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Many of Arizona’s motorcycle accidents happen in Maricopa County. In 2022, 1,906 bikers had accidents, accounting for more than half of Arizona’s motorcycle crashes that year. A motorcycle accident causes more than an inconvenience. Most result in injuries; some lead to fatalities.

Everyone makes mistakes. Fortunately, many accidents are avoidable. These are eight of the most common events our motorcycle accident lawyers in Phoenix have seen that can lead to a collision, along with ways to avoid them.

Motorcycle Accident Causes From Bikers’ Actions

motorcycle accident causes

Bikers can help prevent crashes by avoiding these behaviors.

1. Speeding

While many people habitually go at least five miles per hour over the speed limit, you are technically breaking Arizona law by riding faster than the posted speed limit. Arizona also has absolute speed limits:

  • You cannot exceed 65 miles per hour on a highway outside an urbanized area.
  • You cannot exceed 35 miles per hour on a motorcycle without proper headlights.

You can avoid these crashes simply by following the speed limit. Cruising over the speed limit is tempting on a bike but can also be dangerous. Motorcycles are especially susceptible to accidents at higher speeds because they are more likely to tip over or lose control on uneven surfaces.

Speeding Causes the Most Accidents Related to Biker Behavior

If you need more encouragement to follow the speed limit, remember that speeding is what causes most motorcycle accidents related to biker behavior. It caused almost 21% of all Arizona motorcycle accidents in 2022. To bring those statistics to life, consider that the percentage represents 618 accidents. More than 500 were injury crashes, and 49 were fatal crashes.

2. Failing To Stay in the Proper Lane

Many people love motorcycles because they are fast and economical — but small and easy to maneuver. Your gasoline goes much further on a smaller machine, and getting in and out of tight spaces is easy, especially in crowded areas. Unfortunately, this makes it tempting to create your own personal lane in an effort to bypass traffic, a practice known as lane splitting, which is illegal in Arizona. 

Failing to stay in the designated lane is one of the leading motorcycle accident causes in this state. Staying in the designated lane is another straightforward way to avoid lane-splitting crashes.

3. Following Too Closely

Following cars too closely can cause motorcycle accidents

The three-car rule is a commonly used term for calculating the appropriate distance between two moving cars. In general, there should be enough room for three cars the size of your vehicle to fit between you and the car in front. This allows ample time for your car to come to a complete stop, avoiding an accident. 

The same practice is recommended for motorcycle operators but is sometimes unheeded. Driving much too close to other vehicles can lead to serious and fatal crashes. It can be tempting to closely follow the vehicle in front of you, but giving yourself enough space can avoid a collision.

Accidents Related to Bikers’ Physical Conditions

When you operate any type of motor vehicle, you must be awake, alert, and of sound mind with sharp reflexes. Anything that impacts your overall physical condition can slow your response time and increase your risk of an accident.

4. Alcohol Use

Drinking and driving can cause a motorcycle accident

Drinking alcohol is another one of the top motorcycle accident causes. Because access to this drug is so easy, many operators on the road often have some amount in their system.

While there are certainly legal limits when it comes to blood alcohol content, a better guideline is gauging your own personal response to alcohol. If you feel even the slightest buzz, you should avoid riding until you are sober.

5. Illegal Drug Use

In 2022, many serious Maricopa County motorcycle accidents occurred because the operator was under the influence of some type of illegal drug. Much like alcohol, these chemical substances can cloud your judgment and lead to feelings of invincibility, which results in reckless and dangerous behavior.

A straightforward way to avoid a motorcycle accident caused by drugs is to steer clear of illegal substances and avoid operating a motorcycle while under the influence.

Road Conditions That Can Cause Motorcycle Accidents

Many times, motorcycle accident causes are completely outside of your control. Some crashes are the direct result of less-than-favorable road conditions.

6. Wet or Slick Road Surfaces

Rain or recent spills lead to wet patches on the road that can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists. They significantly reduce the grip of the tire tread against the pavement, making it much too easy to slide your bike or lose control and end up in a serious accident. 

Wet roads are a leading issue when it comes to motorcycle crashes. Other debris on the road, such as mud, gravel, or sand, can also impact tire grip and are other significant reasons for motorcycle accidents.

You can safeguard against poor road conditions by:

  • Slowing down
  • Keeping a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Stopping instead of swerving if possible

You can also avoid unnecessary distractions while riding on hazardous roads.

Other Drivers’ Actions That Cause Motorcycle Accidents

As a motorcycle operator, it’s your responsibility to learn the proper way to handle a bike, obey all traffic laws, and use safe driving practices. Even so, drivers’ actions can cause motorcycle accidents. In 2022, almost half of these crashes happened with no improper action on the biker’s part.

7. Negligent Behaviors

Distractions abound in today’s society, often leading to negligent driving. Behaviors such as operating a cell phone, eating, and wearing headphones distract drivers from what’s happening around them, making them negligent on the road. These practices are dangerous but common and can cause a motorcycle accident.

The best way to stay safe around negligent drivers is to ride defensively. Watch for unsafe driving patterns, such as speeding or swerving, and steer clear of those vehicles.

8. Traffic Violations

Another one of the leading reasons for motorcycle accidents is the failure of other drivers to abide by the rules of the road. Exceeding the speed limit, failing to yield, refusing to stop at red lights or stop signs, and passing in a no-pass zone are punishable offenses that break the law and put everyone else on the road at risk, including motorcyclists. 

Always remember that other drivers may fail to follow the rules. Defensive riding is your best strategy; watch for risky behavior that may endanger you.

Getting Legal Help and Support for All Kinds of Motorcycle Accident Causes

In 2022, Maricopa County motorcycle crashes resulted in a staggering 1,473 injuries and 134 fatalities. Even if you are a responsible driver, having a reputable legal team on your side is a good idea. While there are numerous and diverse motorcycle accident causes, our experienced team of Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Sargon Law Group can help with them all. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support and guide you after a crash.