What Percentage Of Motorcycle Accidents Are The Riders Fault

Roads are getting safer each day. But on the other hand, the inattentiveness of specific drivers is still causing a lot of unnecessary casualties each year in the US. The situation is such a point that citizens fear whether public roads are safe for driving. 

Motorcycles are a top contributor to this. But what percentage of motorcycle accidents are the riders fault, you ask? Around 40%. Most motorcycle crashes happen because of the responsibility of the affected rider or a motorcyclist from another bike. 

The numbers are indeed alarming. But by promoting safer road regulations and awareness, we can bring the numbers down. In this post, I’ll share why fatal crashes and accidents occur and how motorcycle riders can be more aware. 

What Percentage Of Motorcycle Accidents Are The Riders Fault

What Percentage Of Motorcycle Accidents Are The Riders Fault

A study conducted by  Indiana University Public Policy Institute in 2018 found that around 40% of fatal crashes are the rider’s fault. 

Among the remaining percentage, 58% of accidents account for another motorcyclist’s fault, leaving only 2% for other single-vehicle crashes. This means most motorcycle accidents occur either due to the responsibility of the concerned rider or the fault of another motorcycle rider. 

The reason behind this is inattentive on the drivers’ part. Another underlying issue is a lack of understanding of street laws and safety protocols. 

Where Do Most Fatal Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

Fatal motorcycle accidents occur more in some areas than others. A few contributing factors go behind this. For example:

  • Cities

Compared to the village side, urban areas see a more significant rate of bike accidents. According to NHTSA, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 60% of bike accidents occured in large cities in 2017, and the numbers have only gone up.

A big reason for this is that cities see more significant popularity of people compared to village areas. There are more people, cars, and pedestrians, which increases the likelihood of collisions. 

  • Intersections

It’s confirmed that 35% of road accidents occur at intersections. Bikes tend to take left turns across traffic thinking they’ll fit the gap. But high speed and reckless driving often cause too many accidents on intersections.

  • Non-interstate Roads

Surprisingly, more bike accidents occur on non-interstate roads than on interstate ones. This is because interstate highways are meant for traveling from one place to another as quickly as possible. 

They’re used by business people and commuters who want to get to work or other commitments without wasting time.

Non-interstate roads, on the other hand, are supposedly much quieter and emptier. Some bikers try to use this opportunity to ride at high speeds and push their vehicles. But errors are bound to happen, and crashes occur more on such roads. 

  • Southern US States

80% of motorcycle accidents occur in the southern states of the US. This includes conditions like Mississippi, which has the highest fatality rate, Texas, Florida, North & South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Arizona, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Other southern states like Nevada, Tennessee, and Alabama fall into the list too. 

The reason behind this is that these states are relatively warmer. The unbearable warm climates cause a spike in bike accidents in the summer season. But they stabilize and become better in the winter and following months. 

The Top Reasons Behind Motorcycle Accidents

The Top Reasons Behind Motorcycle Accidents
Reasons Behind Motorcycle Accidents | photo from petrarcalaw.com

Motorcycles are much more vulnerable than cars and other motor vehicles on the road. Whereas cars have a solid layer of protection on all sides, motorcycles and motorcyclists are bare. They’re more exposed to the dangers of the road, and thus they take the hardest hit to accidents. 

That being said, most accidents occur due to mishaps by the driver. The top reasons are —

  • Making Turns In Traffic

As motorcycles are small, some motorcycle operators make the mistake of making wrong turns in traffic. Making sudden left turns across ongoing traffic, thinking they’ll make the gap, is one of the biggest reasons for a motorcycle crash. 

Cars and other vehicles on the road also have a more challenging time spotting bikes, as they’re smaller and move quickly. The reduced visibility makes it difficult for car and truck drivers to react with enough time. 

  • Low Visibility & Blind Spots

To emphasize more the visibility, another significant contributing factor to motorcycle accidents is that car drivers can’t always notice them in their blind spots. The blind spots of the car are the extreme back and behind the side windows, and the rearview mirrors and overhead mirrors don’t cover that area. 

As motorcycles are compact, they blend into those areas pretty quickly. It’s harder for car and truck drivers to notice them, so many accidents occur. 

