Do Motorcycles Stop Faster Than Cars?

by Paula A. Wyatt | June 28, 2022 | Blog, Personal Injury | 0 comments

Do Motorcycles Stop Faster Than Cars? The braking system works slightly differently in a motorcycle than in a car. Most people are under the impression that a motorcycle can stop faster than a car. A bike has two different brakes - a rear and a front brake. The rear brake has a lever under the person’s right hand, and the left brake has control under the left foot. As a motorcyclist, you must use both brakes, especially when coming to a sudden stop. In emergencies, the motorcycle will stop correctly, and a collision can still result because other drivers on the road did not stop in time. Cars have different braking systems as opposed to a motorcycle. Various road tests have shown that motorcycles and cars can stop at about the same rate. In some instances, motorcycles can stop faster. There is one caveat to remember; however, motorcycles need additional space to brake. They will have a minor contact patch, which means less traction. There is, however, more traction in the rear than in the front. A motorcycle can stop at about the same rate as a passenger vehicle, sometimes faster. Different cars will stop faster than others, so there is no direct answer to who can stop faster. Many factors contribute to how fast any vehicle can brake, so there is no sure answer for every situation. While physics favors a motorcycle braking more quickly, the real world is an entirely different story. Some contributing braking factors, especially for passenger vehicles, are:
  • Luggage loads
  • Driver skills
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Passengers
  • Panic and emotional responses
  • Vehicle technology
Another consideration is that the rider has experience in many road tests, which does not always translate to the real world. Engineers can perform road tests under extreme conditions, but they do not mirror the real world.

Stopping distance

San Antonio, TX Lawyer for sudden stop motorcycle accidentsThe stopping distance between a motorcycle and a sedan differs significantly. Several factors go into the stopping distance of the vehicle, such as:
  • Tires: The tires on a vehicle will impact how well the car drives and stops. You must consider the age, tread, and size of the tire. These factors will determine how fast a vehicle can stop. The tread is significant because it helps the vehicle grip the surface underneath. When the tread is worn, this causes the car to have a slower stopping time.
  • Brake quality: Another significant factor in stopping is the braking quality. You must change your brakes periodically. When the brake system does not correctly work, the vehicle cannot stop appropriately.
  • Driver experience: While the vehicle will play a huge role in stopping time, the driver’s experience is also critical. You can have the most sophisticated car and still be unable to stop because you do not react in time. A vehicle driver must pay attention to the road to respond to any hazards with ample time.
  • Speed: One final factor to consider is speed. When drivers reach excessive speed, they will require more time to brake. The same is true for a motorcycle. If a motorcycle rider sees the threat and stops in time, but the driver behind them is speeding, the driver will not stop in time to avoid hitting the motorcycle. When danger lies ahead, the driver cannot react in time, and others on the road are in danger.
It is a common misconception that size plays a role in stopping because commercial trucks require more time and space to stop. Weight does not affect the ability of a vehicle to stop as much as the coefficient of friction. The car and the driver must work in tandem to stop safely. A negligent or inexperienced driver cannot stop in time and can cause an accident.

Sudden stop motorcycle accidents

All drivers must stay alert to their surroundings, which may sometimes require a person to stop suddenly. When a vehicle suddenly brakes, it causes the cars behind them to brake. However, if a driver follows too closely or does not react in time, then a rear-end collision will result. Other outcomes are sideswipe accidents, multi-car pile-ups, and sandwich accidents. When a motorcycle rider suddenly stops, it can be perilous if the vehicle behind you does not stop in time. For several reasons, sudden stop accidents are more dangerous for motorcycles than for cars. While it can theoretically stop faster than a passenger car, a bike needs more space to brake. When a motorcycle does not have the braking distance it needs, it will impact the vehicle in front of them. Another reason these actions are so dangerous for motorcycles is that they do not have the additional cover that a car has. A passenger car has front impact airbags, a reinforced compartment, and other safety devices that a motorcycle does not. Car passengers have seat belts that prevent them from being exerted from the vehicle, but motorcycles do not. A motorcyclist can fall over, slide, or fly off their bike during a sudden stop accident. One final contributing factor to the difference between a motorcycle and a car in a sudden stop accident is weight. When two cars collide, they are roughly the same mass, and therefore the occupants will sustain minor injuries. When a collision between a motorcycle and a car, a significant size difference results in the motorcycle taking the brunt of the impact. A sedan weighs four times more than a motorcycle. These are averages, and these are vehicles that weigh more or less. When a large vehicle comes into contact with a smaller one, serious injuries result, and loss of life is a potential outcome.

