Motorcycle accidents sometimes may be unavoidable – here’s our Top 10 list of common motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them; if you find yourself in one please contact our motorcycle accident lawyers. You love the open road and live for the thrill of conquering it on your metal beast. That is great, it may be your thing, but you must continuously remember how dangerous it is for motorcycle riders on a shared road.
A comprehensive motorcycle safety report published by Professor Harry Hurt for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supports this fact.
The study carried out by the Traffic Safety Center of the University of Southern California revealed that cars are the cause for more than three in every four traffic accidents involving motorcycles in the United States. The report also reveals that more than six in ten motorcycle crashes happen when car drivers violate the motorcyclist’s right of way.
Here are ten of the most common motorcycle accidents that you need to know how to avoid.
1. Approaching a Sharp Bend Too Fast
You are leaning in around the corner, feeling fully in control of the metal beast trying to drag you with it to the ground. Suddenly, you realize you are going too fast to pull back up. Without time to react, you find yourself in an accident, just like that.
To avoid losing control and toppling over the hedge around bends, you must learn to kill your speed. No matter how good the road is, always ride only as far as you can clearly see. Pay attention to visual cues and landmarks along the road, such as signs and poles, to better estimate the road.
2. Getting Rear-Ended in Traffic
You are riding casually, flowing with the traffic. At the stop sign, you gradually roll to a stop and watch pedestrians cross ahead of you. Suddenly, someone crashes into you from behind. This kind of fender bender accident is the most common on urban roads. You could also get killed, especially if you are trapped between two vehicles.
To avoid getting rear-ended in traffic, always stop closer to the outer side of the lane rather than at the center. Keep the motorcycle in gear with your right hand on the throttle, and keep flashing the brake lights.
3. Left-Turning Cars
The most common type of car accident that involves a motorcycle occurs when the driver makes a left turn oblivious of the rider. It could be that you were in their blind spot for a fraction of a second, or, most likely, they just failed to look.
To avoid this kind of accident, you must be extra careful at the intersections and always be ready when any car turns left. Look out for tell-tale signs that a driver could turn left, such as waiting in the middle of the road and uneven speeding. If you fail to notice when a vehicle turns left in front of you, always be ready to engage in evasive action.
4. A Car Switching to Your Lane
You are riding calmly in the middle of your lane, mind drifting away in enjoyment. You are jolted into reality by someone speeding directly towards you, lights flashing. With limited time to react, there is little you can do but be accommodate the maniac ahead. If the car in the next lane is switching, pushing you off your lane, you have to be smart about how you respond to avoid an accident.
You can avoid accidents that result from cars switching lanes by staying aware of blind spots. Expect car drivers to behave as if you do not exist. Often, they simply fail to notice the tiny rider reflections in their mirrors. When the next car changes lanes, be wary of other drivers following because lane-switching is an imitable behavior.
5. Hazards In The Middle of The Road
The road is deadly when you drive into patches of mud, water, leaves, diesel spills, litter, or glass unexpectedly. These and other forms of debris are examples of what motorcycle riders have to be more concerned about than car drivers. Some substances such as oil spills on the road can cause loss of traction on the tires.
Your skills and experience are critical factors in how effectively you avoid hazards on the road. But the odds of avoiding injury and death are significantly higher if you are all-round a careful rider. Observe the speed limit, especially on roads used by agricultural and construction trucks and machines.
6. Lane Splitting
We have all committed the crime of lane-splitting at one time or another. Motorcycle riders have made it almost fashionable to zip between cars, especially in slow traffic. Just because your bike fits between the lanes does not mean you move through to get ahead of the congestion. You even risk crashing into another motorcycle, trying the same trick to save time.
Avoid lane splitting to avoid accidents. Use good judgment to always have enough space around you on the road. You should always be able to maneuver the bike comfortably, even in an emergency. Lane splitting is a serious crime. You can always argue your case out in minor accidents involving motorcycles if you can prove you were on your lane.
7. Head-On Collisions
Ask any car driver or motorcycle rider, and they will admit that one of their worst fears is a head-on collision accident. For the motorcycle rider, a head-on collision with a car is almost always fatal. This is because the car has the size and weight advantage, and the occupant is better protected from shock with a belt.
Head-on collisions often occur in highway ramps, rural roads, and single-lane streets. You can avoid these accidents by being on the look-out for vehicles overtaking large or slow vehicles on single-lane roads. Drive defensively and study the patterns of the on-coming traffic for impatient drivers.
8. Convoying with Idiots
If you love to ride with your crew every now and then or like to race your buddies on deserted roads, always make room for their mistakes. It is not uncommon for a rider daydreaming on the road or talking on the phone to make a small mistake that causes a domino crash.
Make sure your convoy has an agreed-upon riding etiquette to avoid accidents. These include riding in a staggered formation and keeping a safe distance. The permanent solution to preventing accidents in group rides is picking smarter, more careful ride buddies.
9. Hitting Gravel Behind a Blind Bend
The road can sometimes be very deceiving. Every rider knows that anything – from patches of gravel and sand to loose soil and muddy pools – can hide behind a bend. If you are not careful, you could drive into a patch, and before you realize it, the front wheel wipes out, and you are done.
Your defensive driving skills could save your life. Practice defensive driving to learn how to react to your bike, hitting different surfaces. When you drive on roads you are not familiar with, cut wide corners to increase your view of the road around sharp bends.
10. Drivers or Passengers Opening Car Doors
People in cars in traffic are a very inconsiderate bunch. Have you ever had someone swing open a door and hits you while you are sitting, waiting for traffic to keep moving? If you are lucky, the door opening may scratch your bike a little or touch the handlebars. In a more severe case, you could get knocked off your bike. Another common kind of motorbike collision caused by car drivers and passengers is opening the door on a narrow shared road.
While it may just be a simple case of a passenger or driver not checking the mirror, the momentum of driving onto a metal door can cause serious injury. Avoid this kind of accident by maintaining a door-wide gap between yourself and vehicles around you. Ride slowly in confined environments and pay close attention to cars slowing down.
How You Can Void and Deal with Accidents in General
Observing your environment and slaws of the road are the keys to being safe on two wheels while on the road. However, accidents do happen, and you must be prepared for any eventuality.
Besides ensuring your insurance is up to date, keep the number of a personal injury law firm on your speed dial to call in case of an accident. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has published a booklet of critical tips that will go a long way to helping keep you and other road users safer when riding a motorcycle.
How We Can Help
If you or someone you know finds themselves in a motorcycle accident it is important to contact an experienced attorney, one that has a strong track record working with motorcycle accident victims. The Joel Bieber firm has years of experience working on these types of cases and has offices in Richmond, Virginia Beach, Charleston, Greenville, Baltimore, and Nantucket.