some motorcycle crashes are caused by other external factors, such as weather conditions or wildlife on the road. In such cases, fault cannot be attributed to any party, and the accident is deemed an unfortunate occurrence.

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Here’s a summary of the most common causes of Motorcycle accidents:

  • Driver Error – Driver error is the most common cause of motorcycle crashes. This can include drivers failing to check their blind spots, failing to yield, or failing to see a motorcycle.
  • Speeding – Speeding is a significant factor in many motorcycle crashes. Motorcycles can be difficult to control at high speeds, and crashes at high speeds are often severe or fatal.
  • Alcohol and Drugs – Alcohol and drugs impair judgment, reaction time, and motor skills, making it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles. This can lead to dangerous driving and accidents.
  • Lane Splitting – Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of traffic, is a common practice for motorcyclists, but it can also be dangerous. It can increase the risk of collisions with other vehicles.
  • Poor Road Conditions – Poor road conditions such as potholes, loose gravel, and debris can cause motorcycle accidents.
    Inexperienced Riders – Inexperienced riders may lack the skills and experience necessary to handle a motorcycle, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Distracted Driving – Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on a phone while driving, can take a driver’s attention away from the road and increase the risk of accidents.
  • Weather Conditions – Rain, wind, and other weather conditions can make it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents.

So while motorcycle accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, driver error, speeding, alcohol and drugs, lane splitting, poor road conditions, rider inexperience, distracted driving, and inclement weather conditions are among the most common causes. Motorcyclists can take steps to reduce their risk of accidents by practicing safe riding habits, wearing appropriate safety gear, and following traffic laws.

Determination of Fault In Motorcycle Crashes

Determining the fault in most motorcycle crashes is not always straightforward, and it varies depending on the circumstances of each case. However, it is essential to recognize that both riders and car/truck drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly. Drivers must be attentive and take the necessary precautions when driving near motorcyclists, while riders must have the necessary experience and training to handle their motorcycles properly. Furthermore, authorities must ensure that road infrastructure is well-maintained, and manufacturers must ensure that their motorcycles are free of mechanical faults and defects. Ultimately, preventing motorcycle crashes requires a collective effort from all parties involved.


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North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Statistics

According to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, there were 3,142 motorcycle crashes in North Carolina in 2020. Out of these crashes, 177 were fatal, and 2,239 resulted in injuries. The number of motorcycle crashes in 2020 decreased by 16.2% compared to 2019 when there were 3,751 crashes.

Over the past ten years, motorcycle accidents in North Carolina have fluctuated, with some years recording more crashes than others. Here are the reported numbers of motorcycle accidents in North Carolina from 2011 to 2020:

In 2011, there were 3,249 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 154 fatalities and 2,811 injuries.
In 2012, there were 3,103 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 152 fatalities and 2,701 injuries.
In 2013, there were 3,059 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 152 fatalities and 2,670 injuries.
In 2014, there were 3,143 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 168 fatalities and 2,606 injuries.
In 2015, there were 3,212 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 174 fatalities and 2,638 injuries.
In 2016, there were 3,279 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 161 fatalities and 2,860 injuries.
In 2017, there were 3,411 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 161 fatalities and 2,852 injuries.
In 2018, there were 3,505 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 169 fatalities and 2,910 injuries.
In 2019, there were 3,751 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 174 fatalities and 2,888 injuries.
In 2020, there were 3,142 motorcycle accidents, resulting in 177 fatalities and 2,239 injuries.

From the above data, it is evident that the number of motorcycle accidents in North Carolina has remained relatively consistent over the past ten years, with some fluctuations. However, there were noticeable decreases in the number of accidents in 2020, which may be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on travel and commuting patterns.

It is worth noting that these statistics only include reported accidents, and there may be unreported accidents that are not captured in the data. One positive takeaway from the above statistics is that the rate of motorcycle accidents has not followed the upwards trend of accidents caused by distracted drivers.

motorcycle accidents and contributory negligence laws

Motorcycle Accidents In North Carolina And The NC Contributory Negligence Laws

North Carolina is home to many motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy the freedom and thrill of riding on two wheels. However, with that freedom comes the risk of accidents and injuries, many of which can be commonly classified as serious or catastrophic. In North Carolina, contributory negligence laws can impact the outcome of motorcycle accident cases.

Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine that holds that if a person is even partially at fault for an accident, they likely cannot recover any damages. This means that if a motorcyclist is found to be even 1% at fault for an accident, they may not be able to recover compensation from the other party.

This law can be particularly challenging for motorcyclists, as they are often blamed for accidents regardless of whether or not they were at fault. Motorcyclists are often seen as reckless or dangerous, even when they are obeying traffic laws and riding responsibly.

It is crucial for motorcyclists to take safety precautions and ride defensively to avoid accidents, but even the most cautious rider can still be involved in an accident. If a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, it is essential to seek legal advice from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can help navigate the complexities of contributory negligence laws. So while contributory negligence laws can present challenges for motorcyclists in North Carolina, it is still possible to seek compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. By following safety precautions and seeking legal advice, motorcyclists can protect themselves and their rights in the event of an accident.

How To Minimize The Risk Of Accidents On Motorcycles

How To Minimize The Risk Of Accidents On Motorcycles

Here are some tips on how to prevent motorcycle accidents:

  • Wear protective gear – Wearing proper protective gear such as helmets, jackets, gloves, and boots can help reduce injuries in the event of an accident.
  • Obey traffic laws – Follow traffic laws such as speed limits, signal properly, and obey traffic signs and signals.
  • Avoid distracted driving – Avoid distracted driving such as using your phone while riding. Keep your focus on the road and your surroundings.
  • Maintain your motorcycle – Regularly maintain your motorcycle, including brakes, tires, and lights.
  • Practice defensive driving – Anticipate the actions of other drivers and be prepared to react quickly to avoid accidents.
  • Take a motorcycle safety course – Taking a motorcycle safety course can help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to ride safely.
  • Avoid riding in bad weather – Riding in bad weather such as rain, snow, or high winds can be dangerous. Avoid riding in these conditions if possible.
  • Use turn signals – Use turn signals to communicate your intentions to other drivers.
  • Don’t drink and ride – Never ride a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Impairment can greatly increase your risk of accidents.

Clearly, there’s an enhanced risk when choosing to ride a motorcycle over a car or SUV. Motorcycles offer little in the way of mechanical protection to their riders, they’re smaller than other vehicles on the roads and therefore are less likely to be seen, especially by a distracted car driver. Injuries sustained by motorcycle riders are invariably more serious than those sustained by other vehicle operators, oftentimes catastrophic injuries and fatalities are the results of motorcycle accidents on North Carolina’s highways.

We recommend that all motorcyclists follow the laws, particularly those relating to helmet use in North Carolina and that all riders receive adequate accident prevention instruction and training before taking to the roads.

If you’re unfortunate enough to have been involved in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, we strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to ensure that your legal rights are properly represented. It’s often the case that those involved in assessing accidents involving motorcycles automatically attribute some level of blame for the accident to the motorcycle rider – this can make the process of receiving financial recourse for your losses extremely difficult, given North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws.

Call us at 1-800-ACCIDENT today and schedule a free case review – “We’re With You All The Way”.

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