Common Causes of Nebraska Motorcycle Accidents  

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Motorcycle accidents are a serious injury risk for motorcycle riders and their passengers in Nebraska. These collisions can inflict life-changing injuries on victims. If you enjoy riding a motorcycle, it is important to familiarize yourself with some of the top causes of motorcycle accidents in Nebraska. Identifying and avoiding common accident risks could save your life.

Distracted Driving

According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, 30 motorcycle fatalities were recorded in 2022. This was a 43 percent increase from 21 deaths in 2021. In 2020, the most recent year data is available, 379 motorcyclists were injured in traffic accidents and 34 were killed. This was an increase from 359 motorcycle injuries and 25 deaths recorded in 2019.

One reason motorcycle accidents – and traffic collisions in general – have occurred more often in recent years is due to distracted driving. This has become more of an issue due to handheld electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,522 lives were lost in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2021. From 2012 to 2021, more than 32,000 estimated people have died in distracted driving accidents.

Driver inattention drastically increases the odds of motorcycle-vehicle collisions. Distracted drivers are more likely to miss or fail to see oncoming motorcycles. They may attempt to change lanes or merge on top of a motorcycle, or fail to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist at an intersection. Distracted drivers also have delayed reflexes and reactions to changing roadway situations, such as a motorcyclist coming to a stop. 

Driving Under the Influence

It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving under the influence can greatly increase the odds of a motorcycle accident taking place in Nebraska. A drunk driver is more likely to violate traffic laws, such as excessive speeding or red-light running. Intoxication can also lead to poor decision-making and dangerous behaviors, such as tailgating a motorcyclist.

Failure to Yield

Every motorist in Nebraska has a legal duty to comply with traffic laws and roadway rules. This includes yielding the right-of-way to others, when applicable. The right-of-way is the right to proceed across a road or into an intersection. Motor vehicle drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists in certain situations, such as when a motorcycle approaches an intersection first.

Failing to yield is a common cause of motorcycle-vehicle collisions, including catastrophic and deadly T-bone accidents. Left-turn accidents are a common example; these collisions occur when a vehicle turns left directly in front of a motorcycle, causing the motorcyclist to run off the road or collide with the driver. Paying attention, obeying rights-of-way laws and yielding to motorcyclists are important rules for motorists to follow.


Speeding increases the risk of motorcycle accidents in Nebraska. When a driver is exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions, he or she may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision with a motorcycle. A fast-moving vehicle needs more time and distance to come to a complete stop than one traveling at a safe speed. A speeding driver is also at higher risk of losing control of the vehicle. Jerking the steering wheel at a fast speed could result in a rollover accident.

Reckless and Aggressive Driving

Dangerous drivers in Nebraska exhibit reckless or aggressive driving behaviors that increase the odds of a motorcycle accident. This can include speeding, tailgating, honking or shouting at a motorcyclist, weaving between traffic, drifting in and out of a lane, following too closely, making illegal turns or U-turns, and making unsafe lane changes. Reckless drivers can face criminal charges in Nebraska after causing a motorcycle accident in addition to a citation for a traffic violation.

Blind Spots

Motorcycles are more easily missed by drivers due to their small size. A motorcycle can easily fit into a standard motor vehicle’s blind spot, or the area of the road that the driver cannot see in his or her mirrors. If a driver is not careful and does not check his or her blind spots adequately, he or she could merge or change lanes on top of a motorcyclist and cause an accident.

Road Hazards

Driver error is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents in Nebraska. However, it is not the only cause. Road hazards are also a significant motorcycle crash risk. Motorcycles are lighter than passenger cars – and therefore more susceptible to dangerous road defects, such as potholes and uneven road surfaces. A motorcyclist could lose control of his or her bike after striking debris in the road, for instance.

The government in Nebraska is responsible for maintaining public roads. Government agencies must regularly inspect roads and highways for hazards. If there is a storm, roads must be inspected and cleaned by city workers. The government must also respond to driver complaints regarding road condition issues in a timely manner. Ignoring known road hazards can make the government agency responsible for a related motorcycle crash.

Vehicle Defects

If a motorcycle contains a defective part, such as faulty brakes or steering problems, it could malfunction in the middle of a ride and cause a dangerous loss of vehicle control. Motorcyclists who are injured by defective vehicles are often able to file product liability claims against the motorcycle manufacturer in pursuit of financial compensation for their losses.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? We Can Help

If you or someone you love was recently injured in a motorcycle in Nebraska, help is available at Knowles Law Firm. Our Omaha motorcycle accident attorneys can review your case and explain your rights in detail. You may be entitled to financial compensation from a negligent motor vehicle driver or another party.We will investigate your motorcycle accident to determine its cause. Then, we will take steps to gather evidence and build your case, such as interviewing witnesses, returning to the scene of the accident and analyzing a crash report. You can trust our attorneys to seek maximum financial compensation from the at-fault party on your behalf while you focus on recovering. Contact us today to request a free motorcycle accident case review.