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Missouri Sunset

What is a “No Contact” Motorcycle Accident?

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Posted on January 22, 2024

Motorcycle enthusiasts in Missouri love a ride in the open air on scenic routes on a weekend, or for gas-saving daily transportation. Sadly, the same unenclosed design that makes riding an exhilarating experience also leaves motorcyclists at high risk of severe injuries in an accident. Motorcycle riders make up a significant percentage of overall traffic accident fatalities despite accounting for less than 8% of vehicles on the road.

Most traffic accidents involve two vehicles in a collision or a full-sized vehicle and a motorcycle. A later investigation reveals whether the driver or the rider’s negligence caused the accident, leaving them liable for damages. But what happens when no actual collision occurs but a motorcyclist still crashes due to a driver’s negligence? What is a no-contact motorcycle accident?

no-contact motorcycle accidents

What Is a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident in Missouri?

No-contact motorcycle accidents sometimes occur in Missouri and elsewhere. These accidents are also called “phantom collisions” or “phantom driver accidents.” A no-contact motorcycle accident occurs when one driver’s actions cause a motorcycle to crash without a collision. Motorcyclists face a greater risk of no-contact accidents than standard vehicles because the two-wheeled design of a motorcycle increases the risk of tipping or “laying down” when a rider makes a sudden swerve or turn to avoid a collision. In no-contact motorcycle accidents, a driver’s negligence causes the motorcyclist to swerve away or slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. When a Missouri motorcyclist loses control while avoiding a collision and has an accident, it’s a no-contact or “phantom” collision.

Common Causes of No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents

No-contact motorcycle accidents typically result from driver negligence or reckless driving. Drivers who share the road with motorcyclists have a duty to take all reasonable measures to avoid causing an accident with a vulnerable motorcyclist. No-contact or “phantom-driver” motorcycle accidents often result from the following:

  • Unsafe lane changes when drivers fail to check their blind spots
  • Careless drivers merging into traffic without yielding to a motorcyclist
  • Drifting into a motorcyclist’s lane
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield the right of way in intersections with a motorcyclist

When any of the above negligent actions cause a motorcyclist to swerve, it could result in a no-contact accident. A motorcyclist’s defensive maneuvers leave a motorcyclist vulnerable to injuries due to a tip-over, an accidental “lay-down” or driving off the road even when the at-fault driver did not make contact with the motorcycle.

Proving Liability in a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident

Proving liability in a no-contact motorcycle accident presents a significant challenge. Fortunately, most who cause an accident with a motorcycle stop to help. Sometimes they admit fault to the motorcyclist or law enforcement, but some negligent drivers may leave the scene of the accident. In some no-contact accidents, the driver never realizes they caused a crash. Others may leave the scene to avoid the legal and financial consequences.

Proving negligence and liability after no-contact motorcycle accidents takes a thorough investigation through traffic camera footage, a motorcycle’s dash cam video, and eyewitness testimony. With sufficient evidence proving driver negligence, the negligent driver is liable for damages.

In some cases of no-contact motorcycle crashes in Missouri, the injured rider must make a claim with their own insurance to pay for their property damage and medical expenses. A St. Louis motorcycle accident lawyer with experience in no-contact motorcycle accidents can help an injury victim recover compensation in these challenging cases.