If you’re a motorcyclist, you know that, sadly, every time you take a ride you are at greater risk of being injured in a crash than if you were driving in a car. This disparity can be attributed to a variety of factors, but two of the main causes are: (1) motorcycles, being smaller than four-wheel vehicles, can be more difficult for drivers to see/notice, and (2) even if the driver of another vehicle IS aware that you are there, he or she may be one of the many inconsiderate drivers who don’t like sharing the road with motorcycles, and thus do not practice safe driving habits around them.
That’s why it’s so important for motorcycle operators to drive defensively. We believe it can be helpful to understand three of the biggest dangers to motorcyclists on the road, so that you can be better prepared to avoid motorcycle accidents that could lead to serious injury or even death.
UNSAFE LANE CHANGES ARE A DANGER THAT CAN LEAD TO MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
Drivers of passenger vehicles – usually in a hurry – will sometimes weave in and out of traffic in an attempt to get to their destination a little quicker. And, in doing so, these drivers often ignore their blind spots on either side. If a vehicle driver fails to check a blind spot before changing lanes, it can be disastrous for a motorcyclist. Motorcycles, being smaller than cars, fit more easily into a vehicle’s blind spot. Making it that much more likely that the driver of a car who failed to look over his or her shoulder might hit a motorcycle and cause a deadly accident. It isn’t fair, we know, but motorcyclists need to expect other drivers to be inconsiderate, and drive defensively at all times.
DEBRIS ON THE ROAD IS A DANGER TO MOTORCYCLISTS
Another danger to motorcyclists is any type of debris on the road, such as soil or gravel, which might degrade traction. Motorcycle tires, being smaller in size, only have a few square inches of rubber in contact with the pavement, even in ideal conditions. Introduce road debris such as gravel, and they can lose their grip on the road rather suddenly. This is particularly true because of the unique way that a motorcycle can lean right or left while moving. A passenger vehicle, no matter how violent the maneuver, never has its center of gravity outside of the rectangle created by the four tires. A motorcycle, on the other hand, regularly has its center of gravity change location. It will move from left of center, to directly centered over the tires, to right of center, and back again. This dynamic is all a part of riding a motorcycle, we know. But it requires that the operator be alert to road debris, because a change in road condition will have a more outsized effect on the motorcycle’s operation and performance.
SPEEDING AROUND A CORNER
Many motorcyclists like to power through a corner, riding low. It is actually much safer, however, to slow down through a corner, because the combination of the curve and high speed can cause a rider to lose control. Taking a turn a little slower allows you to remain more upright during that turn, which can prevent a side-fall accident. Again, the unique properties of two-wheeled vehicle travel include a very dynamic, fluid center of gravity. This is part of what makes it fun to ride. But it also represents a way in which poor driving technique can result in injury accidents.
STANDING UP FOR MOTORCYCLISTS
Two-wheeled and four-wheeled vehicles can co-exist on the road. But, sadly, the burden of ensuring a safe interaction is probably always going to fall disproportionately on the motorcycle operator. Sometimes drivers are going to fall short of their responsibilities, and a motorcycle rider is going to get hurt. When this happens, it’s important for you to insure your rights are protected, and hire a reputable and experienced personal injury firm after an accident. The team at Miller Kory Rowe LLP has the resources and the track record to help you pursue a successful motorcycle accident claim. Please call us today at for a free legal consultation.