Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

There’s some evidence that riding a motorcycle improves your posture, burns calories, reduces the risk of diabetes, and strengthens your muscles and knees.

Unfortunately, despite the many benefits of riding a motorcycle in New York, too many New Yorkers are reluctant to share the road with bikers respectfully.

Behavioral studies have shown that people who primarily drive cars, trucks, and SUVs often regard bikers as dangerous, annoying, or being “on their own” when it comes to safety. This stems from a misguided notion that bikers are somehow tempting fate or breaking the law.

The truth, however, is that motorcyclists have the same right to use New York’s roads as any other motorist. And motorcycles can be a very safe and reliable means of transportation.

In fact, in the majority of New York motorcycle accidents, it is other drivers — not the bikers — who are at fault. Those misguided assumptions and attitudes about bikers are at the core of the problem. And then there are the physical challenges: motorcycles are simply much smaller than other cars, and they offer less physical protection for their drivers. All of this can unfairly subject bikers to dangerous conditions.

Here are some of the more common causes of motorcycles accidents in New York:

Left-Turn Accidents

Drivers who don’t have much experience with motorcycles tend to misjudge a motorcycle’s traveling speed. Alternatively, they might fail to look for or notice the oncoming motorcycle in the first place. This leads to sudden and dangerous left turns directly into the biker’s path.

Unsafe Lane Changes

Drivers do not always realize that their blind spot for motorcycles is bigger than for other vehicles. When they fail to use turn signals and/or look adequately for a biker before merging or changing lanes, they put motorcyclists in danger.

Parked Car Doors

It might seem odd to think of a parked car as a mortal threat, but they rank as one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in New York. When vehicle occupants open a car door into a motorcycle’s path, serious or fatal accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.

While bikers should be cautious around parked cars, there is often no way for the motorcyclist to anticipate that a car is occupied or that a door is about to open. It is essential, then, that drivers and passengers look carefully for motorcycles before opening a door.


Speeding remains a leading cause of collision across all types of auto accidents, and motorcycle accidents are no exception. Higher speeds are associated with more forceful impacts and more serious injuries.

While speeding can cause catastrophic damages in any collision, the force of impact is especially concerning for motorcyclists, who do not have the same physical barrier of protection that other motorists have.

Texting & Distracted Driving

Texting while driving is responsible for an increasing number of traffic injuries and fatalities in Kingston, Ulster County, and the State of New York as a whole.

Given that drivers tend to overlook or ignore motorcyclists even when they are otherwise attentive, any type of distraction can make a driver even less likely to notice a motorcycle in the vicinity.

Tailgating & Sudden Stops

Rear-end accidents are among the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in New York. Given the difference in weight and size between the two vehicles, the force of a car or truck rear-ending a motorcycle can be devastating.

Drunk & Drugged Driving

There is never any excuse for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications that induce drowsiness or impair judgment. If you’ve been injured by a drunk or drugged driver in New York, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help.

Lane Splitting

“Lane splitting” refers to the practice of driving a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic. While some states allow this practice (and motorcycle experts disagree as to whether it is safe), lane splitting is illegal in New York. It is also considered one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in New York.

If you were injured while lane splitting in New York, you might be concerned about being liable for your own accident. However, even if you were partly at fault for the crash, you may still be able to recover (at least partially) for your injuries under state personal injury law.

A motorcycle accident lawyer at O’Connor and Partners can help you understand how the law applies to the specific circumstances of your accident.

Running Red Lights or Stop Signs

Intersections are a common site of motorcycle accidents. Drivers should be vigilant when passing through any traffic light, stop sign, or intersection, always looking carefully for motorcycles and other vehicles.

Dangerous Road Conditions

When poor road maintenance is to blame for a motorcycle accident, you may have a claim against the government. When other drivers or companies leave hazardous objects or debris in the roadway, you may also have a claim against those third parties. These dangerous road conditions are two of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in New York.

Defective Motorcycles, Parts, Safety Gear, or Accessories

The companies that manufacture motorcycles, tires, helmets, safety gear, bike parts, and accessories have a duty to ensure their safety before putting them on the market. If you were injured because of a defective product, you may have a claim for compensation based on personal injury and/or product liability law.

Talk to a Kingston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer: Free, Confidential Consultation

If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident in New York, our office would like to help you navigate the claims process and fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve.

O’Connor and Partners is a Kingston motorcycle accident law firm that fights hard to maximize compensation for injured bikers and their families.

If you choose to hire us after your consultation, we will not charge you a fee unless we get you money first.

If you can’t come to us, we will come to you. Just contact us online or call 845-303-8777 to talk with an experienced Kingston motorcycle accident lawyer today.

by O'Connor & Partners, PLLC
Last updated on - Originally published on

Posted in: Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accident