Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Alpharetta and How to Avoid Them

April 19, 2024

Motorcycling in Alpharetta has become more than just a mode of transportation; for many, it’s a lifestyle embraced for its freedom and excitement. Unfortunately, the growing number of riders has also resulted in more motorcycle accidents in Georgia. According to a report published by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, traffic fatalities involving motorcyclists increased by 22% between 2017 and 2019. Those who survived their accidents often suffered catastrophic injuries such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Traumatic brain injury

If you own or ride a motorcycle, it’s important to understand the common causes of these accidents and the steps you can take to stay safe. In this blog, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Horst Shewmaker answer questions like ‘What is the primary cause of motorcycle crashes?” and offer practical advice to help you ride more safely.


Speeding is a predominant factor in motorcycle accidents in Georgia, with a direct correlation existing between high speeds and crash severity. When a motorcycle is involved in a high-speed accident, the consequences are often more severe due to the lack of structural protection compared to motor vehicles. This reality underscores the critical need for observing speed limits as well as safe riding practices.

To stay safer on the road, the following strategies are recommended:

  • Always observe the speed limits set for specific roads. Remember, these limits are set based on the average safest speed in ideal conditions.
  • Stay alert and anticipate the actions of other drivers. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, stay out of their blind spots, and be cautious at intersections where accidents commonly occur.
  • Reduce your speed in adverse weather conditions, heavy traffic, or unfamiliar areas. Slower speeds allow more time to respond to potential hazards.

If a negligent driver causes a crash that leaves you with life-changing injuries and extensive property damage, an Alpharetta personal injury attorney can help you pursue a motorcycle accident claim and seek the fair compensation you need to recover.

Alcohol Impairment

Statistics reveal that a substantial percentage of motorcycle fatalities involve riders under the influence of alcohol. In Georgia, the legal consequences of riding while intoxicated are severe, with offenders facing heavy fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. These penalties reflect the serious risks associated with impaired riding, not only to the rider but to everyone on the road.

To avoid accidents related to alcohol impairment, consider the following tips:

  • Understand that even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction times. If you’ve had any alcohol, consider waiting until later to ride.
  • Keep an eye on other motorists while riding. Keep a safe distance between your bike and any vehicles that seem to be swerving or otherwise traveling erratically.
  • If you are hosting an event where alcohol will be served, ensure you offer non-alcoholic options and facilitate safe transportation options for your guests.

By staying informed and making responsible choices, motorcyclists can reduce their risk of accidents related to alcohol impairment. If you suffer serious motorcycle accident injuries due to an intoxicated driver, a skilled attorney can file a claim for damages with that driver’s insurance company.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a leading cause of road accidents. Distractions significantly impair the ability of both motorcycle riders and motorists to react to road conditions and other vehicles, increasing the likelihood of accidents and fatal injuries.

Common distractions include:

  • Mobile Phones: Using a phone for calls, texts, or navigation can divert attention from the road. It’s crucial to set up navigation and make all adjustments before starting your ride. If you must use your phone, pull over safely.
  • Headsets and Music: While listening to music can make long rides more enjoyable, it can also distract. Use volume settings that allow you to stay alert to traffic and emergency sounds.
  • On-Road Distractions: Billboards, accident scenes, police activity, and other roadside events can draw a rider’s eyes away from the road. Maintain focus on your path and the vehicles around you.

Georgia law is strict about distracted driving. For motorcyclists, as with all drivers, using handheld devices while driving is illegal and can lead to fines, points on your license, and increased insurance premiums. In cases where distracted driving leads to an accident, harsher penalties, including criminal charges, may apply.

Even when you pay attention to the road and obey all traffic laws, you can still be struck by a distracted motorist. Motorcycle accident victims should speak to an experienced attorney about their options for seeking compensation from the at-fault party.

Weather Changes

Adverse weather conditions can impact road safety, especially for motorcycle drivers. Wet roads impair visibility and reduce tire traction, making it harder to brake and maneuver safely. Dense fog can also drastically reduce visibility, making it difficult for motorcyclists to see road hazards and for other drivers to see them.

