How Fast Do Motorcycles Stop?

Riding a motorcycle is a very popular pastime in the United States. Over the last 30 years, the idea of owning a motorcycle for fun has been accepted into mainstream culture.

What was once thought of as a mark of the counterculture is now as normal as a tattoo. You can see every kind of person riding their motorcycles on weekends when the weather is nice.

Although motorcycles can be fun to ride, they are also dangerous. With increased motorcycle traffic on the roads and highways of California, there will be increased motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycle accidents usually involve serious personal injuries because there is not much protection that riding a motorcycle offers a rider. That’s why it’s smart to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer for help if you’ve been injured.

Other than wearing a helmet, there aren’t many safety systems available on motorcycles. And in many states, motorcycle riders don’t even have to wear a helmet. However, the state of California requires motorcycle riders to use an approved helmet at all times.

One question that often comes up when discussing motorcycle accidents is whether motorcycles stop faster than cars. It is important to know the answer to this question because people in vehicles often don’t see motorcycles and pull out in front of them. Motorcyclists need to be able to stop quickly to avoid motorcycle crashes.

This blog will discuss whether motorcycles can stop faster than cars. It will also discuss how stopping time relates to motorcycle accidents and why motorcycle riders often suffer serious injuries in crashes.

If you were involved in a crash while riding a motorcycle and were seriously injured by another driver’s negligence, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be able to answer your questions.

The best way to learn more is to contact an experienced California motorcycle accident law firm. A motorcycle accident attorney with knowledge and skills accumulated over years of successfully representing motorcycle accident victims will be able to fight for your rights.

Motorcycle versus Car

Which can stop faster, a motorcycle or a car? Everyone knows that motorcycles can go pretty fast. But how quickly can they stop?

The answer depends on a few factors.

Many things affect the stopping time of the average motorcycle, such as:

  • The size of the motorcycle
  • The rider’s reaction time
  • The speed of the motorcycle
  • The type of surface (asphalt vs. dirt road)
  • The power of the motorcycle’s brakes
  • The size of the motorcycle’s brakes
  • The weight of the rider and any passengers
  • The width of the motorcycle’s tires
  • The age and wear and tear on the motorcycle’s tires
  • The weather and how slick and slippery the road is

Many motorcycle riders believe that the average motorcycle can stop faster than the average car because a motorcycle is lighter than the car.

It’s easy to understand why people believe this: Motorcycles weigh much less than cars, so less force is necessary to stop a motorbike.

The average car can weigh more than two tons, or over 4,000 pounds. The weight of an average motorcycle is around 400 pounds. If no other factors were involved, it would take a lot less force and braking technology to stop a motorcycle. However, calculating braking distance is a little more complicated than that.

Other people believe that cars can stop faster than motorcycles for one main reason: the size of the tires. Because car and truck tires are usually much wider than the tires on a motorcycle, there is more surface area on the tire that can grip the road, allowing a car to stop faster.

But who is right? Science has more to say on the subject.

The Science of Braking

Generally speaking, the laws of motion dictate that the less mass something has, the less force is necessary to stop it. This means that a lighter object should stop more quickly than a heavier object.

Even though they are heavier by far, cars have four tires with brakes. In contrast, a motorcycle usually shifts most of the braking job to one tire. This means that a motorcycle has only one tire to do the job of braking versus the four tires on a car.

In addition, some sports cars are designed to create an aerodynamic downward push on the vehicle’s frame. This allows more force to be transferred to the tires, which stops a vehicle quicker.

The bottom line is that there is no clear answer, and braking distance depends on many factors. What is clear is that motorcycles have to have a quick braking speed to avoid accidents.

Motorcycle crashes are common and can cause motorcycle riders to suffer horrific injuries. Riders must understand their bike’s abilities to better avoid accidents with cars and trucks.

Have you suffered from serious injuries while on a motorcycle? You may be entitled to receive compensation from the party that caused your injuries. If you have unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, you need to hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.

Leading Causes of Motorcycle Crashes

Some of the causes of motorcycle crashes are the same as for any other vehicle. But some of the causes of motorcycle crashes are unique to motorcycles.

Here are the leading causes of motorcycle crashes that can often cause extensive physical injuries.


Many vehicle accidents are caused, to some degree or another, by speeding. In some cases, a driver is driving too fast, loses control of their vehicle, and causes a crash. In other cases, someone is driving too fast to be able to respond to a sudden emergency.

For example, a motorcycle rider who is going too fast won’t be able to respond in time to stop when a car pulls out in front of them. This is why motorcycle riders need to understand how quickly they can stop their motorcycles.

Left Hand Turns

Left-hand turns are particularly dangerous for motorcycles compared to other, larger vehicles. These turns are dangerous whether the motorcycle makes a left-hand turn in front of oncoming traffic or another car makes a left-hand turn in front of a motorcycle.

