A motorcycle is one of the most exhilarating vehicles to drive on the open road, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Bikes represent a huge proportion of vehicle accidents and fatalities. In fact, motorcycle deaths are 28 times more frequent than deaths in any other vehicle—cars included. Are you a biker trying to stay safe on your commute, long trips, or quick zips through town? If so, keep reading for some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.
Making a tight left turn on a motorcycle is dangerous enough, but there’s an even higher risk of an accident when a rider is near a car that’s turning left. According to data from the NHTSA, 42% of fatal accidents between a vehicle and motorcycle happened as the other vehicle made a left turn. These motorcyclists were either passing that vehicle, passing another vehicle, or driving straight ahead when the accidents occurred.
The reason left turns are so dangerous all comes down to visibility. Many drivers aren’t expecting to see a motorcycle in their path when making a turn, and most bikes are small enough to fit within a car’s blind spot. The majority of left-turn collisions happen when the vehicle driver fails to see the motorcyclist before turning.
To avoid a left turn accident, always stay to the right side of the road and avoid passing near intersections.
Poor Road Conditions
Vehicle handling is a lot more challenging on two wheels than on four. As such, bikers need to always be aware of possible weather events and poor road conditions before driving anywhere. These could include:
- high wind speeds or gusts
- road resurfacing or construction
- gravel or dirt roads
Unless you’re confident in your experience and sure you can safely navigate a slippery road surface, consider taking alternate routes or transportation in these conditions. Another clear, sunny day will come soon enough.
Even if they have a license, not every motorcycle rider is experienced enough to drive in heavy traffic. If you’re young and new to driving or just new to riding a bike, you should plan to spend dozens of hours practicing on backroads and in parking lots before you ever drive through town. Have an experienced rider or professional instructor help you gauge your ability to respond to situations and operate your vehicle.
Riding Under the Influence
Drugs and alcohol are even more dangerous for motorcycle riders than they are for other drivers. According to 2018 statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, intoxication was behind almost 40% of all single-vehicle motorcycle deaths.
Because riding a motorcycle takes total concentration and heightened reflex speed, even a single drink is enough to render you incapable of riding safely. You should also avoid other drugs that slow your reaction time and judgment, like marijuana and narcotics.
Driving any vehicle on the road requires complete focus to avoid accidents. As such, anything that takes your eyes, minds, or hands away from driving is a no-go. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- taking phone calls
- snapping photos
- using social media
- adjusting the radio
- eating or drinking
- fiddling with clothing or objects
If you see any other drivers doing these things while operating their vehicles, try to steer clear of them and stay aware of what they’re doing. If you’re tempted to do these things yourself, find a safe spot to pull over and completely stop your bike. Otherwise, try to have everything set and adjusted before you leave home.
Because they’re so nimble, it’s easy to speed on a motorcycle without even realizing it. However, speeding is something you should avoid at all costs, even when there are no other cars in sight.
Why? A lot of it has to do with the fact that motorcycles can’t make tight turns or swerve at high speeds. If you encounter an unexpected obstacle—a pedestrian, an animal, a pothole, or a hidden turn—you may not be able to adjust your direction fast enough to avoid it. This leaves you to either hit something, run off the road, or tip your bike while trying to swerve.
Speed limits can be annoying, but they’re posted for a reason. Always stay aware of the local speed limit and leave home with plenty of time to make it to your destination.
Riders Passing and Splitting Lanes
Another one of the common more frequent motorcycle accident causes is passing and/or lane splitting. Lane splitting occurs when bikers drive through the space between lanes, often in slow or stopped traffic.
Even if it looks like you might be able to fit, exercise extreme caution when passing or splitting lanes. Avoid them both whenever possible. Even though they should be looking out for motorcycles, most drivers aren’t expecting a bike to drive past them in this manner and might not see you in time.
Opening Car Doors
Most motorcycle safety advice tells bikers to always stay to the right side of the road. While this will keep you safer in most regards, it does pose a unique risk in areas with parallel parking.
Drivers usually check for cars before opening their driver’s side door. However, they may not see a smaller motorcycle approaching them. If they open their door right in front of you, you may not be able to stop or swerve to avoid it.
Be careful and drive slowly whenever you’re driving next to parallel-parked cars. Try to stay in the center of the lane so you can move to avoid them if a driver does open their door unexpectedly.
Steer Clear of These Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles give you unmatched freedom on the road, but with that freedom comes great risk. Staying aware of these frequent causes of motorcycle accidents can help you avoid many of the dangerous situations discussed above. Even so, accidents can still happen to the most careful of riders.
If you’ve been injured in a bike crash, finding a reliable motorcycle accident lawyer to represent your case is crucial. The attorneys at RHINO Lawyers of Tampa can help you get compensation for the damages, injuries, and even lost wages you sustained. To request your free case evaluation or to speak with a live representative, call us any time at 844.246.1238 or contact us online today.
CONTACT A TAMPA MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.329.3491.