  • Uncontrolled Riding

We all know that motorcycles are fast machines, and most motorcycle enthusiasts pick a bike based on speed, noise, and maneuverability. This is fine as a hobby, but this becomes an issue when they try out stunts on public roads.

Tons of accidents occur due to careless driving on the motorist’s part. Driving at high speeds to push their vehicles to the limit, moving close to pacts, or racing other motor vehicles on the road are unhealthy practices. 

More often or not, a single mishap occurs, and a vast accident ensues. 

  • Changing Lanes Uncontrollably

Bikes are fast, so some riders change lanes too often to cut past slower traffic. Lane splitting is a bad practice that leads to unwanted collisions. If a motorcycle changes lanes too quickly while in a car’s blind spot, the car won’t notice the bike, and an accident is bound to occur. 

In many states here in the US, changing lanes too quickly is illegal under the law.

  • Natural Causes

You can’t rule out the weather and other natural uncertainties for accidents. Snowy or slipper roads paired with unsafe riding can cause slips and falls, which ensue tons of bike crashes. 

Ways To Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

With the proper awareness, it’s possible to bring motorcycle accidents down on a large scale. Rides and car drives must maintain just a few awareness protocols to ensure safe travel on public roads.

  • Wear Brighter Colors

Try wearing a bright helmet with protective glasses and a bike suit on. They should be composed of flashing colors, so you’ve noticed them on the roads. If possible, add some constantly blinking bright lights on the back of your motorcycle. 

Bicyclists usually use this when commuting on the road. Adding one to your motorcycle can also significantly increase visibility for other road users and make you be seen.

  • Beware Of Special Places

In a previous section, I discussed some specific places where fatal motorcycle crashes are more likely to occur. They occur primarily in cities and intersections, and the countryside. So be extra cautious when you’re at crossroads. 

Take the extra time to look right and left. When turning across traffic, do so slowly and patiently. Keep the extreme sports for specific racing routes. 

  • Research On Motorcycle Safety & Blind Spots

You should know the proper road guidelines for using a motorcycle. If you’re not aware, you can choose to take a course or simply research extensively about it online. You’ll learn a lot of the do’s and don’ts, and it’ll help you be more aware and safe on the roads.

One such rule is being aware of your blind spots. Just like cars, motorcycles have blind spots too. When at intersections, changing lanes, or making a quick turn, check your blind spots for other bikes and cars. That way, you’ll be able to avoid unwanted collisions. 

  • Have The Right Protection On

If an accident occurs, you and your bike will face injuries. But with the right protective gear, you can minimize fatal injuries and save yourself a massive trip to the hospital. 

A helmet is the most basic. The Universal Helmet Law should be followed. Besides that, have proper gloves and eye protection if you go on a more extended trip. Having the right gear will not only allow you to be safe on the roads and help you if you get pulled over. 

When cops see you’re in the right equipment, they assume you’re experienced and are aware of the traffic laws. That way, you’ll save yourself a ticket and not face much trouble from the accidents too. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What amount of vehicle crashes are caused by motorcycles?

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycles account to at least 14% of all fatal traffic crashes and death in the US. This includes crashes and fatalities for car crashes, truck collisions, and such.

Is it probable to have fatalities in a motorcycle accident?

Yes. In your lifetime, there’s a 1 in almost 900 chance of you facing death from a motorcycle crash. Usually if it’s a hit to the head, you’re highly likely to have a serious injury. Always wear a helmet.

What is the best way to prevent a serious fatality from motorcycle injury?

According to WHO, most bike accidents affect the head and neck first. So, your best bet is to wear a secure helmet at all times. Wearing helmets decrease the chances of having a serious injury by almost half. 


Hopefully, by reading this article, you’ve learned a lot about what percentage of motorcycle accidents are the riders fault. In most cases, the riders are at fault, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Following a few fundamental road safety protocols can ensure you and your loved ones are safe on the roads.

In conclusion, always follow the traffic laws, and resist the urge to overtake and drive at high speeds. Bikes get highly unstable at higher rates. If the weather’s terrible, it’s even worse. 

So try to maintain the speed limit and never drive under the influence of alcohol, and you won’t end up in the 40% of drivers who are responsible for their motorcycle accidents. Cheers!

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