Below are some tips for safer riding in poor road conditions:

  • Slow down. Reducing speed allows more time to react to slippery roads and decreased visibility.
  • Increase your following distance. Keeping a greater distance from the vehicle in front gives more time to react if sudden stops are necessary.
  • Always use headlights in fog and rain to improve your visibility to other road users.

Wearing water-resistant clothing and anti-fog visors can help maintain visibility and comfort. It’s also a good idea to regularly check and maintain your motorcycle’s tires, brakes, and lights to keep them in optimal condition for poor weather situations.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions usually result from a combination of visibility issues and the failure of other drivers to maintain a safe distance. Motorcycles are smaller and less visible compared to cars making it easier for them to be overlooked by other road users, especially at high speeds or in heavy traffic.

Common causes of rear-end collisions include:

  • Sudden Stops: Motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars, which may catch following drivers off guard if they are not maintaining a safe distance.
  • Low Visibility: Motorcycles might be less visible to distracted drivers or those whose view is obstructed.

Below are some recommended measures for preventing these collisions:

  • Always leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. This gives you enough time to react and stop safely if the traffic slows suddenly.
  • Signal well in advance of making a turn or changing lanes to give other drivers clear notice of your intentions.
  • Ensure your motorcycle’s brake lights are always functioning properly. Consider using a modulating brake light that flashes rapidly when you slow down to catch drivers’ attention more effectively.
  • Wearing reflective clothing and installing reflective tape on your bike can greatly improve your visibility, particularly during dawn, dusk, and at night.

If you are injured in a rear-end collision, speak to an Alpharetta personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can review the circumstances of your accident and help you pursue a claim against the at-fault driver.

Not Knowing the Roads

When you ride through areas that you don’t know, it can potentially lead to dangerous situations like unexpected stops, turns, and adjustments in speed, thereby increasing the likelihood of accidents. Strategies for safely navigating unknown routes include:

  • Pre-Ride Research: Before setting out, take time to study your intended route. Look for potential challenges like sharp curves, heavy traffic areas, and poorly lit roads.
  • Use Landmarks: Familiarize yourself with major landmarks along your route. They can serve as cues for turns or stops and help you stay oriented.
  • Ride Conservatively: When riding in unfamiliar territory, reduce your speed and increase your following distance. This conservative approach gives you more time to react to sudden changes in the road or traffic conditions.

Planning your route in advance allows you to focus more on riding and less on finding your way. In addition, modern GPS systems designed for motorcycles offer real-time traffic updates and route guidance which can enhance road awareness. Ensure your GPS device is mounted securely so that you can glance at it without diverting your focus from the road. Use voice commands and audio cues to minimize the need to look away from your path.

Mismatching Skill Level with Motorcycle Type

A mismatch between a rider’s skills and the type of motorcycle they are operating can lead to dangerous situations. For instance, high-performance bikes require advanced handling skills that might be too demanding for a novice rider, increasing the risk of accidents. To avoid this risk, it is recommended that you:

  • Select a motorcycle that matches your current skill level. Beginners might consider starting with a lower-power model that is easier to control and less responsive to overly quick throttle adjustments.
  • Consider upgrading to more powerful bikes as your skills improve. This gradual progression allows you to develop confidence and competence without being overwhelmed by a bike that is too challenging for your level.

Motorcycle safety courses cater to different skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders. Advanced training courses can help even experienced riders refine their techniques and learn new maneuvers that improve safety on the road.

Injured? Contact an Alpharetta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

At Horst Shewmaker, we urge all motorcyclists to ride responsibly and be proactive in enhancing their riding skills through continuous education. However, we also recognize that accidents and severe injuries can happen even to the most cautious riders. When a negligent motorist causes a catastrophic collision, a motorcycle accident attorney can help the injured rider seek maximum compensation.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident in Georgia, we encourage you to contact our office. We will take steps to protect your rights, demand fair compensation for your medical bills and other losses, and make sure that your recovery is as smooth and thorough as possible. For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer, call 404-400-1175 or contact us online today.

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