Guardrails and other roadside barriers are designed to protect vehicles from running off the road or bridges or colliding with trees and other obstacles.  However, to bikes on the roadway guardrails can pose more of a threat.  As a bike accident lawyer knows, if a bike hits a guardrail, the likely result is the rider will be thrown from their bike and injured.

Motorcyclist dies after striking a guardrail in Florida

We have all seen guardrails on major highways and roadways throughout the country.  While they have certainly saved many lives and reduced the risk of accidents and injuries, they can pose a safety risk to motorcyclists.  A motorcyclist was fatally injured in early February 2016 in Florida after he smashed into a guardrail.  He had difficulty maneuvering on a left curve and went off the road, crashing into the guardrail and ejecting him from his motorcycle.  Although he was wearing a motorcycle helmet, his injuries were too severe.

Studies suggest that some guardrail designs are defective

There have been recent nationwide studies that raise serious concerns about the actual safety of these devices. According to on study, the new design of some guardrail terminals may be more likely to lead to serious injury or death. The guardrail “terminals” or “heads” are the start and end pieces of the metal guardrail.  The purpose of these terminals is to absorb the energy from the impact of a vehicle. Yet, according to widespread news reports, the new guardrail terminal design has been piercing through vehicles.

How to handle an unexpected corner

It is not an uncommon situation.  Bikers often find themselves trying to negotiate a curve but realize they may not be able to make it around successfully.  The best way to handle this situation is to straighten up, taking as much lean out of the bike as you can, and try to control the bike as smoothly as you can.  Trust your bike and ride it out.  The best way to avoid this situation is to only ride as fast as you can see the road ahead of you.  You must give yourself sufficient time to see and respond to the visual clues that suggest the road’s direction.

Why motorcycles have a higher risk of injury

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2011 that 4,612 motorcyclists were killed in accidents.  This was an increase of 2 percent from the 4,518 motorcyclists killed in 2010.  Another study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), reported that also in 2011, Arkansas reported 60 motorcycle accidents and 77 in Missouri.

Why are motorcycles different from cars?

One obvious reason that bikers are at higher risk of injury is because of the nature of a motorcycle.  Motorcyclists are more exposed to injury literally because they lack any substantial protective barrier between themselves and the road or any obstacles they hit.  Another unique factor is that most other motorists are not used to anticipating or looking for a motorcycle. Due to the minimal safety features that are provided by passenger vehicles (e.g., seatbelts, airbags, and a metal frame), motorcyclists usually suffer more extensive, and often catastrophic, injuries.

Affirmative steps you can take to protect yourself

bike accident lawyerThe good news is, there are steps you can take as a motorcyclist that may help to reduce the risk of being involved in a collision.  First step – take good care of your bike.  The better you maintain your motorcycle the less likely the bike itself will be the cause of an accident. Also, wearing protective clothing and equipment cannot be overlooked.  Since motorcycles provide no outer protection, gear like a helmet, goggles, boots, gloves and other protective clothing are crucial for protecting your skin and body in an accident.

Tricks to avoiding motorcycle accidents

It is important for motorcyclists to be seen and heard by other motorists near you.  You can do this by keeping your lights on so you are more visible.  Never hesitate to use your horn to signal other motorists and help them to recognize where you are.  Again, stay watchful in turns and curves and avoid heavy traffic when at all possible.  If you cannot avoid multi-lane interstates, the safest place to be is in the far left lane.  That way you have a better opportunity to avoid merging and exiting traffic.
If you have questions regarding motorcycle accidents or any other personal injury concerns, contact us online or call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. 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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