Types of sudden stop accidents

There are several different types of sudden stop accidents. The open road is unpredictable, and therefore there are many reasons an accident can occur. One example is when the vehicle in front stops and the motorcyclists do not have enough time to stop careening them into the car’s rear. Another common sudden stop accident is when a motorcycle avoids hitting the vehicle in front of them, but the car behind them does not avoid hitting them. A sandwich situation is one of the most frightening for motorcycle riders. A sandwich accident is when a motorcycle hits the car in front of them, and then the vehicle behind them hits them. You end up being in the middle of a sandwich between the two cars. Depending on various factors, these accidents are often deadly or catastrophic. Another catastrophic and convoluted example is a multi-vehicle pile-up. We typically see these types of accidents on highways and other fast-moving throughways. One vehicle stops suddenly, and then every car behind them crashes. It is a massive accident, and the casualties are often high. One final example is a motorcycle stopping to avoid a forward collision, the vehicle behind them does not stop but instead tries to move and sideswipe the bike. The impact’s force sends you spinning toward oncoming traffic, where a second incident ensues. The fate of a motorcycle rider hangs in the balance of all of these accidents. Your size compared to other vehicles is the main contributing factor to the severity of injuries and damage in these accidents. All drivers will need to react quickly, and if even one driver is not paying attention, there will be dire consequences.

Injuries from a sudden stop motorcycle accident

A sudden stop motorcycle accident will lead to a range of different ailments. Depending on where the impact occurs, you will suffer other injuries. For example, if you hit the vehicle in front of you, you can suffer:
  • Broken nose
  • Eye damage
  • Internal organ damage
  • Broken bones
  • Head injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Burns
  • Gaping wounds
  • Disfigurement
When you suffer a collision from the rear, you can sustain these injuries: The injuries in this list are examples, and these injuries are not specific to each collision type. You can suffer any damage in an accident. In addition to the initial accident, secondary scenarios will result. If there is a chain reaction, such as the motorcycle sliding into oncoming traffic, it can cause additional injury to the victim. Sudden stop accidents are hazardous for motorcyclists, and these accidents are often unavoidable to the motorcycle rider. You cannot control what the person in front or back of you is doing. While you may keep your distance, they may disregard your space or even taunt you. Do not suffer in silence after a sudden stop accident. Call a sudden stop accident lawyer instead to protect your rights.

Liability for a sudden stop accident

Establishing liability after an accident is essential, especially in a sudden stop accident with multiple parties. A lawyer will look at what led to the accident during a full investigation. Your lawyer will look at the following factors and how they play a role in your damages:
  • Negligence
  • Impairment
  • Mechanical defect
  • Why the stop occurred
  • Speed
  • Driving records
Distracted drivers are negligent and should not get behind the wheel. Distractions are a leading cause of accidents, especially sudden stops. When a person drives while distracted, it takes their eyes off the road, and they cannot stop in time when there is a hazard that causes other vehicles, like your motorcycle, behind them to stop suddenly. Impairment is another major factor that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road and have slower reaction times. If a motorist is impaired, they should not be on the road. While a mechanical defect may cause the accident, it does not excuse the driver from their responsibilities. A driver must maintain their vehicle and fix any issues they notice. When an individual takes their vehicle in for service, the mechanic will detail any problems or areas of concern with the car. When a person fails to resolve these concerns and an accident results, the driver is held liable for their lack of action. The preliminary investigation may not uncover these factors, but a sudden stop accident lawyer can.

What to do after a sudden stop accident

When you sustain damage from a sudden stop accident, it is critical to obtain legal counsel. As a motorcyclist, you will sustain the brunt of the force of the other vehicles involved. You are also more susceptible to serious injury. In the worst cases, a motorcycle rider may lose their life due to the negligence of other drivers on the road. No amount of money can bring the rider back. You can hold the other party accountable for their actions. The other party must accept liability for the accident, and the insurance company representing them must issue you a payment. You can seek different types of compensation after a sudden stop accident, from economic to non-economic. Monetary damages will cover:
  • Medical expenses like ambulance transport, surgery, medications, rehabilitation, medical devices
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Property damage
Essentially all tangible losses that have documentation attached are recoverable economic damages. Non-economic damages are intangible items that impact your life resulting from the accident. These include:
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Physical pain and suffering
The basis of any claim is to prove liability and how the other person causes your injury. A sudden stop accident attorney will need to show the driver owes you a duty of care, and they breached this duty through their negligent actions. Due to their efforts, you suffer an injury and financial damages. While it sounds simple, an uncooperative rival insurance company can make the process contentious. Contact a sudden stop motorcycle accident attorney who knows how the insurance company works and how to fight against these parties and get the compensation you deserve for your damages.


"*" indicates required fields

I have read the disclaimer.**