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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Washington State

Bearded biker in sunglasses, helmet and black leather clothing riding modern powerful cruiser motorcycle along asphalt road winding among tall green trees on summer evening.

Motorcycle accidents pose a significant threat to road safety, particularly in Washington State, where such accidents are on the rise. Over the past decade, Vancouver, WA, alone has witnessed 18 fatal motorcycle accidents. The statistics paint an alarming narrative:

  • 67 percent of these tragedies involved speeding drivers.
  • 63 percent implicated distracted drivers.
  • 42 percent pointed to impaired drivers.

Furthermore, it's noteworthy that most of these accidents occurred during the spring and summer months, the peak motorcycle riding season in Washington State. The intersection of I-205 and Route 500 is particularly dangerous, identified as a hotspot with approximately four fatal crashes over the studied period.

This May, The Scott Law Firm, PLLC, is participating in Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month by sharing important information about the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and emphasizing the importance of sharing the road with bikers.

Factors that often lead to motorcycle crashes

The root causes of motorcycle accidents in Washington State vary, yet they are mostly preventable. Here are some of the most common factors in Washington State fatal motorcycle accidents, according to federal and state data:

  • Distracted drivers. Negligent drivers who engage in distracting activities such as texting, talking on the phone, or adjusting infotainment systems divert their attention from the road. Consequently, they may fail to notice motorcyclists in their vicinity, increasing the risk of collisions, particularly during lane changes or turns.
  • Impaired drivers. Motorists under the influence of alcohol or drugs experience impaired cognitive function and diminished reaction times. Their impaired state compromises their ability to detect and respond to motorcyclists sharing the road, significantly elevating the likelihood of accidents.
  • Speeding. Excessive speeding amplifies the severity of accidents involving motorcycles as higher velocities escalate the force of impact. Negligent drivers who exceed speed limits or drive too fast for road conditions are less likely to anticipate the presence of motorcyclists and may struggle to react in time to avoid collisions.
  • Malfunctioning brakes. Drivers operating vehicles with malfunctioning brakes face challenges in controlling their speed and maneuvering safely. In scenarios where sudden braking is required, such as encountering unexpected obstacles or traffic congestion, these drivers may struggle to stop in time, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions with motorcyclists.
  • Right-of-way violations. Drivers who disregard right-of-way rules intentionally or inadvertently place motorcyclists at risk of collision. Failure to yield at intersections, improper merging, or disregarding traffic signals can result in dangerous encounters between vehicles and motorcycles, often leading to serious injuries or fatalities.

Addressing these underlying causes of motorcycle accidents through targeted interventions and education campaigns can help reduce incidences in Washington State, safeguarding the lives and well-being of all road users.

Tips for vehicle drivers to share the road with bikers

Given the smaller size and narrower profile of motorcycles, they are more vulnerable to not being seen by negligent drivers who don't look twice for bikers. To prevent motorcycle accidents, it's important for drivers to check their blind spots before changing lanes or making maneuvers. By actively monitoring their surroundings and being mindful, drivers can minimize the risk of colliding with motorcyclists. Here are some other tips on how to safely share the road with motorcycle riders:

  • Leave enough space. Maintain a safe distance from motorcycles to allow them room to maneuver safely.
  • Be vigilant. Always check for motorcyclists, especially before making left turns or changing lanes.
  • Share the road. Yield to motorcyclists when appropriate and follow traffic laws to promote safe interactions.
  • Follow traffic laws. Obey speed limits and traffic signals to reduce the risk of accidents.

Injured in a motorcycle accident? Count on Colin

If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident in Vancouver, WA, or another Southwest Washington community, contact The Scott Law Firm, PLLC, for a free case evaluation. Attorney Colin Scott and his dedicated legal team know how to deal with insurance companies and get meaningful results for clients.

For instance, in one case, we obtained a $250,000 policy limits settlement on behalf of a motorcyclist injured due to another motorist’s improper lane change on the freeway. (Please note that past performance is no guarantee of future results.)

We want to listen to what happened, understand what type of injuries you're dealing with, and explain how an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you find your way forward. Contact us today to learn more about your potential legal options.

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