Motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of serious injury in Alberta. As motorcyclists lack the protection of a vehicle around them while riding, they are at a much higher risk of sustaining serious or catastrophic injuries in an accident. 

This year’s motorcycle season started in tragedy with four motorcycle-related fatalities in May. According to the Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society, the province saw 20 deaths in motorcycle crashes in 2021, with 21 deaths the year before. The Society also states that 80% of motorcycle deaths over the past two years occurred in rural areas.

Types of motorcycle accidents

There are three main types of motorcycle accidents: 

  1. Single vehicle: These accidents are the most common and occur when a rider loses control of their bike.
  2. Multiple vehicle: These occur when a car and motorcycle collide, often at intersections.
  3. Left turn: Left turn accidents usually happen when a car makes a left turn and doesn’t see a motorcycle coming. 

If you’re a motorcycle rider, it’s essential to be aware of these common types of accidents and ride defensively to avoid them.

Common causes of motorcycle accidents

Motorcycling instructor Darren Sumner cites inattentional blindness as the primary cause of collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles. Inattentional blindness occurs when a driver fails to notice something in plain sight because it was unexpected and the driver was focusing on something else. 

A different but related cause of motorcycle collisions, Sumner says, is target fixation. Target fixation occurs when a driver’s focus on an object actually increases their risk of colliding with it.

Other common factors contributing to motorcycle accidents include:

  • Road hazards including potholes, debris, construction equipment, or parked cars. These obstacles can cause motorcyclists to lose control of their bike or make it difficult to avoid an accident
  • Weather conditions such as ice, snow, rain, or high wind
  • Driver error or inexperience
  • Speeding, which makes it more difficult to see and react to potential hazards on the road
  • Distracted driving by the motorcyclist or other vehicles, often involving texting or talking on the phone
  • Driver fatigue
  • Impairment of a driver’s judgment and reaction time due to drugs or alcohol

Motorcycle accident injuries

According to Alberta Health Services, the most common injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents are head trauma, bone fractures, and road rash. Brain injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle collisions.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not think you are injured. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent. A medical professional can assess your injuries and provide the appropriate treatment.

Head injuries

Head injuries are often the most severe injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. They can range from minor concussions to more serious traumatic brain injuries, resulting in long-term disability, brain damage, and even death.  

In Alberta, motorcyclists are required by law to wear a helmet while riding. However, even with this safety measure, head injuries are still common in motorcycle accidents. According to the Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society, head injuries cause approximately 60% of motorcycle fatalities.

Road rash

Road rash is a typical motorcycle accident injury and can be very painful. It is caused by the friction between the road and the body when the rider is thrown from their bike and hits and/or scrapes along the pavement.

Road rash injuries can range from mild to severe. Mild road rash may only result in a few cuts or scrapes, while severe road rash can cause more serious damage to the skin, including severe burns, lacerations, scarring, infections, and nerve damage. Antibiotics are necessary to prevent infection, and painkillers may be required. More severe road rash injuries can require surgery to repair the damaged bones, tissue, and muscles.


Fractures, or broken bones, are often caused by the impact or force of a motorcycle collision. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to breaking bones in a crash due to the exposure of their bodies.  The most common broken bones are in the legs and arms, as they are often the first to hit the ground in a fall.

Motorcycle accidents can cause simple fractures as well as compound fractures, which occur when broken bones penetrate the skin. Bikers also risk pelvis, spine, and rib fractures, particularly if thrown from their motorcycle. Regardless of severity, any broken bone can be very painful, substantially limit the injured person’s mobility, and take weeks or months to heal. Trauma to the spine can also cause paraplegia or quadriplegia.

Cuming & Gillespie LLP Helps Recover Maximum Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Injuries

The compassionate personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP have over 20 years of experience dealing with serious personal injury claims arising from motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle collisions. Our firm understands how insurance companies approach claims and will help you build the strongest case possible. We handle every step of the process so you can focus on your recovery. From our office in Calgary, our skilled team proudly advocates for injured individuals across Alberta. Please call us at 403-571-0555 (toll-free at 1-800-682-2480) or reach out online to discuss how we can help you.