Who’s at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

Brown & Crouppen Law Firm

The Hurt Report, a comprehensive motorcycle safety study conducted in the United States, found that in 66% of motorcycle accidents analyzed, the other driver involved violated the motorcyclists right of way. This statistic indicates that rider error alone is not the primary cause of most motorcycle accidents. The study also highlighted that the most common cause of motorcycle accidents involving other vehicles was the failure of drivers to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic.

CTA popup six things to do after an auto accident
CTA popup six things to do after an auto accident

Motorcycle accidents can have severe consequences, often resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. Understanding the factors contributing to these accidents is essential for improving road safety. One crucial aspect to consider is the question of fault.

Determining who is responsible for motorcycle accidents is complex, influenced by various factors such as rider behavior, other road users, and environmental conditions. This article delves into the topic to shed light on the percentage of motorcycle accidents where riders are at fault while also considering other contributing factors.

Understanding the Role & Responsibilities of Motorcyclists

Motorcycle riders have a crucial role in ensuring their safety on the roads. However, it is essential to recognize that not all motorcycle accidents are solely the riders’ fault. While rider behavior can contribute to accidents, external factors such as road conditions, weather, or the actions of other road users can as well.

Common rider-related factors that can contribute to accidents include:

  • Speeding.
  • Reckless maneuvering.
  • Impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs.
  • Failure to use appropriate safety gear.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics, Facts, and Figures

According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, 5,579 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes (a 10.6% increase from the previous year).

Additional data includes:

  • 53% of all motorcycles involved in 2022 Missouri fatal crashes collided with another motor vehicle in transport (data from Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety).
  • Injuries impacted 82,528 motorcyclists in 2020, a 2-percent decrease from 83,814 in 2019 (data from NHTSA).
  • In states without universal helmet laws, 57 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2020 were not wearing helmets, compared to 11 percent in States with universal helmet laws. Furthermore, in 2020 only 19 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico required helmet use for all motorcyclists. Missouri is included in the 19 States even though their helmet law changed in August 2020 to only require helmets for a subset of motorcyclists (data from NHTSA)
  • The average settlement amount for motorcycle accident cases is approximately $79,300. However, each case is unique, and there are many factors that can affect the value of a case.
  • Most motorcycle accident case settle with 6 to 12 months from the date of the accident. However, some may take longer due to medical treatment or complex litigation. 

Top 10 Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

  • Distracted driving: Drivers distracted by their phones, passengers, or other factors may fail to notice motorcycles on the road, leading to collisions.
  • Failure to yield: Motorists often fail to deliver the right of way to motorcycles at intersections or when changing lanes, resulting in accidents.
  • Unsafe lane changes: Drivers who change lanes without properly checking blind spots or failing to signal can collide with motorcycles in adjacent streets.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed reduces the reaction time for riders and drivers, making it difficult to avoid accidents or control the bike effectively.
  • Impaired driving: Operating a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times, significantly increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Lack of visibility: Motorcycles are smaller than cars, especially in blind spots. Drivers who fail to see motorcycles or misjudge their speed and distance may cause accidents.
  • Lane splitting: In situations where lane splitting is legal, motorcyclists passing between lanes of slow or stopped traffic are at risk of accidents if drivers are not attentive or unaware of their presence.
  • Poor road conditions: Uneven pavement, potholes, debris, or oil spills can pose more significant risks to motorcycles due to reduced stability, leading to loss of control and accidents.
  • Inexperienced riders: Lack of experience and insufficient training can lead to poor decision-making, overestimation of skills, and inability to handle unexpected situations, increasing the likelihood of motorcycle accidents.
  • Failure to use proper safety gear: Not wearing a helmet, protective clothing, or other safety gear increases the risk of severe injuries in the event of an accident.

Get Help from the Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Brown & Crouppen Law Firm

If a motorcycle accident has injured you or a loved one, get help from a Brown & Crouppen Law Firm lawyer. Our motorcycle accident lawyers can help you build a strong claim and recover compensation for damages.

Getting started with your case is straightforward. Call 888-795-0694 for a free case evaluation, or find out if you have a claim online. Our attorneys operate on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning there are no upfront costs or legal fees – we only get paid if you win. With over 250+ legal professionals and offices in St. LouisKansas City, and other locations throughout the Midwest, our firm can help you fight and build a strong case.


Brown and Crouppen Law firm Logo
CTA popup
Unlock Our FREE Auto Accident Checklist

Hurt in an auto accident? Sign up for our newsletter to receive a FREE auto accident checklist and guide written by the attorneys at Brown & Crouppen Law Firm to help jump-start your recovery.

Text with a live representative
Text “GETBC” to 314-222-2222
Standard rates apply