10 Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Fatalities in North Carolina

10 Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Fatalities in North Carolina

On the busy roads of North Carolina cities, motorcycle accidents are far more likely to result in death than crashes involving other types of vehicles.

In fact, over 80% of motorcycle collisions across the country result in motorcyclist fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

And the number of yearly motorcycle deaths is only rising in NC!

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) studies show that motorcycle crash fatalities rose about 15.2% between 2020 and 2021. And over the last 5 years, the deaths have increased by nearly 25%.

1. Left-Hand Turns

Motorcyclists are more difficult for most drivers to see, which becomes especially dangerous when drivers take left turns through intersections.

Whether because of inattentive driving, distance misjudgements, or right-of-way mistakes, a surprising 41% of fatalities from U.S. motorcycle-vehicle crashes in 2019 happened while another vehicle driver turned left and the motorcyclist was traveling straight or passing/overtaking another vehicle (NHSTA).

 2. Speeding

Excessive speeding significantly decreases a motorcyclist’s chances of noticing and reacting to other drivers and surroundings in enough time to prevent an accident. And as speed rises, so does the risk of serious injury.

In fact, speed proved to be a major factor in about 33% of nationwide motorcycle deaths in 2019, according to the NHTSA.

3. Bad Lane Changes

Motor vehicle drivers frequently hit motorcyclists after neglecting to check their blind spot or use turn signals when moving from lane to lane.

4. Lack of Experience

Motorcyclists need significant training to handle their vehicle-just like people do when they get a motor vehicle driver’s license. Without the proper understanding of their motorcycle and local road rules, motorcyclists can put themselves AND other drivers in unnecessarily dangerous situations.

Unfortunately, a significant portion (30%) of U.S. motorcycle accidents in 2019 involved drivers who did not have valid motorcycle licenses.

5. Drugs & Alcohol

It’s never a good idea—nor is it legal—to drink alcohol or use drugs before driving, whether you’re handling a motor vehicle or a motorcycle. When driving a motorcycle, you need to have extremely sharp reflexes so you can react quickly to potential safety risks to you. And yet, 29% of motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2019 were under the influence of alcohol—more than any other type of motor vehicle driver.

6. Distracted Driving

Besides drugs and alcohol, there are a wide range of other things that can create distractions on the road—from texting to fellow passengers or riders to mere day-dreaming.

7. Lane Splitting

Many motorcyclists develop a bad habit of shifting between multiple road lanes and weaving through traffic. Not only is this illegal, but it also creates dangerous situations to which many drivers may not know how to respond.

8. Abrupt Stops

We can’t forget the all-too-frequent fender bender. Although rear-end accidents can be very serious for all drivers, motorcyclists have a greater injury risk because of their lack of external vehicle protection.

9. Parked Car Doors

A common problem for bicyclists and motorcyclists alike, “dooring” can be much more serious than it sounds. When a driver parks a vehicle on the side of a roadway and doesn’t watch out behind them for oncoming traffic, motorcyclists frequently cannot react in enough time to avoid a collision.

10. Road & Weather Conditions

Motorcycle crashes can have a wide range of external causes, such as:

  • Potholes
  • Crumbling pavement
  • Debris
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Absence of necessary road signs & signals.

Robert Armstrong | Specialized North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s essential for you to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of medical bills, building a claim, and presenting your case.

Get in touch with Robert Armstrong’s office today!


Essential Motorcycle Insurance Coverage to Purchase In North Carolina

Essential Motorcycle Insurance Coverage to Purchase In North Carolina Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

If you own a motorcycle in North Carolina, you must have it insured, according to state law.

The minimum coverage you can have on your motorcycle in North Carolina is liability.

What are the mandatory motorcycle insurance coverage requirements in North Carolina?

Here are the mandatory insurance requirements for motorcycles in North Carolina:

  • $30,000 for bodily injuries or death to one person in a single accident.
  • $60,000 for bodily injuries or deaths to more than one person in a single accident.
  • $25,000 for property damage occurring in a single accident.

When you’re shopping for motorcycle insurance, remember that these requirements are the minimum coverage by law. You can add more coverage if you believe you need it.

What are the optional coverage options for motorcycles?

