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What is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents? This is a common question among residents of Houston Texas.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, about a third of motorcycle accidents that led to death happened at an intersection. As a result, they conclude that the data points to distracted driving being the most common cause of motorcycle accidents in Texas.

Generally, the following are universally accepted as the main causes of motorcycle accidents in the country:

  1. Distracted Driving
  2. Lane Splitting and Filtering
  3. Speeding
  4. Drunk Driving
  5. Poor Road Conditions
  6. Inexperienced Riders

What is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents? Distracted Driving

When it comes to motorcycle safety, paying full attention while operating a vehicle is crucial not only for car drivers but also for motorcycles sharing the road with them. Distractions significantly increase the likelihood of collisions involving motorcycles due to their smaller size and reduced visibility compared to cars.

  • Mobile Phone Use: One prominent form of distracted driving is using mobile phones while behind the wheel. Drivers who text, browse social media platforms or use GPS functions take their eyes off the road longer than necessary – easily leading to serious accidents. Even a few seconds of inattention can have catastrophic consequences.
  • Eating or Drinking: Another prevalent distraction is drivers eating or drinking while operating a vehicle. Juggling food and beverages requires physical concentration that takes attention away from the road. Operating motorcycles with one hand may lead to impaired control, resulting in sudden loss of balance or swerving into other lanes.
  • Talking to Passengers: Engaging in conversations with passengers is an everyday occurrence during car rides, but it can prove dangerous for motorcyclists. Turning their head towards passengers instead of keeping their eyes focused on the road poses a significant threat as it reduces reaction time and awareness of their surroundings.

Impact on Motorcyclists:

Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable when encountering distracted drivers due to their lack of protection against impacts. A momentary lapse in attention from another driver could result in severe injuries or even fatalities for motorcyclists involved in collisions.

And while the distracted driver may not get severe injuries, they may be held liable. Through a lawsuit filed by an accident lawyer in Houston, they may be forced to cater for any injuries or suffering that the accident may cause.

To combat distracted driving-related motorcycle accidents, it is crucial for both motorcyclists and car drivers alike to follow these preventative measures:

  • Put away electronic devices before getting behind the wheel.
  • If you need to use your phone or GPS device for navigation or emergency purposes, pull over safely until you have completed your task.
  • Stay focused on operating your vehicle and avoid engaging in any activities that could divert your attention.

By eliminating distractions and staying alert while operating a vehicle, we can reduce motorcycle accidents caused by distracted driving significantly.

Lane Splitting and Filtering:

Lane splitting refers to motorcycles riding between lanes during slow-moving traffic, while lane filtering occurs when motorcycles maneuver through stationary or slow-moving traffic by moving between or alongside vehicles. While these actions may seem convenient in congested traffic, they can also increase the risk of motorcycle accidents.

Here are some important points to consider when discussing lane splitting and filtering:

  1. Limited Visibility: Motorcycles riding between lanes or alongside other vehicles might not be easily seen by drivers due to blind spots, especially when changing lanes or making turns.
  2. Sudden Lane Changes: When a motorcycle is moving between lanes, sudden lane changes by other drivers could lead to collisions if they are not aware of the presence of motorcycles nearby.
  3. Lack of Experience: Inexperienced motorcyclists attempting to maneuver through tight spaces in traffic may lack the necessary skills and judgment required for safe lane splitting/filtering.

To avoid accidents related to lane splitting and filtering, both motorcyclists and vehicle drivers should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Motorcyclists should exercise caution before attempting lane splitting/filtering.
  • Stay within a reasonable speed limit while navigating through traffic.
  • Use turn signals for better visibility and alert surrounding motorists about your intentions.
  • Car drivers should always check their mirrors before changing lanes or making moves that could potentially affect motorcyclists near them.

By promoting awareness and adhering to proper road etiquette, we can reduce the incidence of motorcycle accidents caused by improper lane splitting/filtering.


When trying to answer the question of what is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, you cannot avoid talking about speeding.

 Speed-related accidents involving motorcycles continue to be a significant concern on our roads. The higher rate at which motorcycles travel compared to cars makes speeding particularly dangerous for riders.

Here’s why speeding is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents:

  1. Reduced Reaction Time: Higher speeds limit a rider’s ability to react effectively in unexpected situations like sudden stops or obstacles on the road, increasing their chances of losing control over their motorcycle.
  2. Increased Severity of Impact: The force generated during high-speed collisions magnifies potential injuries sustained by the motorcyclist involved, potentially leading to severe, life-threatening consequences.
  3. Difficulty in Judging Speed: Car drivers may struggle to judge the speed at which motorcycles are traveling due to their smaller size. This lack of judgment can result in dangerous moments when cars attempt maneuvers without allowing sufficient space for the motorcyclist.

To avoid getting on the wrong side of the law, or being held liable for an accident, a good motorcycle accident lawyer would advise you to embrace these safety measures:

  • Always obey posted speed limits and adjust your driving speed accordingly.
  • Maintain a safe distance between vehicles, allowing ample time for proper reaction and braking.
  • Take into account unfavorable road conditions and traffic congestion that could affect your maneuverability.

