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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Tennessee?

In recent years, there have been more than 80,000 reported motorcycle injuries in the US annually, resulting in the significant injuries and even deaths of thousands of people. Many factors contribute to the causes and outcomes of these incidents, but what are the most common reasons they happen?

Here is an overview of the leading causes of motorcycle crashes in the US and Tennessee, as well as a few other key statistics and what to do after being involved in an accident. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has more information on who is usually at fault in a vehicle motorcycle collision.

The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in the US

The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in the US

A crash can be caused by anything from motorcycle defects to somebody opening a car door without looking. They are dangerous vehicles- even for people who ride safely and follow all the rules. Some causes are more common than others, and are more likely to lead to serious injuries or fatalities.

Here are the leading causes of accidents based on motorcycle crash statistics in the US.

Motorcycle Operators Traveling Above the Speed Limit

Almost one-third of all reported motorcycle crashes result from motorcyclists or drivers of other motor vehicles driving too fast. Speeding is a major killer for road users, regardless of whether they are walking, cycling, driving cars or large trucks and passenger vehicles, or riding a motorcycle.

Driving above the speed limit lessens a person's reaction time and increases the force of impact- a dangerous combination for an unprotected motorcyclist. It is also much easier to lose control of a motorcycle at a high speed.

Intoxicated Driving (Motorcycle Riders and Other Drivers)

Alcohol is arguably the most common contributor to motorcycle crashes. Whether it is the motorcycle rider or drivers in other cars involved, driving under the influence poses a dangerous threat to all road users.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, almost 45% of motorcyclists involved in recent fatal crashes had at least some alcohol in their system- 30% were over the legal limit.

Distracted Driving

One of the leading causes in all motor vehicle and car accident statistics is distracted driving. A driver or rider who is not paying proper attention to the road is far more likely to make a mistake that leads to an accident.

Collisions with Fixed Objects

A surprisingly high percentage of accidents do not involve another motor vehicle. In rural areas especially, more people are killed due to traumatic brain injuries resulting from single-vehicle collisions- often with fixed objects such as trees, gates, bollards, or road barriers.

This is often connected with speeding, distractions, or alcohol and drug use.

Other Vehicle Drivers Switching Lanes or Pulling Out at Intersections

Maneuvers such as changing lanes, crossing an intersection, merging, or turning left are common causes of motorcycle crashes.

There are many left turn accidents where drivers do not double-check for motorcyclists in their blind spot, and the same applies to pulling into a different lane.

Car Doors

Many motorcycle accidents happen when riders collide with open car doors. It can happen in busy urban areas with a lot of parked cars or heavy traffic, especially in states that allow lane splitting.

Lane splitting is a much-debated topic in the motorcycle community. Some believe it should be allowed everywhere, and do it even when they shouldn't. It does, however, significantly contribute to the amount of accidents in the US.

Although a motorcycle hitting the door of a car won't do much harm to the vehicle, it can seriously injure the rider.

How Does This Compare to Motorcycle Accident Causes in Tennessee?

Overall, the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Tennessee are in line with the US as a whole. Specifically, speeding and the influence of alcohol are leading contributors, as well as distraction and people riding motorcycles without proper care and attention to the rules.

One major difference is the impact of lane splitting. As many as one-fifth of all motorcycle incidents in the US happen between motorcycles and cars when riders move between lanes of traffic. This practice is allowed in many states but is illegal in Tennessee. Because of this, it accounts for far fewer motorcycle crashes in the state.

There is also a higher number of single-vehicle motorcycle crashes in Tennessee than in the US overall (48% in 2020 and 44% in 2021 compared to roughly one in three, according to national statistics).

A Few Tennessee Motorcycle Crash Statistics Worth Knowing

A Few Tennessee Motorcycle Crash Statistics Worth Knowing

There are (on average) 155 motorcycle accident deaths annually in Tennessee, based on data reports from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee State Trooper Highway Patrol.

Of the 2,875 motorcycle accidents in Tennessee in 2021, only 112 occurred when it was raining, and only 14 happened due to other adverse weather conditions.

7% of all motorcycle accidents in Tennessee in 2021 happened when a motorcycle was speeding, but it was the cause of just under one-third of all the fatal crashes involving motorcycles that year.

Almost 22% of fatal accidents involving motorcycles in Tennessee in 2021 involved motorcycle riders who were under the influence of alcohol.

Of All the Things that Cause Motorcycle Crashes, What Is the Most Common? Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in the US and Tennessee

In summary, the most common cause of motorcycle collisions in Tennessee and across the US is reckless driving- either through speeding, driving under the influence, or not paying attention on the roads.

It is important to note that it is not always the motorcyclists who make these errors. Sometimes, another driver's negligence leads to the accident. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also advise on questions like How much are most motorcycle accident settlements?

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys: Going to War for Nashville Motorcycle Accident Victims and Their Families

If a person is injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn't their fault, they could be entitled to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. They could claim for property damage, future medical bills, and pain and suffering damages. Motorcycle accident lawyers in Nashville TN will be there to help through the process.

In motorcycle crashes where the victim loses their life, a family member can pursue the claim on their behalf.

Working with a dedicated professional motorcycle accident lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee, is the best way to ensure the best legal representation for motorcycle riders killed or injured in accidents.

They go to war for justice and fair compensation, leaving no stone unturned as they fight for their clients.


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