Aside from liability insurance, most insurance companies that write motorcycle policies will offer other types of optional coverage that will give you added protections for damages and injuries you might incur if you are ever in a motorcycle accident. These include:

  • Collision – This will cover damage to your motorcycle if you are in an accident and it is your fault. For damages to your motorcycle after and accident.
  • Comprehensive – This is for any damages to your motorcycle that could happen that are not related to an accident.
  • Medical payments – If you are ever in a motorcycle accident and it is your fault, this type of coverage will help to pay your medical bills if you’re injured. Please note that Medical payments is not an option in North Carolina for motorcycles.
  • Towing and labor – If your motorcycle breaks down on the side of the highway, this type of coverage will make sure you get roadside assistance.
  • UM/UIM – Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage to protect you in the event that the other vehicle that caused the wreck either has NO insurance (UM) or is Underinsured (UIM). In that case you can make a claim on your own policy to get the compensation that you deserve. This is perhaps THE MOST IMPORTANT COVERAGE that a rider can buy. It will protect you!

Even though the state keeps track of whether you have insurance through insurance companies that notify the DMV if there’s a lapse in coverage, you are still required by law to show proof of insurance if asked by law enforcement. All you have to do is keep your current insurance card on you at all times.

What are the penalties if you fail to maintain proper insurance for your motorcycle?

Now that you know what kind of insurance coverage you need, what can happen to  you if you fail to keep proper insurance on your motorcycle?

Well, that depends:

  • First, your insurance company will let the DMV know that you don’t have current insurance.
  • Once that happens, a Form FS 6-7 notice will be sent to you.
  • If you did, in fact, have a lapse in your insurance coverage, you must show proof of your current coverage, pay the fine implemented by the DMV and mail it back to the department within a certain number of days of the date listed on the form.
  • If you fail to do the above, your license plates will likely be suspended for a month.
  • If that happens, you’ll have to wait the 30 days, then go to the DMV and clear things up, while likely paying a heftier fine.

If you or someone you love has been in a motorcycle accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.

How is liability determined in a motorcycle accident

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Motorcycle accident cases are typically more complicated than other vehicle accident cases, mostly because the injuries for the motorcycle driver are more severe and there are several factors associated with driving a motorcycle.

These elements include:

  • Road hazards: Flying trash, small animals and other everyday road hazards are far more dangerous for motorcycles than they are to other vehicles.
  • No protection between you and the elements: When a person inside a vehicle gets into an accident, there’s a barrier between the person and the road. That’s not the case when you’re on a motorcycle.
  • Less visibility: When you ride a motorcycle, you’re less likely to be seen by other drivers than if you were in a vehicle.

How is liability determined in a motorcycle accident?

Liability in most motorcycle accidents is based on the law of “negligence.”

Someone is deemed negligent when he fails to exercise ordinary care or that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise. It’s behavior that injures another person. You can be ruled as negligent if you hit and injure the following:

  • Other motorists
  • Passengers
  • Pedestrians
  • Anyone else you might encounter on the road

If a driver was not being careful and someone got hurt because of it, the driver will be held liable.

A lot of motorcycle accidents are the fault of other drivers, but sometimes, the motorcycle rider is to blame.

What are the elements of negligence?

A negligence claim involves four key elements. The plaintiff must prove the following:

  • The law mandated that the defendant (the person being sued) was to act  reasonably careful.
  • The defendant was not careful. That is calculated by basing the defendant’s behavior to that of  a “reasonable person.”
  • Did the defendant cause the plaintiff’s injuries?
  • Was the plaintiff injured? Did the plaintiff have losses (monetary, time off work, loss of quality of life, etc.)? If no one was hurt, then there’s nothing to try to recover in court or through an insurance settlement. That’s true even if the person who caused the accident acted carelessly.

What should you do if you’re in a motorcycle accident?

If you are in a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else, you should contact an attorney immediately. You should also take the following actions if you are able to:

  • Take notes and pictures: What do you remember about the accident? Write down every little detail that comes to mind: who, what, when, where, why. Who was at the scene? How many police officers? How was the weather? Did you take pictures of the scene and damage to your motorcycle or the other vehicle involved?
  • Log your injuries and losses: You should report your injuries to your medical provider and your insurance company, but you should also keep a personal record of them. Take as many photographs as possible.
  • Record your conversations: You should try to keep a record of every conversation you have that’s related to the accident, whether it’s with your insurance company, the responding police officer or the person who caused the crash.


If you or someone you love was in a motorcycle accident, contact the offices of Robert Armstrong today.