Types of Motorcycle Accidents in Rhode Island

a person on a motorcycle

Some common types of motorcycle accidents include rear-end accidents, limited visibility accidents, and failure to yield the right of way. These accidents are often devastating. A Rhode Island motorcycle accident lawyer can help all parties recover the compensation they deserve.

Exploring Rhode Island via motorcycle may be exciting, but it can also be risky. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that, nationwide, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than larger motor vehicles such as cars, sport utility vehicles, or pickups to be involved in fatal crashes. 

As a passionate motorcyclist, you can mitigate some of the risks on the road by abiding by Rhode Island’s traffic laws. Still, you’ll remain vulnerable, particularly when other drivers are negligent or impaired.

Awareness helps! If you’re prepared for others’ negligence, you can adopt defensive strategies that give you an extra edge as you tackle dangerous roads. To that end, you’ll find the main types of motorcycle accidents in Rhode Island, as well as factors that increase the likelihood of a collision.

Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Serving Rhode Island​

Were you involved in a car or motorcycle accident in Rhode Island? If negligence played a role, you owe it to yourself to seek legal recourse. With our skilled motorcycle accident lawyers in your corner, you can secure damages for your suffering. 

Look to Marasco & Nesselbush for the support you need during this difficult time. Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers have a strong track record in many areas of personal injury law, including motorcycle accidents. We’ll provide compassionate, proactive support through every step of the legal process.

Contact us today to discover how you can benefit from working with our personal injury lawyers in Rhode Island.

Limited Visibility Accidents​

Limited-visibility accidents occur when drivers fail to see motorcycles. Drivers may neglect to check their blind spots under the assumption that they’ll naturally see any obstructions in their side mirrors. Heavy traffic and difficult weather conditions — such as snow or fog — further limit visibility and make motorcyclists even more susceptible. 

As a motorcycle rider, you can do your part by wearing reflective helmets or brightly-colored clothing and accessories. Additionally, reflectors placed directly on bikes draw extra attention to motorcycles. Still, drivers operating larger vehicles can regularly check blind spots instead of relying on side mirrors or active safety features alone. If inattentive driving leads to a collision, work with a Rhode Island motorcycle accident lawyer to seek damages.

fire fighters at a motorcycle accident

Failure-To-Yield Accidents​

Rhode Island laws do not explicitly grant motorcyclists the right of way. Rather, the responsibility to yield depends on the situation at hand. 

Motorcyclists and drivers alike must yield when navigating T junctions or using on- or off-ramps. Failure to do so can increase the likelihood of collisions, no matter who is at fault. Yielding is also important at four-way stops and yellow lights.

Rear-End Accidents​

With motor vehicles such as cars or sport utility vehicles, rear-end accidents are typically deemed ‘minor’ collisions. When motorcycles enter the picture, however, the situation can quickly become a lot more severe. These accidents take two main forms:

  • Motor vehicles run into the back end of motorcycles. Often, this occurs when motorcyclists downshift without triggering the brake lights. In these situations, drivers may not realize that motorcyclists intend to slow down.
  • Motorcyclists run into larger vehicles. If motor vehicles brake quickly — or if motorcyclists follow too closely — bikes may slam into the back of vehicles. 

In both types of accidents, motorcyclists are at a high risk of being thrown from their bikes. This may substantially increase the severity of ensuing injuries.

Forcibly ejected motorcyclists could hit the pavement, concrete barriers, or other structures, potentially causing traumatic brain injuries or soft tissue injuries. In other cases, motorcyclists thrown through the rear windows of larger vehicles sustain lacerations and broken bones. 

Rear-end accidents are more likely when roads are slippery. Night riding is especially dangerous, regardless of traction. Drivers are less likely to spot motorcyclists after the sun goes down.

Single-Bike Accidents​

Not all motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles. Single-bike accidents occur when a motorcyclist loses control of their bike. These accidents may place other motorcyclists or drivers at risk, forcing them to swerve to miss out-of-control motorcycles. Similarly, single-bike incidents may occur when motorcyclists are forced to swerve in response to other vehicles losing control.

Regardless of other drivers’ involvement, these accidents can be just as alarming as their multi-vehicle counterparts. A motorcyclist struggling to get a bike under control could slam into medians, buildings, or trees.

Other contributing factors could include alcohol impairment, difficult road conditions, motorcycle defects, distraction, and poor training.

Accidents Due To Motorcycle Defects​

Motorcyclists can feel confident that their vehicles are safe and well-constructed. Unfortunately, defects are common — even among trusted names such as Honda and Harley-Davidson. Features prone to defects include:

  • Kickstands
  • Brakes
  • Idle stop
  • Throttle
  • Frames
  • Handlebars

Motorcycle defect accidents can take many forms. If the brakes are defective, motorcyclists may be rear-ended by larger vehicles. Frames or handlebars made from low-quality materials are prone to cracking. Defective tires cause motorcyclists to lose control, often resulting in dangerous skidding or swerving. 

a motorcycle on its side

Manufacturers aren’t always responsible for these defects. Poor maintenance increases the likelihood of parts breaking down, especially in older motorcycles. 

In select cases, defective aftermarket parts or upgrades are to blame. Aftermarket changes often fail to comply with federal safety standards. If not properly installed, these components could break or fall off. The parts themselves may also compromise motorcyclist safety if they’re not appropriately sized. Key risks include:

  • Sticking clutches
  • Ruptured tire tubes
  • Cracking hand levers
  • Excessively soft handlebar grips
  • Light-emitting diodes with limited visibility

Motorcyclist Negligence​

Many motorcycle accidents result entirely from the negligence of car, sport utility vehicle, or other motor vehicle drivers. But sometimes motorcyclists contribute to these accidents. 

Speeding and other motorcyclist behavior can complicate seemingly straightforward motorcycle accidents in Rhode Island. However, the state’s doctrine of pure comparative fault allows motorcycle riders to recover compensation even when they share some of the blame for their accident.

DUI Accidents Involving Motorcycles​

Negligent driving behavior becomes more common and more dangerous when alcohol or other substances are involved. Impaired drivers are less likely to spot motorcycles or to yield appropriately. They’re also inattentive and, often, aggressive. Drowsiness is common among drivers under the influence of cannabis, which may result in slow reaction times.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, “61 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involved the presence of alcohol and/or drugs” in 2019.

Wrongful Death In Motorcycle DUI Accidents​

Sadly, motorcycle accidents involving drugs or alcohol often end in tragedy. Rhode Island Department of Transportation data show that motorcyclists are overrepresented in the state’s traffic fatalities. Motorcycles are involved in a shocking 14 percent of Rhode Island traffic-related deaths, despite accounting for a mere 3 percent of the state’s total motor vehicles. 

Many of these fatalities result from alcohol and drug impairment. In the midst of such tragedy, it behooves loved ones to seek representation from a wrongful death lawyer in Rhode Island.

While there’s no true source of solace after losing a family member in a drunk-driving accident, wrongful death damages can at least ease the financial burden, such as burial costs and lost wages.

Contact A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today​

Motorcycle accidents can have serious consequences for riders. Understanding the various types of accidents and the factors that contribute to them can help riders make informed decisions about their safety on the road.

It is important for all road users to be aware of the presence of motorcycles on the road and to take necessary precautions to avoid collisions and keep everyone safe.

If you’ve been injured in a Rhode Island motorcycle accident, reach out to our experienced personal injury team for a free case evaluation today.

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