Motorcycle accidents are some of the most horrifying experiences for anyone involved. Many are often fatal or cause serious injuries due to how little protection motorcycle riders have.

What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?

The risks of motorcycles are certainly well-documented, but that doesn’t stop riders from enjoying their two-wheeled vehicles. With this in mind, you want to at least make yourself as safe as possible considering the inherent danger posed by riding a motorcycle.

A great starting point for this is learning what causes motorcycle accidents. This will help you understand what situations require extra attention and where your vulnerabilities are.

Unfortunately, motorcycle crashes can be caused by a rider or the other drivers around them. As a result, you must always be vigilant to avoid an accident caused by another driver’s negligence.

To help you stay safe, we’ll explain five reasons why motorcycle accidents happen below.

Poor Visibility

One of the most challenging factors is poor visibility, specifically of other drivers being unable to see motorcyclists.

Cars and motorcycles have many differences, but arguably the most obvious is their size. Motorcycles are just much smaller than other cars.

The other vehicles on the road are mainly expecting to see other cars. This is what they’ll look for and they may not notice a smaller motorcycle on the road. Not only that, but bikes are harder to see.

Putting this together, other drivers have a difficult time noticing motorcycle riders. If this is paired with conditions with further poor visibility like heavy rain, fog, or nighttime, then this makes it even riskier.

Other drivers do cause an alarming number of motorcycle accidents. Considering this is out of your control as a rider, you must always be driving defensively to account for the errors and poor visibility of other vehicles.

Lack of Awareness

A lack of awareness, by motorcycle riders or other drivers, also causes many motorcycle accidents.

Let’s start with other drivers. Driver distraction is at an all-time high due to smartphones and other interactive technology.

With people paying less attention to the road, this makes them less likely to notice changes in their surroundings.

They may not notice you creeping up alongside them and suddenly merge into your lane. Alternatively, they may not look up quickly enough to brake before hitting you.

Unfortunately, this is also out of your control as a motorcyclist. All you can do is pay more attention to your end and be ready to make proactive maneuvers.

Speaking of which, a lack of awareness on a motorcycle rider’s end will also cause accidents. If you aren’t closely watching the road, then you may not see a road hazard or have time to react to an oblivious driver.

While it may not seem fair, you have a greater responsibility for your safety while riding a motorcycle. You must assume that others can and will make mistakes that endanger you. Because of this, you should always practice extra care in high-risk situations.


Recklessness is another pitfall that causes motorcycle crashes.

Many people that choose to ride a motorcycle do so for the unmatched sense of freedom. With the wind rushing at you and a lot of power at your hands, riding a bike is a thrilling experience.

With this experience comes the temptation to be reckless. It may not seem reckless when you’re doing it, but it always is.

Great examples of reckless behavior on a motorcycle include speeding, popping wheelies, riding in between lanes, rapidly switching lanes, or tailgating.

None of these behaviors are necessary and they directly increase the risk of an accident. They make you unpredictable, reduce your control over your bike, and are difficult to execute.

You must always be safe when riding a motorcycle or you will crash. Being reckless makes the likelihood of this skyrocket.


Any form of impairment directly contributes to a higher likelihood of crashing. This includes impairment from drugs, alcohol, or fatigue.

Another key difference between motorcycles and cars is that a car is much easier to handle. Motorcycles require balance and have less precision with their movement.

Even with that in mind, you can’t drive a car while being impaired. Your judgment is affected, your motor skills are decreased, and you have slower reaction times.

As a result, you’re likely to drive at inconsistent speeds, swerve, fail to stay in your lane, or run a red light. These all make an accident highly likely.

Now take how ineffective you are at driving while impaired and consider how much worse it would be on a motorcycle. If you are drunk, you cannot effectively control your bike.

Making matters worse, it makes you more likely to be reckless. Impairment and recklessness together are one of the deadliest duos on the road.

Remember this and never operate any vehicle while under any form of impairment. It’s not worth the risk.

Rider Inexperience

Finally, rider inexperience is one of the likeliest reasons to cause an accident.

To be a good motorcyclist, you need to practice. It’s a skill that you can’t theorize about. You have to get on a bike and hit the road to learn how it works.

Even after going through basic training and passing your motorcycle test, you still have no idea what you’re doing. You have a rudimentary idea of how to operate your bike, but you haven’t experienced enough real-life situations yet.

How this leads to accidents is that you lack the knowledge needed to avoid them. Some situations will require different responses from you, with the wrong choice leading to a crash.

The other side of this is that you’ll lack respect for your bike. Your motorcycle is incredibly powerful and you may not have any idea just how much. Many new riders buy overpowered motorcycles that provide more power than anyone should ever need.

Having access to this only increases the risk of an accident. You may accidentally accelerate far harder than you intend or fail to understand how to brake correctly.

Even with several years of experience, you’ll still regularly learn new things that improve your safety. Rider inexperience is a major obstacle that you must respect. Don’t push the limits and always take it slowly.

Closing Thoughts

Thousands of motorcycle accidents happen annually and many are deadly. However, most of these are caused by avoidable situations. Motorcycle riders must always consider these factors and act accordingly.

In particular, motorcycle accidents are caused by poor visibility, a lack of awareness, recklessness, impairment, and rider inexperience.

Riding a motorcycle will always put you at risk, but you can reduce your chances of an accident by always driving defensively. Remember to resist any temptations, know your limits, and always prioritize your safety.