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6 Mistakes That Often Lead to Motorcycle Accidents

mistakes motorcycle accidents


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are approximately 24 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of passenger cars per mile traveled. Therefore, riders should avoid making errors that can endanger their safety. Understanding common mistakes that lead to motorcycle accidents can significantly reduce its risks:

Lack of Proper Training and Licensing

One of the worst mistakes a motorcyclist can make is hitting the road without the proper training and licensing. Many riders assume that operating a motorcycle is similar to driving a car. But in reality, it requires unique skills and knowledge. Riding without the necessary training can result in accidents caused by:

  • Poor maneuvering
  • Inadequate control
  • Lack of hazard awareness

To prevent this mistake, every aspiring motorcyclist should complete a motorcycle safety course, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course (BRC). These courses provide valuable instruction on:

  • Motorcycle operation
  • Safety techniques
  • Defensive riding

In Arizona, there are specific laws that regulate motorcycle licensing. For one, a person must be at least 15 years old to be eligible for a class M license application. A class M permit for license holders below 18 years is only valid for seven months. Meanwhile, both minor and adult applicants must pass a series of knowledge and skill tests before obtaining the said permit.

Riding without Protective Gear

Another common mistake is riding without the appropriate protective gear. Many riders underestimate the importance of:

  • helmets
  • gloves
  • jacket
  • pants
  • proper footwear

Helmets, in particular, are essential for head protection, as head injuries are a leading cause of motorcycle accident fatalities.

To avoid this mistake, riders should always wear DOT-approved helmets and invest in high-quality protective gear designed for motorcycle riding. This gear can significantly reduce the severity of injuries in the event of an accident.

Riding without a helmet, however, should not reduce your claim in case of a motorcycle accident. Unless you are below 18, helmet use while motorcycling in Arizona is only optional.

Speeding and Reckless Riding

Excessive speed and reckless riding are common mistakes that can result in motorcycle accidents. Riders often underestimate their speed or engage in risky behaviors such as weaving through traffic or performing stunts. Speeding reduces reaction time and makes it difficult to respond to unexpected road hazards.

To avoid this mistake, riders should:

Failure to Recognize Road Hazards

Motorcycle riders must be vigilant and attentive to their surroundings. Failing to recognize these road hazards can lead to accidents:

  • potholes
  • gravel
  • debris
  • wet surfaces
  • uneven pavement

These hazards can cause loss of control, skidding, or collisions. To prevent this mistake, riders should:

  • Scan the road ahead
  • Maintain a safe following distance
  • Be prepared to react to unexpected obstacles

Simply put, defensive riding techniques, such as anticipating potential dangers, are essential for motorcycle safety.

Riding under the Influence

Riding a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a grave mistake that significantly impairs a rider’s judgment, coordination, and reaction times. According to the NHTSA, alcohol-impaired riding is a major contributor to motorcycle accidents.

To avoid this mistake, riders should:

  • Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during a ride
  • Always designate a sober rider
  • Arrange alternative transportation if necessary

Inadequate Maintenance

Neglecting motorcycle maintenance can lead to mechanical failures that result in accidents. Common mistakes include riding with worn-out tires, faulty brakes, or a poorly maintained chain and sprocket. These issues can compromise a rider’s ability to control the motorcycle.

To prevent this mistake, riders should:

  • Regularly inspect their motorcycles
  • Perform routine maintenance
  • Address any issues promptly

Proper maintenance ensures that the motorcycle operates safely and reliably. Having a well-maintained vehicle may also save you from sharing the blame in case of a collision.


Motorcycle riding is a thrilling activity, but it comes with inherent risks. By recognizing and avoiding common mistakes that lead to motorcycle accidents, riders can significantly enhance their safety on the road. Safety should always be a top priority for every motorcycle enthusiast. Responsible riding practices can help reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

Motorcycle accidents, while preventable, are still inevitable. Reckless drivers of larger vehicles still prevail on the road. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident despite avoiding these mistakes, you have the right to demand compensation. Seek the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to file a rightful claim for your injuries.


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