Most people will not argue with the notion that motorcycles are dangerous machines. Yet, biking enthusiasts will likely tell you that they aren’t any more dangerous than a car. Though they may not provide the best protection, they can come with excellent handling, powerful brakes and, of course, unobstructed view. The bottom line is, if you stay calm and use common sense, you may be able to avoid a trip to see a motorcycle accident lawyer. Here are 5 common dangers that motorcyclists face, and suggestions on how to avoid them.
No. 1 – A car turns left in front of you
Arguably, this is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. There can be several reasons why another driver turns in front of a motorcycle. Maybe they simply did not see you. Or maybe they did not properly judge your speed. Just like with automobile accidents, this type of collision may be the result of distraction, or a blind spot may be to blame. In many cases, automobile drivers only perceive the absence of another car, as opposed to the presence of a motorcycle.
Unfortunately, there is really only one way to avoid this kind of accident. Be more observant. Basically, as a motorcyclist, you need to develop a sort of “sixth sense” which allows you to anticipate the signs that someone might turn left in front of you. For instance, whenever you see a car at an intersection waiting to turn, or a gap in traffic approaching an intersection, parking lot or driveway, you need to be careful. The best thing to do is slow down, cover your brakes and be ready to take evasive action, if necessary. Drive for the other guy!
No. 2 – Crossing an unstable surface
Something that is probably dreaded by most motorcyclists is running into an unexpected patch of gravel, sand, leaves or some other uneven surface that can cause you to wipe out. Of course, if you can avoid these dangerous surfaces you can avoid the accident. However, you may be on a stretch of unfamiliar road. The best thing to do in that situation is to drive at a pace that allows for the safest reaction time.
No. 3 – The unexpected sharp curve
You see the curve ahead, but as your trying to maneuver, you realize it is tightening on you too fast. It dawns on you that you may not make it around without losing control. The best advice is to only ride as fast as you can see. It is important to give yourself time to benefit from visual cues as to the direction of the road. This is especially important when you are traveling in unfamiliar areas. If it’s too late, however, you may have to trust your bike and ride it out. Take as much of the lean out of the bike as possible, look where you want to go and control the bike as smoothly as possible.
No. 4 – A car moves into your lane of traffic
This could happen to drivers as well as cyclists. A car unexpectedly changes lanes into you, almost as if you weren’t even there. However, this may be a more common problem for motorcycles because they fit more easily into a car’s blind spots. What makes matters worse is the fact that automobile driver’s rarely seem to notice motorcycles on the roadways, as easily as they see another car.
One way to avoid this situation is to be more conscious of potential blind spots and stay away from them as much as possible. Typically, if you can see the automobile driver’s eyes in their side view mirror, then they should be able to see you. Another helpful tip is to watch out for cars that look like they may be getting ready to change lanes. Signs such as turn signals and the driver looking around, checking their mirrors, may alert you to a coming lane change.
No. 5 – A car suddenly opens its door into traffic
When you are traveling down a street where cars are parked along the side, there is always a potential for the door of a parked car to open unexpectedly, right in your way. This is especially a problem for a motorcycle that attempts to scoot through a gap in traffic between a line of parked cars and a line of traffic that isn’t moving.
Clearly, the best way to avoid this situation is to never ride between an active traffic lane and parked cars. That is true even if the active lane of traffic is standing still. Otherwise, your only worry won’t be opening car doors, but also pedestrians, and cars inching out into traffic in order to see if the way is clear. In fact, there are many unpredictable situations that could occur.
If you have questions regarding motorcycle accidents, or any other personal injury concerns, contact us online or call the motorcycle accident lawyers at Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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