man riding a motorcycle on an english country road

What Are The Most Commons Types of Motorcycle Accidents

December 14, 2023

Riding a motorcycle does offer an unmatched sense of freedom and mobility, but it also comes with significant risks, especially when it comes to road accidents. But what’s the most common type of motorcycle accident in the UK? Let’s take a look at some common causes of motorbike collisions, and how to avoid them and remain safe on the road.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

First up is single-vehicle accidents: these accidents involve only the motorcycle, and tend to occur either due to the rider losing control, road conditions, or obstacles on the road. In some cases, it might be due to a mechanical failure, which is why regular bike servicing is essential.

Car-Motorcycle Collisions

Collisions between cars and motorcycles are unfortunately very common in the UK, and these can happen over something as simple as a driver’s blind spot, a car driver's failure to see the motorcycle, or a motorcycle riding too close to a car. Again, weather conditions that obscure either driver’s vision can also cause these types of accidents.

Lane-Changing Accidents

Motorcycles can also sometimes be hit by cars that change lanes without noticing them, and again, this type of accident can take place if the car driver fails to check their blind spots, or fails to signal properly before changing lanes. With these types of collisions, riders making a  motorcycle accident claim will usually be able to prove liability on the part of the other driver.

Left-Turn Accidents

Left-turn accidents are another common type of motorbike accident, and usually occur when a car makes a left turn at an intersection without noticing an oncoming motorcycle. As motorbikes are smaller, this often makes them less visible to car drivers - especially in poor weather conditions - and this can unfortunately lead to collisions.

Rear-End Collisions

In heavy traffic conditions - or when a driver is distracted - motorcyclists can end up being rear-ended by vehicles, and while not as impactful for car drivers, these types of accidents can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, even when they occur at low speeds.

Intersection Crashes

a motorcycle accident scene in uk

Intersections are common spots for accidents in general, but do often include the involvement of motorcycles. Whether it’s caused by drivers not yielding the right of way, running red lights, or when a motorcyclist misjudges the speed of an approaching vehicle, these collisions can prove incredibly dangerous for both parties.

Sideswipe Accidents

Sideswipe accidents can be characterised by when two vehicles (in this instance, a car and a motorcycle) travel side by side, and the car veers into the motorcycle’s lane, causing a collision. In many instances, vehicle drivers are liable for these accidents due to a lack of awareness of the motorcycle's presence.

Hitting Fixed Objects

Motorcyclists hitting fixed objects is a common type of single-vehicle accident; whether it be a parked car, a bin, or a traffic light, this type of collision tends to happen due to the motorcyclist misjudging a turn, being distracted, or losing control of their motorcycle.

Weather-Related Accidents

Just like with regular road collisions, adverse weather conditions like rain, ice, or fog, can increase the risk of accidents for motorcyclists, and this is why it’s often recommended for motorbike riders and cyclists to keep off the road during dangerous rain or snow. From slippery roads, reduced visibility, and the inability to brake effectively, it’s the perfect - and unfortunate - recipe for accidents.

Rider Error and Inexperience

Finally, rider error and inexperience are two significant factors in many motorcycle accidents: overestimating one's riding skills or underestimating the motorcycle's power can lead to crashes, with beginner riders being particularly at risk for dangerous collisions.

Safety Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

So, how can you mitigate the risks of the above-mentioned accidents? To be a safe and responsible motorcyclist, always consider the following safety tips:

  • Be Visible: To guarantee road safety when riding a motorcycle, always ensure you’re visible to other road users. Use reflective gear and keep your headlights on, and avoid riding if weather conditions impact other drivers (and your own) visibility on the road.
  • Stay Alert at Intersections: Exercising extra caution at intersections can prevent unnecessary accidents: slow down, anticipate other drivers’ actions, and be prepared to react.
  • Maintain a Safe Distance: Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you to allow enough time to react and stop - you can’t always count on drivers to know where you are.
  • Avoid Riding in Bad Weather: When possible, always avoid riding in adverse weather conditions, and if you do end up caught in bad weather, reduce your speed and take extra care to be aware of your surroundings.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Always wear appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, jacket, gloves, and boots - these items will break your fall and protect your body in the event of an accident.
  • Ride Within Your Skill Level: Avoid taking risks that exceed your riding abilities, and consider advanced riding courses to improve your skills.