The Most Common Cause of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Mesa

Injuries suffered in Mesa motorcycle accidents can be debilitating or even fatal. Motorcyclists aren’t afforded the protection of a metal body with crumple zones, a frame around a cabin, seat restraint systems or air bags. Even with a helmet on, a motorcyclist is far more likely to die in a crash than the driver or occupant of a passenger car. Given that risk, motorcyclists need to be aware of the leading cause of motorcycle accidents.

Left Turns

The most common cause of motorcycle crash fatalities in and around Mesa is when a motorcycle impacts with a passenger or other vehicle with four wheels. The University of Southern California Traffic Safety Center was commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to study and report on causes of motorcycle accidents. It concluded that when another vehicle was involved in an accident with a motorcycle, that other vehicle violated the motorcyclist’s right of way 66% of the time. In this context, the most frequent accident configuration showed the motorcycle traveling straight ahead with a passenger vehicle making a left turn in front of it. Intersections were the most common places for these types of accidents to occur.

Why Left Turns?

Motorcycles present low and narrow profiles in traffic. Drivers who were turning left and caused a crash often reported that they either never saw the motorcycle approaching, or they didn’t see it until it was too late. This might result in an inference that the motorcyclist was traveling at an unreasonably fast speed, but in the USC study, it was determined that before a crash with a vehicle, the average motorcycle speed was 29.8 mph, while the average speed at the time of the crash was 21.5 mph. It was also determined that motorcyclists had about two seconds to attempt to avoid a crash. About half of the time, visibility of the motorcycle was obstructed by vehicles in traffic or limited by glare.


Most of the fatal injuries suffered by motorcyclists were to the head and chest. When injuries were serious but not fatal, about half of them were to ankles and feet, lower legs, knees, thigh and upper leg. Groin injuries were suffered in about 13% of the crashes.

If you lost a family member in a motorcycle accident in or around Mesa, or if you were seriously injured in one, contact our Motorcycle accident attorney in Mesa to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. You can tell us what happened and how it happened. We can answer your questions too. Then, we’ll advise you of all of thee legal alternatives that are available to you. Motorcyclists have the same right to the use of Arizona roads as anybody else.