Motorcycle AccidentsAnalyzing the Role of Mechanical Issues in Motorcycle Crashes

May 30, 20240

Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, offering freedom, convenience, and fuel efficiency. However, motorcycles also come with increased risks compared to driving a car. Motorcycle riders are more vulnerable on the road and are at higher risk of being involved in a serious or fatal crash. While rider error is often cited as the primary cause of motorcycle accidents, mechanical issues can also play a significant role.

Common Mechanical Issues That Lead to Motorcycle Crashes

Several mechanical problems are known to contribute to motorcycle crashes. Being aware of these issues and properly maintaining your bike is key to preventing accidents.

Faulty Tires

Properly inflated tires with adequate tread depth are critical for maintaining control and stability on a motorcycle. Underinflated tires can cause improper handling and make the motorcycle more susceptible to loss of control. Bald tires with insufficient tread have reduced traction, making it easier to lose grip in wet conditions or while braking. Tires that are damaged, cracked, punctured, or otherwise compromised also pose a safety risk.

Brake Problems

Brakes are a key safety system, and brake issues raise the chances of crashing. Common problems include worn brake pads, leaking brake fluid, stuck calipers, and glazed rotors. Any of these can reduce braking power and slow stopping distance.

Drive Train Issues

The drive train transfers power from the engine to the rear wheel. Issues like a broken drive chain, damaged sprockets, or faulty clutch can affect power transmission and handling. A loose drive chain may come off the sprockets entirely, resulting in an immediate loss of control.

Faulty Throttle

The throttle controls engine power and speed. A sticky throttle that is slow to return or improperly calibrated can cause unexpected acceleration. Throttle cables that are frayed or kinked can also cause throttle problems.

Electrical System Malfunctions

Problems with the battery, ignition system, or lighting can lead to unexpected stalling or loss of visibility. Shorts or loose connections can interrupt power to critical bike systems while riding.

Engine Issues

Mechanical problems in the engine like low oil, blown head gaskets, and dropped valves can affect motorcycle performance. Engine issues may lead to sudden power loss or engine seizure, especially at high speeds.

Suspension and Steering Components

Worn out or loose steering bearings, swing arm bearings, and suspension components can cause wobbles, lack of stability, and loss of control in corners or over bumps.

How Mechanical Failure Causes Motorcycle Crashes

When a mechanical failure occurs on a motorcycle, it directly affects handling and increases the likelihood of a crash. Here are some of the ways motorcycle component failures lead to accidents:

  • Loss of control – Faulty tires, brakes, throttle, or suspension can result in a lack of traction, swerving, wobbling, or inability to steer the motorcycle properly. This may lead to skidding, leaning too far, or going off the road.
  • Reduced stability – Mechanical issues like loose bearings or under-inflated tires reduce the motorcycle’s stability and make it more prone to tipping or loss of balance.
  • Sudden power loss – Engine problems, electrical failures, or drive train issues can cause sudden power loss, especially at high speeds, reducing control.
  • Longer stopping distance – Braking deficiencies caused by worn pads, faulty calipers, or glazed rotors increase stopping distance and the chance of colliding with another vehicle.
  • Decreased visibility – Electrical problems may affect headlights or taillights, making the motorcycle harder to see at night.
  • Unexpected acceleration – Sticky throttles, throttle cables getting stuck, or improperly calibrated throttles can cause unexpected acceleration and lead to loss of control.
  • Mechanical breakdown – Severe mechanical failures like the drive chain breaking, engine seizure, or a collapsed suspension component may lead to immediate loss of vehicle control and crashing.

Preventing Motorcycle Crashes Caused by Mechanical Failure

While mechanical issues on motorcycles can never be completely avoided, proper maintenance and pre-ride inspections go a long way in minimizing risks:

  • Perform routine maintenance and repairs as specified by the manufacturer to keep all components in optimal condition.
  • Inspect tire tread depth monthly and replace tires that are worn out. Keep tires properly inflated.
  • Check brake pads for wear. Replace pads that are nearing the end of their service life.
  • Lubricate the drive chain and check for damaged rollers or excessive looseness.
  • Check throttle operation to ensure a smooth and prompt return to idle.
  • Verify that all lights are functioning properly.
  • Look for leaks, cracks, ballooning, kinks, and fraying in all hoses, cables, belts, and rubber components.
  • Check for loose bolts, nuts, bearings, rackets, and other fasteners.
  • Keep the battery charged and electrical connections clean and tight.
  • Address any unusual noises, vibrations, or performance changes immediately to prevent bigger problems.
  • Do a thorough pre-ride inspection before every ride to catch issues early.

Proper motorcycle maintenance, along with defensive riding skills, is the best way to avoid accidents caused by mechanical failure. However, motorcycle safety also depends on all motorists sharing the road responsibly.

Legal Options if You Are Injured in a Motorcycle Crash

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation, especially if mechanical failure contributed to the crash. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine if you have a valid claim. Compensation could cover medical expenses, lost income, disability, pain and suffering, and other losses arising from the crash.

If product defects led to the mechanical failure, the motorcycle manufacturer may share liability. For motorcycle crashes involving another driver, their insurer would be the target of an injury claim. In hit-and-run crashes or cases where the at-fault driver has minimal insurance, your own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage could provide additional compensation.

Don’t hesitate to contact our law firm today to explore your legal options if you or someone close to you has been harmed in a motorcycle accident caused wholly or partially by mechanical issues. Our dedicated team has a proven track record of recovering maximum compensation for injured motorcycle accident victims.

Visit our office at 15 Broad St #800 Boston, MA 02109.

Or call now for a free consultation on (617) 263-0860.

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