top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

What Causes a High-Side Motorcycle Crash?

Usually, these types of crashes are caused when the rear wheel loses traction and then regains it quickly. This movement makes the rider lose all sense of stability, and they can end up flying through the air in a heartbeat. There are, of course, different situations that could lead the rear tire to lose traction.


In some cases, these crashes are caused by a rider error or just plain bad luck. What's undeniable is that serious injuries can result from this type of crash. With this in mind, this article is going to focus on ways to avoid a rear-wheel slide that ends in a crash, as well as what to do if and when one of these accidents happens. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also advise on questions such as Where Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur?


Why a Rear Wheel Loses Traction

Why a Rear Wheel Loses Traction


There are quite a few common reasons why a rear wheel can potentially lose traction. As mentioned, in some situations, the rider is just unlucky. They end up running into slippery terrain that causes the rear tire to skid.


In an effort to regain control, many people make the mistake of applying the rear brake, and that's what triggers the second part of the equation that's known to cause most high-side motorcycle crashes. When the brake is applied, the rear wheel can lock in place, and that makes the rider lose all sense of control.


Sometimes, it's not necessarily the terrain that's going to cause problems for riders but their own inexperience and need for thrills. When a rider applies too much throttle, the motorcycle may give them a bit of a counter steer. Riders who panic and apply the brakes hard are typically going to find themselves on the ground more often than not.


Can a Worn-Down Rear Tire Make a High-Side Motorcycle Accident More Likely?


Certainly, having an older tire can contribute to a highside crash. Motorcycle tires are unique in that they need to be able to find grip on the road at different angles. That usually means that they can potentially wear down even quicker than the tires on a car.


At times, people who are not avid riders aren't necessarily aware of the maintenance needs that the different elements on their motorcycles are going to have. That leads to them going out on the road with a rear wheel that's not in optimal conditions to handle the wear and tear of the trip. It's important to remember that these tires need to provide a sense of lateral grip.


The need for lateral grip that's almost unique to the rear wheel means that it's typically going to wear down quicker than the front wheel. In some motorcycles, the size and particularly width of the front wheel and the back wheel are not equal. Therefore, it's just not possible to switch the tires when one of them starts looking worn down.


Too Much Speed Can Cause Accidents as Well


Speed can cause both a low-side motorcycle crash and a high-side one. Accidents caused by too much acceleration typically play out in the following fashion.


In the first step of the process, the rider pushes down on the throttle to increase their speed. They can feel a certain burst of it once the bike responds, and that causes them to feel like they're being pushed back. Many times, the problem is the person pushes down on the throttle at the wrong time, particularly too close to a sharp turn.


If they feel that the rear tire loses traction, they can have a moment of panic that's going to unfortunately lead to their downfall in this scenario. That moment of panic can instinctively lead them to push down on the brake, and that's why the tire suddenly regains traction. These two movements typically push the bike in different directions, forcing the rider to lose control and end up on the ground.


Are High-Side Accidents More Dangerous than Low-Side Motorcycle Accidents?


Any motorcycle accident can lead to severe injuries, particularly when the incident involves too much acceleration. Generally, though, it is accepted that low-side motorcycle crashes tend to be less dangerous than a highside crash. This is mainly because, in a lowside crash, the rider may skid through the ground and suffer plenty of scrapes but typically won't go flying through the air.


The most dangerous lowside crashes happen when the rider locks up the front wheel, and this causes them to be propelled out of the bike and into the air. When too much speed is added to the equation, these accidents can be fatal. In low-speed lowside crashes, the rider is usually able to brace for the fall better, and what's potentially most important is that they won't be launched into the air when these happen.


When there's sideways movement, the rider could potentially skid across to the other side of the road. This can be a really dangerous situation if the bike is pushing the rider into oncoming traffic. Once there's a loss of control, it's hard to straighten the bike back up in any situation. Ultimately, both types of wrecks can lead to fatal consequences.


Common Injuries In These Types of Accidents


Despite having the right protective gear, broken bones are a common occurrence in these types of crashes. Riders should also make sure that they're not dealing with concussions or other types of head trauma that could be more severe. After a collision, a rider should not remove their helmet until medical professionals arrive on the scene.


People who are involved in a high-side crash are very much at risk of injuring their collar bones and experiencing shoulder issues. This is mainly due to the nature of the crash, where riders will typically be launched forward. In these situations, they will lose not only control of the bike but also their bodies as they fly through the air.


It's harder to be able to brace for these types of falls, and that's why injuries from a high side wreck tend to be more severe. Many times, having the right protective gear is the only thing that's going to allow people to walk away from some of these accidents. Without the right protection, the consequences can be dire. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like How common are amputations after a motorcycle crash?


Will the Insurance Company Cover Medical Attention?


The answer to this question will completely depend on the insurance company and the policy that each person has. These companies even warn their clients that their motorcycle insurance policy usually doesn't cover medical attention for the riders. Those bills would need to be covered by a health insurance policy that the person could apply for with the same company if they choose to do so.


Some insurance companies, though, may want to limit their coverage if the accident took place under certain circumstances. If a person is involved in a highside crash because of the road surface, they may be able to build a case not only against the insurance company but the city as well. When there's too much speed involved in the accident, however, the insurance company could be the one that will go on the offensive.


It's important to point out that not all insurance companies will be reluctant to pay for the coverage that they agreed to when a person bought a policy from them. When there's an accident, though, involving a person who wasn't wearing proper protective clothing, they may be reluctant to pay for certain medical bills. That will especially be the case if the person involved in the accident needs special treatment, such as skin grafts to cover up some of the wounds from the accident.


In these situations, the insurance company could argue that the injured person's carelessness caused the injuries. If the treatment goes beyond the level of coverage that a person has with the company, that could also be an issue that they'll have to contend with.


Why Hiring an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Makes Sense

Why Hiring an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Makes Sense


Many people want to assume that in the event of an accident, their insurance coverage will be enough to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, that's not always going to be the case. At times, these insurance providers will be reluctant to provide the coverage that they agreed upon.


In other situations, these companies have been known to offer quick compensation after an accident. The problem with accepting a deal before all of the injuries have healed is that a person may not be considering their need for future medical attention.


Going in for a free consultation with experienced motorcycle accident attorneys in Dallas can provide people who have been in an accident with a better sense of what they're actually entitled to in these situations. If a person has lost movement in a body part, for example, their road to recovery will be long.


Anyone who's involved in a motorbike incident should really be open to discuss their situation with an attorney. It could make their road to recovery much smoother, especially if they can guarantee that their medical expenses will be fully paid for.

bottom of page