By emphasizing responsible behavior on the roads and discouraging speeding, we can contribute to safer environments for both motorcyclists and other motorists.

Drunk Driving:

Drunk driving is often an obvious answer to the question what is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents? It poses a significant threat not only to motorcyclists but also to everyone else on the road. Driving under the influence significantly impairs an individual’s ability to safely operate any vehicle, leading to heightened risks of accidents occurring.

Here’s why drunk driving is such a major cause of motorcycle accidents:

  1. Impaired Judgment and Reflexes: Alcohol affects cognitive function, impairing decision-making abilities necessary for safe driving. Furthermore, reflexes slow down considerably when under the influence, reducing response times needed behind the handlebars.
  2. Decreased Visibility: Alcohol consumption causes blurred vision and diminished night vision capabilities, making it extremely challenging for intoxicated drivers – including motorcyclists – to see clearly in low-light situations or while riding at darker hours.
  3. Increased Risk-Taking Behavior: Alcohol lowers inhibitions and often leads individuals who consume it into taking unnecessary risks they would avoid otherwise. These reckless behaviors substantially raise the potential for crashes involving motorcycles.

To curb drunk-driving related motorcycle accidents effectively, these preventative steps must be followed:

  • Designate a sober driver if you plan on drinking alcohol.
  • Utilize rideshare services or public transportation to ensure a safe journey home if you are unable to drive.
  • Always be aware of other drivers’ behavior and look out for signs of drunk driving, such as erratic lane changes, inconsistent speed, or swerving.

By promoting responsible alcohol consumption and holding individuals accountable for their actions while using roads, we can reduce the number of motorcycle accidents caused by drunk driving.

What is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents? Poor Road Conditions is a Top Contender:

Poor road conditions contribute significantly to motorcycle accidents. While motorcyclists must stay vigilant at all times, certain factors out of their control create hazardous situations that lead to accidents.

Here are some common poor road conditions that frequently cause motorcycle accidents:

  1. Potholes and Uneven Surfaces: When roads are poorly maintained or contain significant potholes, motorcyclists may lose control when navigating through them. The unstable nature of two-wheeled vehicles makes them particularly susceptible to crashes in these instances.
  2. Limited Traction: Slippery surfaces due to wet weather conditions, oil spills, loose gravel, or sand can impair tires’ grip on the road. This reduced traction increases the risk of sliding or losing control during maneuvering.
  3. Lack of Proper Signage: Accurate signage is crucial for both motorists and motorcyclists alike. When signage is absent or unclear regarding speed limits and upcoming hazards (sharp turns, merging lanes), it becomes difficult for riders to navigate safely.

To address poor road conditions effectively and minimize related motorcycle accidents:

  • Reporting any observed hazards like potholes or dangerous roadway features promptly.
  • Staying alert for potentially hazardous areas where reduced traction might occur (e.g., intersections after rain).
  • Adjusting riding techniques appropriately when encountering challenging road surfaces.

Inexperienced Riders:

If you look at the statistics that aim to answer the question of What is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, you will find inexperience among motorcycle riders is a critical factor contributing to most accidents. Novice motorcyclists often lack the skills and knowledge necessary to handle various scenarios encountered while riding, making them more vulnerable to accidents.

Here’s why inexperienced riders are at greater risk of motorcycle accidents:

  1. Lack of Defensive Riding Skills: Proper defensive driving techniques help motorcyclists anticipate dangerous situations and react accordingly. Inexperienced riders may not possess these essential skills, potentially leading to collisions or loss of control.
  2. Difficulty Handling Unexpected Traffic Situations: New riders might feel overwhelmed when faced with unpredictable circumstances like sudden lane changes by other vehicles or navigating through complex intersections, increasing the likelihood of an accident occurring.
  3. Overestimation of Abilities: A lack of experience can result in overconfidence or underestimating the risks associated with certain maneuvers or speeds, leading new riders into situations they are ill-equipped to handle safely.

To prevent motorcycle accidents stemming from inexperience, and to avoid the financial burden of lawsuits filed by accident claim lawyers on behalf of victims:

  • Enroll in comprehensive rider training programs that teach both fundamental and advanced riding techniques.
  • Gradually build up riding skills by starting with less challenging road conditions and progressively increasing difficulty levels as confidence grows.
  • Seek guidance from experienced motorcyclists who can provide valuable advice regarding safe riding practices.

By actively engaging in proper training methods and emphasizing the importance of gaining experience gradually, the number of motorcycle accidents caused by inexperienced riders can be reduced significantly.

About the Author


Husain Law Firm

Nomaan K. Husain is the founder of Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., a Houston-based law firm specializing in Litigation, Immigration, and Aviation. He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law, with law licenses in Texas, New York, and other jurisdictions. Mr. Husain serves in key community roles, including as Commissioner on President Biden's White House Commission on Fellowships and Chairman of Houston's Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Board. He's been recognized with several awards, such as the Global Leader Award from the Houston World Affairs Council.

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