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5 Reasons Motorcycle Riders Get Killed By Other Drivers on the Freeway

In 2019, 84,000 motorcycle riders were injured, and 5,014 were killed in motorcycle crashes.

Riding a motorcycle poses more danger than driving a car. Motorcycles are smaller and harder to spot, and they provide less protection for riders when an accident occurs. However, the main causes of motorcycle collisions are not what you would expect. The majority of motorcycle accidents occur because of other drivers on the road being inattentive and failing to spot a motorcycle rider nearby.

Being informed about what causes freeway motorcycle accidents in Las Vegas is the first step to preventing the catastrophic injuries that can occur from them. Keep reading to learn the top 5 reasons motorcycle riders get killed by other drivers on the freeway.

1. Merging and Passing

Las Vegas accidents can occur on the freeway when a car is merging or changing lanes and does not see the motorcycle or has misjudged the motorcyclist’s speed.

Motorcycles are small and can be hard to notice, making it easier for them to end up in a car’s blind spot without the driver noticing.

When a crash occurs from a car merging and passing, it is generally the car that is at fault for failing to notice the presence of the motorcycle. However, if the motorcycle rider was speeding in an attempt to overtake a car or was using the same lane as another car to pass, the motorcycle rider may be considered partially at fault for the accident.

No matter who is at fault, it is best to contact legal services and find a motorcycle injury lawyer, especially if you sustain injuries or if your vehicle is damaged.

2. Aggressive Driving

Motorcycle and car accidents alike are often caused by one party driving in an aggressive or inattentive manner.

If either a motorcycle rider or driver acts aggressive, the risk and severity of an accident will automatically increase.


High speeds pose more dangers to motorcycle riders than to drivers of other motor vehicles.

More than 30% of fatal motorcycle crashes involve a speeding vehicle.

Motorcycles tend to be able to reach higher speeds than other vehicles and offer more flexibility in getting around objects or other cars on the road. However, motorcycles are less stable and offer less protection to riders than four-wheel vehicles.

In many cases, a motorcyclist has two seconds or less to react before a collision. The faster a motorcycle is going, the less time the motorcyclist will have to avoid a collision, and the more severe accident injuries will be.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is explicitly illegal in most places, including Las Vegas, Nevada. However, it is something that motorcycle riders may attempt anyway.

Lane splitting is the act of driving between two lanes of cars and is often attempted when traffic is slow or jammed.

It is dangerous to lane split for multiple reasons, including the following:

  • The motorcycle is in close proximity to other cars.
  • There is less room to maneuver.
  • Other drivers do not expect lane splitting to occur.
  • A car may attempt to change lanes when a motorcycle rider is in its blind spot.
  • If a passenger opens a car door, the motorcyclist is put at risk.

Lack of Space

Motorcycles are less stable than cars.

Cars driving too close and too fast to a motorcycle can be dangerous. This can cause the motorcycle rider to experience turbulence. To avoid this, cars should try to give the rider plenty of space and should not tailgate a motorcycle on the freeway.

Another reason motorcycle riders should have extra space on the road is to maneuver around any obstructions like potholes and roadkill. These can pose a safety threat to motorcyclists, causing around 2% of accidents.

3. Impaired Driving

Driving while distracted or drunk is dangerous, especially when motorcycles are involved.

It is not unusual for cars to change lanes without realizing that a motorcyclist is riding next to them. As motorcycles are smaller and harder to see, it does not take much to miss one creeping into your blindspot or trying to pass you.

Drunk Driving

While drunk drivers pose a threat, if motorcycle riders have even a small amount of alcohol in their system, it has consequences. Alcohol is a very common cause of Las Vegas accidents, as it can cause motorcycle riders problems avoiding a collision.

In 2018, 33% of motorcycle riders involved in a fatal crash had a blood alcohol concentration of at least .01, and 25% had a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08, which is the general amount needed in Las Vegas, Nevada to be charged with a DUI.

As a motorcycle rider often needs to react in less than two seconds to avoid a collision, it is not surprising that even just a little bit of alcohol has such a high connection to motorcycle accidents.

Many riders who drink alcohol before riding tend to overbrake the rear wheel and underbrake the front wheel. This reduces the speed of deceleration and skids the rear wheel. The motorcycle rider’s ability to countersteer and swerve was also greatly decreased.

4. Lack of Training and Protective Equipment

There is a large number of motorcyclists with no formal training involved in motorcycle accidents in the Las Vegas, NV area.

Wearing the appropriate headgear and protective clothing can minimize the number of injuries received and reduce their severity when involved in a collision.

Formal Training

The vast majority of motorcyclists involved in collisions have never taken a motorcycle safety course. This means that a large portion of motorcycle riders have no formal training.

92% of riders in collisions are either self-taught or taught by a family member. What may be even more disturbing is that at least 30% of all motorcyclists involved in a fatal crash did not have any type of valid license.

Protective Equipment

Wearing a helmet and protective clothing can be beneficial for motorcyclists in helping prevent catastrophic injuries.

Motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe and deadly than car crashes. The same amount of force necessary to dent a car could throw a rider off a motorcycle.

While protective equipment cannot completely replace the safety features of a car, the motorcycle rider may receive less severe injuries by wearing protective clothing.

Wearing a helmet has been shown to be an effective way to minimize the severity of a head injury approximately 69% of the time in motorcycle accidents. Helmets also help prevent lacerations and scrapes on the face and reduce the number of neck injuries a motorcycle rider receives.

Protective equipment is not only useful to prevent scrapes, lacerations, and other injuries in a motorcycle collision, but it can also increase the visibility of motorcycle riders.

Potential Injuries

Motorcycle accident injuries occur about 45% of the time, causing accident victims a large amount of pain and suffering. This is especially true when you are a motorcycle rider on the freeway, riding at high speeds.

A fatal injury is more likely to occur when riding a motorcycle than in a car. It has been found that chest and head injuries are the most frequently occurring cause of death in motorcycle accidents.

If the motorcycle rider does survive the collision, there are several types of injuries that may cause the motorcyclist pain and suffering.

Broken bone injuries are common in motorcycle accidents and often occur in the arms or legs, though they can also occur in the neck, back, or pelvis. Motorcycle riders who have been in an accident may also receive traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, which can have devastating effects.

5. Type of Motorcycle

The type of motorcycle riders use also plays a factor in the rate of accidents and their severity.

Sport and supersport motorcycles tend to be involved in motorcycle collisions more often than other types. These high-performing motorcycle models are lightweight and have powerful engines, giving them the capability to reach high speeds.

Considering that the average motorcycle speed is only around 30 mph before a collision occurs, it is no surprise that sport and supersport motorcycles tend to be involved in a large portion of motorcycle accidents.

This is especially the case with supersport motorcycles, which can reach speeds up to 160 miles per hour. Even on the freeway, such speeds are far beyond the limit allowed. If a motorcycle rider travels at even half that speed, they are taking a large risk.

Have You Been in a Motorcycle Accident in Las Vegas?

Motorcycle accidents in Las Vegas can be severe, causing accident victims catastrophic injuries or death.

Recovering from the pain and suffering caused by a severe motorcycle accident can be difficult and overwhelming. This is even more true when you have to make injury claims with an insurance company and take medical bills into account.

Contact a motorcycle injury attorney at Heidari Law Group today for a free consultation to help you through this difficult time and get the full compensation you deserve.

***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.

Sam Heidari

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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