When a motorcycle makes a left-hand turn, the rider must turn their blinker on and slow down before turning across the oncoming lane of traffic. Sometimes, the biker has to stop in their lane of travel to wait for oncoming traffic to go by before making the turn.

Slowing or stopping in a lane can be dangerous for motorcyclists. Drivers coming up from their rear might not see that the motorcycle is slowing down. Or they might not see a stopped motorbike at all. When this happens, a motorcycle can be struck in the rear end by a fast-moving car.

When a car makes a left-hand turn across the opposite lane of oncoming traffic, there is also a big risk that the driver of the vehicle might not see a motorcycle coming in the opposite direction. As the car makes the turn, they could pull right in front of the oncoming motorcycle.

If the motorcycle rider can’t stop quickly enough or doesn’t have a fast enough reaction time, then the motorcycle can crash into the car. In these types of crashes, the motorcycle rider will often fly over their handlebars or even over the other vehicle.

Dangerous Road Conditions

Dangerous road conditions are a major cause of motorcycle accidents. Given the fact that a motorcycle only has two wheels, sometimes it doesn’t take much to knock a rider off balance and cause the motorcycle to wipe out.

Some dangerous road conditions can include:

  • Potholes
  • Uneven pavement
  • Slick and slippery roads due to heavy rain or winter weather
  • Wet leaves
  • Deep edges at the roadway drop-offs
  • Debris on the road
  • Rocks in the lane of travel
  • Hidden driveways
  • Unmarked lanes
  • Lack of guardrails
  • Rough and dangerous railroad tracks
  • Standing water
  • Water flowing over the roadway

Another major problem for motorcycles is a dangerous condition that many homeowners with yards don’t realize they create. When homeowners mow their yards and shoot the grass clippings into the road, that creates a danger for motorcycles. These grass clippings can become very slick and slippery, especially when it rains.

Alcohol Use

Many car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No matter what type of vehicle you’re driving or riding, there is no room for consuming alcohol and getting behind the wheel or onto a motorbike.

Even if your blood alcohol content is below the BAC limit of 0.08 percent, drinking still increases your risk of getting into a crash. Just a couple of cocktails or beers can lower your reaction speed and make you unable to respond quickly enough to sudden emergencies.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that among all motorcycle accidents that involved a death, approximately 30 percent of motorcycle riders had a BAC that was above the legal limit.

Reckless Driving

Another major cause of motorcycle accidents is riders driving recklessly and carelessly. Many motorcyclists like to go very fast. Speeding increases their risk of crashes significantly.

Engaging in dangerous practices can increase the risk of a motorcycle rider being struck by another vehicle. Weaving in and out of traffic recklessly or carelessly can cause people to be hurt as well as give all motorcycle riders a bad name.


Riding a motorcycle is a lot different than driving a car or truck. It takes a lot of practice for motorcycle riders to become proficient and safe riders.

In California, motorcycle riders must take a training course or pass a motorcycle driving test to get a special motorcycle license. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone with a license rides their bikes often.

For many people, riding a motorcycle is more of a hobby and isn’t done much during the year. People who don’t ride their bikes much may not ride safely because their skillset is lower. This creates more of a risk that they’ll make a mistake and crash.

Common Motorcycle Crash Injuries

When people are riding motorcycles and get into a crash, there is a good chance they will suffer significant injuries or even death. Motorcycles don’t offer much protection to their riders from impacts during accidents.

People riding a motorcycle are very close to the road. There is a huge risk of being thrown from the motorcycle and traveling through the air great distances. The landing can cause serious blunt force trauma to the human body.

Following are the common potential injuries that people can suffer in motorcycle crashes:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Compound fractures where the bone pierces the skin
  • Amputations of limbs
  • Concussions
  • Fractured skulls
  • Facial fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia
  • Torn muscles
  • Torn or damaged ligaments and tendons

If you you seriously injured, the most important thing to do is seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Seeing a doctor and following up with their treatment plan will help you get better sooner. And it will also help your case by providing clear evidence that you have a serious injury.

The best way to recover compensation for your economic losses and pain and suffering is to hire an experienced California motorcycle accident lawyer. Only when you have a knowledgeable and skilled motorcycle accident lawyer on your side can you recover full compensation.

Contact an Experienced California Motorcycle Accident Attorney for Help

If you have questions about personal injuries you have suffered due to a motorcycle accident, you can get answers from a motorcycle accident attorney. Going through the weeks or even months of medical treatment for significant injuries can cause a lot of fear and anxiety. But you don’t have to go through it alone.

Contact a skilled motorcycle accident attorney to answer your questions and get help.