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Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles

motorcycle accident with car

Motorcycles are a popular means of transportation in California, especially in Los Angeles. With heavy traffic, a sprawling metro area, warm sunny weather, and favorable lane-splitting laws, Los Angeles is perhaps the place where owning and riding a motorcycle as a daily commuter makes more sense than anywhere else in the world.

Unfortunately, with thousands of registered motorcycles in the city, plus all the careless and distracted drivers on the road, Los Angeles is also the site of more motorcycle accidents than any other metro area. Motorcycle drivers sustain more severe injuries from a collision than car drivers because they don’t have that protective shell of metal around them.

Learning more about the common causes of motorcycle accidents can help you drive defensively and protect yourself on the roadways. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash, a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles can help.

What Are the Leading Causes of LA Motorcycle Accidents?

No matter how safely you drive, a moment of negligence or recklessness on the part of another driver can cause a catastrophic crash, such as:

  • Lane-splitting
  • Poor road conditions or road hazards
  • Cars or trucks making left-hand turns
  • Head-on collisions
  • Drivers operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol

We’ll go into detail about these causes a little bit more. Your personal injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you understand which party or parties may be at fault for your collision.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting refers to a motorcycle operator driving between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars, effectively creating a lane for themselves. Lane splitting is illegal in many states, but not California.

The California Vehicle Code defines lane splitting. This happens when a rider operates a motorcycle between slowed or stopped vehicles that share the same lane. Lane splitting can happen on either divided and undivided streets, highways, or roads.

There is a debate about the safety of lane splitting. There are certainly some obvious dangers with lane splitting.  The biggest danger to a motorcycle driver is a car suddenly changing lanes into a faster-moving lane, not seeing the motorcyclist, and hitting them. There is also less room for a motorcyclist to maneuver in the narrower space between two lanes. Car drivers may not anticipate a motorcyclist driving in between lanes and therefore may not be looking for them when changing lanes.

On the other hand, there are also risks associated with a motorcycle sitting in stop-and-go traffic. Lane splitting at moderate speeds may be safer than the motorcyclist driving behind a vehicle. It may reduce the risk of a rider being rear-ended in stop-and-go traffic, since the motorcyclist is often harder to see.

Many people do not fully understand the rules and nuances of lane splitting, and automatically assume the motorcyclist is at fault for any collison. There is a well-known bias that exists against motorcyclists. That’s why it is important for all riders to have an experienced and aggressive lawyer in their corner to help defend their rights when they are involved in a lane-splitting accident.

Poor Road Conditions or Road Hazards

From uneven surfaces to potholes and cracks, road hazards can be more dangerous for motorcycle riders than drivers of regular cars or trucks.

Los Angeles often has road construction, too, which can be tricky to navigate, as people may be taking detours and not paying as much attention to other drivers on the road. The balance required to stay on the bike over poor road conditions makes it harder for a motorcycle driver to avoid a collision. Loose sand or gravel on the roadway in construction areas can pose a huge risk to riders.

If the city or county of Los Angeles is responsible for not maintaining the roadways, or for unsafe construction zones, then they may be to blame for a motorcycle accident.

Head-On Collisions

This type of crash is just how it sounds — another vehicle collides with the motorcycle rider from the front. These types of collisions account for more than half of all motorcycle-related fatalities, as there is often no time or opportunity for the rider to lay the bike down. These collisions occur most often when another driver runs a stoplight or tries to beat a red light.

Left-Hand Turns

Cars or trucks making left-hand turns may strike a motorcycle driver driving straight through an intersection.

Oftentimes, drivers may not use their blinkers, which makes it hard or impossible for a responsible rider to anticipate the turn. Or, they may simply not see a motorcyclist if they’re trying to overtake a car. The rider may often be in the car driver’s blind spot.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is incredibly dangerous but sadly, not uncommon on the streets of Los Angeles.

A drunk driver may not have fast enough reflexes to avoid striking a motorcyclist or might be driving recklessly and speeding. Because of a motorcycle’s small size, they’re harder for car drivers to see, especially when the driver is intoxicated.

What Kind of Injuries Does a Motorcycle Collision Cause?

It’s not uncommon for victims of motorcycle accidents to suffer significant harm. Although helmets are required in California, they can’t protect drivers 100% from concussions or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Broken limbs are also common, as are “road rash” or “degloving” injuries, when the top layers of the dermis and epidermis of your skin are scraped away.  Any rider cringes at the prospect of these sorts of injuries.

Medical bills after a motorcycle accident can quickly add up, including emergency care, surgeries to correct physical damage, or physical therapy and aftercare. For responsible riders who are injured in an accident because of another driver’s negligence, hiring a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles is essential to ensuring that they get full and fair compensation for all of their injuries and damages.

We offer free consultations and have a track record of providing our clientele with the compensation they rightfully deserve. If you think we might be able to assist you with your legal issues, we’re patiently awaiting your call. You can reach us by calling at 877-557-4221.