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Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Most motorcycle accidents are caused by some form of negligence, often on the part of another motorist. Some of the most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents in the Virginia Beach area include the below.

Distracted Driving

The rising prevalence of smartphones and in-car technology has led to increased distracted driving, a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. When drivers take their eyes off the road to send a text, change the radio station, or use a GPS, they can easily miss a motorcyclist in their vicinity. Even a few seconds of distraction can result in a devastating collision.

Drunk or Intoxicated Driving

Alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s reaction time, judgment, and coordination, making them a significant risk to motorcyclists. Intoxicated drivers may not see a motorcyclist, fail to gauge their speed and distance accurately, or make poor driving decisions, leading to disastrous accidents.


Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation. High-speed collisions can lead to severe or fatal injuries for motorcyclists, who lack the protective structure of a car or truck.

Tailgating (Following Too Closely)

Motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars, so drivers who follow motorcycles too closely risk rear-ending them. This unsafe practice shows a lack of respect for motorcyclists’ space on the road and can result in severe or catastrophic injury accidents.

Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

Traffic laws are designed and implemented to keep all road users safe. When motorists fail to adhere to these rules, such as by running red lights, ignoring stop signs, or making illegal turns, they endanger everyone around them, including motorcyclists.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving includes a range of dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, such as changing lanes without signaling, speeding, or swerving in and out of traffic. These irresponsible actions can be especially hazardous to motorcyclists, who are less visible and less protected than occupants of other vehicles.

Road Rage and Other Aggressive Driving Behaviors

Aggressive driving, such as weaving in and out of traffic, honking excessively, or using offensive gestures, can escalate into road rage incidents. These situations can lead to accidents, as the aggressive driver, including motorcyclists, may not be paying full attention to their surroundings.

Driver Fatigue

Fatigue can significantly impair a driver’s attention, reaction time, and decision-making skills. Drowsy driving is a serious issue that can easily lead to accidents, particularly affecting vulnerable motorcyclists.

Lack of Driving Experience

Inexperienced drivers may not be fully aware of how to share the road safely with motorcyclists. They might not anticipate a motorcyclist’s movements, fail to yield the right-of-way or overlook a motorcyclist in their blind spot.

Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way and Check Blind Spots for Motorcyclists

Because of their smaller size, motorcycles can be hard to see and easily overlooked, especially in a vehicle’s blind spots. Drivers who fail to yield or check their blind spots could collide with unsuspecting motorcyclists.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars, usually in traffic jams. While it can be legal in some jurisdictions, it can be dangerous if other drivers are not expecting it and change lanes suddenly.

Sudden Turns

Cars making sudden left turns in front of oncoming motorcycles is a common cause of accidents. The turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is going straight through the intersection.

Running Red Lights or Stop Signs

This negligent behavior endangers all road users. The consequences can be particularly severe for motorcyclists, who already lack physical protection.

Passing a Motorcycle Without Moving Over to an Adjacent Lane

This dangerous maneuver happens when drivers, in their haste or disregard for road safety, overtake motorcycles without switching to a separate lane. When this happens, the motorcyclist is vulnerable to being sideswiped or forced off the road. It’s every driver’s responsibility to ensure they maintain a safe distance when passing any vehicle, which includes motorcycles. Failing to do so is not only a traffic infraction, but also puts the safety of others at risk.

Turning or Changing Lanes without Signaling or Checking Mirrors:

Negligent drivers may fail to signal their intentions or check their mirrors before turning or changing lanes. This can be especially hazardous for motorcyclists, who may be in the blind spot of the driver or approaching at a higher speed. These sudden maneuvers give the motorcyclist little time to react, which frequently leads to serious or fatal injury crashes.

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