When a motorcycle death occurs, the events leading up to the crash will be put under a great deal of scrutiny. In many cases, responsibility for an accident is shared between the rider and any other drivers, but not always. Because they are so compact and agile, drivers often don’t anticipate bikes when changing lanes, making turns or opening doors after parking. Unfortunately, the extreme difference in mass between a bike and automobile is enough to cause severe, often fatal injuries.


Nearly half of all fatal bike accidents involve speeding or alcohol, and riders will be responsible for any crashes that occur if they are under the influence or traveling at unsafe speeds. Riders may also share responsibility for an accident if they are engaging in “lane splitting” when the crash occurs. Lane splitting occurs when a rider maneuvers between lanes of traffic, and though it is legal in many states, not all areas look favorably on it.

However, there are a number of accident causes that have nothing to do with the rider, and everything to do with other drivers expressing negligence.

These accidents include:

Making dangerous left hand turns

Drivers making left-hand turns into bikes are a major reason for serious accidents. In fact, this is the single most common cause of accidents involving cars and bikes. Most left turn crashes are the result of motorists not paying attention to any oncoming bikes, not seeing them because they are smaller, or misjudging how much time they have to turn in front of the rider. Bikes can also be hidden by other objects or traffic, making it impossible for a driver to see the bike until the last moment.

The driver making a left-hand turn will almost always be found responsible for any injury that occurs as a result of the crash.

Drivers rear-ending bikes

Fender benders are extremely frequent and are usually no big deal when it involves two full-size vehicles. When a car rear ends a bike, though, the resulting damage can be severe. Drivers who are speeding or not paying attention to the small profile of bikes may not be able to stop in time before ramming a bike and possibly throwing the driver into traffic.

In most states, rear-ending another motorist involves no doubt liability, so drivers will automatically be held responsible if they collide with a rider from behind.

Opening a car door into a rider

Drivers have a responsibility to check their surroundings before opening their doors. If the driver does not see the bike approaching, they may extend their door into the path of a rider, possibly resulting in a deadly collision.

When an accident results in a motorcycle rider’s death, loved ones might be able to attain compensation if the accident was due to the other driver’s negligence. A personal injury attorney can help the victim’s family determine if this is the case, and help pursue a settlement on their behalf.