Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California [2024 Updated]

While more motorcyclists ride in California than in any other state, careful caution should be taken when navigating road travel. Next to Texas, California holds the highest number of motorcycle accidents in the United States. If you’ve been involved in such an accident, a California motorcycle accident lawyer can offer vital legal support and help you pursue compensation for your damages.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California

Understanding the varied factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents in California can lead drivers to increase road safety by employing awareness and caution. Below are examples of the many causes of accidents in California:

  • Driver Negligence and Unawareness: Other drivers may fail to notice motorcycles, especially those in their blindspots, and not yield the right of way at intersections. Both car and motorcycle operators may engage in distracted driving that can lead to accidents.
  • Heavy Traffic: There is increased interaction between vehicles in congested urban areas that results in a higher likelihood of rear-end collisions due to stop-and-go traffic.
  • Lane Splitting: Lane splitting, also known as stripe-riding, refers to the practice of motorcyclists riding between lanes of stopped and slow-moving traffic. While legal in California, it can lead to accidents. Other drivers are not always able to anticipate or understand a motorcyclist’s lane-splitting maneuvers and may accidentally hit them.
  • Varied Topography: California’s terrain can be difficult for motorcyclists to navigate. When traversing winding mountain roads in unpredictable weather conditions, road visibility can be challenging for riders.
  • Impaired Riding: Riding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can significantly increase the risk of a motorcycle accident. This will also impair the judgment of the rider or driver, leading to slower reaction times and critical road errors.

While there is often more than one cause of an accident, it is important that operators of cars and motorcycles alike are aware of their safety responsibilities on the road. As a rider, there are local rules and regulations that you must follow to ensure the proper operation of your motorcycle and prevent any compromises to safety while on the road.

Crucial Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident

A motorcycle accident is distressing when minor and fatal when severe. It can be challenging to know how to respond after you’re involved in such an accident. If possible, the steps below are crucial to navigating the aftermath of a motorcycle accident while ensuring safety.

  • Ensure Safety: First, if you are well and able, check that you and those around you are safe. If you are not, immediately move to a secure location and turn your emergency lights on to avoid further risks from oncoming traffic.
  • Call Emergency Services: During the safety check, you may learn that someone has been injured. It is important, no matter the severity of the injury, to call emergency services immediately. Emergency services will ask for your location, what the suspected injuries are, and how many individuals are involved.Be prepared to offer this information. Seek a medical evaluation promptly, even if you believe nothing is wrong, as symptoms can, at times, take some time to manifest.
  • Exchange Information: If possible, exchange contact information with all parties involved in the accident. It is helpful to gather the contact information of any witnesses, as this can help you later on in navigating negotiations with insurance companies and in possible litigation.
  • Document the Scene: If you are safe from further danger, take time to document the accident scene, highlighting vehicle damage, road damage, and any relevant road signage. Capture or write down the license plates of all parties involved. Again, this can help you later on while you deal with the legal aftermath of the accident.
  • Report to Law Enforcement: If law enforcement was not at the scene initially, file a report at a local police station and obtain copies of this report for your records. All documentation, no matter the cause of the accident, will prove helpful moving forward.
  • Consult an Attorney: Motorcycle accident attorneys can offer guidance on protecting your rights, filing an injury claim, managing the claims process, and assisting in potential legal actions.


Q: What Is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents?

A: The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is unsafe speeds. Motorcycle riders driving at speeds that are higher than those appropriate for roads and conditions cause accidents. Excessive speeds can reduce a rider’s reaction time and increase the severity of crashes.

Q: Where Do 70% of Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

A: Around 70% of all motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. This is often due to a motorcycle not being noticed by other drivers, as motorcycles are smaller than most other vehicles on the road. Other drivers also tend to misjudge how fast a motorcyclist is driving and do not allow proper timing when stopping or turning.

Q: How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents in California?

A: Statistics show that there are around 18 motorcycle accidents each day in the state of California. Because California generally has the highest number of registered motorcycles in the United States, it also has a higher number of motorcycle-related accidents compared to other states.

Q: Who Is Most Often at Fault in Motorcycle-Car Crashes?

A: Car drivers are most often at fault in motorcycle-car crashes. Many motorcycle and car accidents happen due to the car or truck driver not seeing the motorcycle and hitting it, generally during a lane change or merge. The small size of motorcycles makes them much harder to see, and many other drivers don’t exhibit proper care when near them.

Contact a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident and require legal assistance, a motorcycle accident lawyers from Belgum, Fry & Van Allen are available to provide you with guidance. Our team of dedicated lawyers has experience working with motorcycle accidents in California and has a firm grasp of the relevant state-specific laws and regulations.

We are committed to offering steadfast assistance, fighting for the optimal resolution in your case, and protecting your right to compensation. Contact our office today for a consultation.