Driving a motorcycle is an exciting way to get around, whether for sheer pleasure or transportation. However, it is well known that motorcycles are dangerous, oftentimes due to other drivers’ negligence or carelessness. No matter how vigilant and defensive of a motorcycle driver you may be, you will always be at risk of an accident caused by the others on the road, and the results are typically worse for the people on the motorcycle than they are for the people in the other car or truck. Following an accident, you will need to focus on recovering from your injuries at the same time that you will be filing an insurance claim and working on getting compensation for your motorcycle accident, a process that can be shockingly frustrating. Working with an experienced attorney is usually your best bet to make sure that you have the support necessary to work towards a settlement that works for you, not just the insurance company.
The following are some of the most common situations that lead to motorcycle accidents, but since no two accident is alike, it is impossible to cover all possible scenarios and causes. Take a look at these examples, and keep them in mind throughout your travels – they may serve as a warning about the threat of an accident and help you to ride another day.
Motorcycles take up much less space visually, which means that they are easier to lose in a blind spot. Experienced drivers and those who are looking out for motorcycles know to take an extra moment to be sure that there is not a motorcycle that they have simply missed in their first look, but many drivers are either distracted or not thinking about this additional consideration when they take a turn or change lanes. This can cause a motorcycle rider to swerve and crash, or may result in the vehicle making direct contact with the motorcycle.
No Turn Signals
A frustrating number of drivers on the road each day treat their turn signals as if they are optional, but they are legally required — and for good reason. When drivers make unsignalled lane changes or turns, everyone else on the road must react to this decision with short notice, something that can be especially dangerous for a motorcycle. Drivers making unsignaled lane changes or turn across oncoming traffic can be dangerous for people in passenger vehicles, but since a motorcycle has little or no protection for the rider, these types of collisions can be catastrophic for a rider.
Driving Under the Influence
Making the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after exceeding the legal limit of .08 BAC, or after consuming other mind-altering substances, is reckless and dangerous for everyone on the road. When someone is intoxicated their reaction time slows, their awareness is limited, their motor skills are greatly impacted, and they may have trouble concentrating on their surroundings effectively. While this is dangerous for all vehicles on the road, it can be even more dangerous for a motorcycle, which takes up far less visual space in the drunk driver’s already-impacted peripheral vision.
One of the common results of distracted driving is stopping short in order to avoid a rear-end accident. When a lead driver slams on their brakes, it causes a chain reaction of cars behind them to also hit their brakes to stop quickly, which can cause a crash. However, it can also cause a rear driver to swerve to the side of the road or into a different lane to avoid an accident, which may result in them hitting a motorcycle that they did not realize was in the place that they were swerving to.
Failure to Yield
When someone chooses to ignore a yield or stop sign, they are not giving themselves enough time to ensure that there are no vehicles traveling with the right of way that they may collide with. Some drivers may give a quick glance in both directions before rolling through a stop sign or taking a right on red, but this haste may cause them to miss the motorcycle coming in their direction. When a vehicle pulls out from a side road in front of a motorcycle, it can cause a t-bone accident that sends the motorcycle rider flying from the vehicle and skidding down the road and crashing into any additional obstacles, causing serious injuries.
When a driver pulls into an intersection and plans to take a left turn across a lane(s) of oncoming traffic, it is their responsibility to ensure that they are legally able to proceed (that there is no red left turn signal) and that there are no drivers coming towards them from the opposite direction. Due to a number of factors, it is easier to miss a motorcycle approaching when compared to a passenger vehicle or truck, meaning that people are more likely to accidentally turn into the path of an oncoming motorcycle rider, causing a collision and possibly serious or fatal injuries as a result.
As we gain experience with driving, we tend to forget how overwhelming it was when we first pulled out onto the open road by ourselves. What now feels like second nature to many drivers is, in fact, an overwhelming and consuming collection of tasks comprised of many different brain-taxing requirements to remember and engage in. Inexperienced drivers may be too consumed with keeping the vehicle safely between the lines to remember that motorcycles are around, and may therefore make a dangerous maneuver without realizing their error.
Each time someone succumbs to the compulsion to look at their phone after they hear it vibrate or ding while driving, they are putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. People may think that they can rely on their peripheral vision to alert them of any upcoming hazards as they respond to a text or read an email, but this is rarely, if ever, the case. Instead, taking time to look at a screen can lead to countless kinds of accidents, particularly if a motorcycle is in the vicinity and the driver does not notice them as they commit to a maneuver like a lane change or turn.