Is the Motorcyclist or Other Driver At-Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?


August 20, 2013

While there are many situations where drivers of passenger cars, SUVs and other vehicles can cause a collision with a motorcyclist, sometimes the motorcyclist can cause a serious collision.  If a motorcyclist cuts off a car when changing lanes, the driver of the car may suddenly veer into an adjacent traffic lane or lock up the brakes in an effort to avoid colliding with the motorcycle.  This type of situation can lead to terrible injuries for occupants of the car, occupants of other vehicles and the motorcyclist.  While speeding is an unsafe practice no matter what vehicle someone is driving, traveling at recklessly high speeds on a motorcycle can easily turn into a serious multi-vehicle accident.

A recent report by ABC News regarding motorcyclists reveals precisely the type of motorcycle operation that makes the roadways unsafe for everyone.  Four motorcycles were clocked driving at nearly 140 mph in a 60 mph zone according to the ABC report.  Fortunately, this specific incident did not lead to a deadly collision, but this type of reckless operation of a motorcycle can lead to severe injuries that result in impaired cognitive functioning, paralysis, dismemberment and fatalities. Of course most bikers are careful, conscientious drivers; we are discussing those situations where negiglence occurs.

Sometimes motorcyclists may be tempted to assume that reckless riding does not endanger others because of the relatively small size and bulk of a motorcycle.  However, this view fails to take into consideration that when motorcyclists engage in reckless practices like speeding, driving under the influence, weaving through traffic or talking on a cell phone, other drivers may need to respond with evasive maneuvers so that others are put at risk of injury.

Although we do not typically think about motorcycle riders as being liable for injuries suffered by those in motor vehicles, this is certainly a plausible scenario when motorcyclists fail to take reasonable care to avoid collisions or disregard the traffic safety rules that apply to all motorists.  In other words, both drivers of two wheel vehicles and four wheel vehicles can be liable for a collision based on the conduct of each party.

The question of who is more typically at-fault in crashes involving cars and motorcycles was addressed recently by a study conducted by the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research.  The study concluded that in the majority of cases the driver of the other vehicle is responsible for causing a crash with a motorcycle.  The driver of the passenger vehicle often fails to yield right-of-way to the smaller vehicle according to the researchers.  The authors of the study reviewed ten years of motorcycle accident data and found that the motorcyclist is only at-fault forty percent of the time.  However, motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in a single vehicle crash because of unsafe operation of a bike.  While single vehicle collisions account for fewer than twenty percent of collisions involving cars, trucks or SUVs, they account for over a third of motorcycle accidents.

At Montlick and Associates, we are committed to taking affirmative steps to protect families, friends and neighbors from reckless or negligent drivers.  Our Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia, the Southeast and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state of Georgia. 

No matter where you are located our Georgia personal injury attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.