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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists have far less protection than the average motorist. There are no air bags or seat belts and the motorcyclist is not encased in protective steel and glass. There are only the clothes on their back and the helmet on their head. That is why motorcycle accidents are some of the most-fatal accidents on the road. If you are a biker, then it is in your best interests to learn about the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.
1. Drivers Turning in Front of You
Common Problem – Drivers often forget to look before turning and, even when they do look, they’re often looking for cars – not motorcycles. Our vehicles are smaller and harder to spot, especially when a driver isn’t specifically watching for motorcycles.
Tip to Avoid It – Do everything you can to avoid riding in the blind spots of other drivers. Give yourself plenty of space between yourself and other vehicles so that you always have somewhere to go if a car turns in front of you. Also, make sure you’re traveling at a safe speed so that you can brake safely if someone blocks your path.
2. Drivers Merging Into Your Lane (and You)
Common Problem – Just like the first problem mentioned above, drivers rarely ever think to look for motorcyclists. If they don’t see a big car, van, or truck beside them, they think it’s safe to merge – which is sometimes straight into a motorcyclist riding next to them.
Tip to Avoid It – Avoid blind spots! Never ride alongside another vehicle if you can avoid it. If you do need to pass a vehicle or ride beside them, try to have an exit route in case they try to merge into your lane. Also, always be aware of the vehicles around you and what they’re doing. Your chances of avoiding an accident are much higher if one of you is paying attention rather than neither of you.
3. Taking Turns Too Fast
Common Problem – Not all motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers. Sometimes they’re caused by the motorcyclist’s own negligence or recklessness. We all know how good it feels to speed down those winding roads, but it’s also a leading cause of motorcycle crashes.
Tip to Avoid It – “Slow in; fast out.” Slow doing going into the turn and speed up as you’re coming out of it. Obey the posted speed limit and you’re much less likely to wipeout and suffer serious injuries.
4. Gravel, Sand, or Debris on the Road
Common Problem – Poorly-maintained roads can be especially hazardous to motorcyclists. Potholes, loose gravel, or even built-up dirt on the road can cause you to lose traction on a turn and take a nasty spill.
Tip to Avoid It – “Slow in; fast out.” Like the third point mentioned above, slow down into blind turns, enough that you can notice a hazard and take action to avoid it before it reaches you. Then speed back up as soon as you are able to see the road ahead of you again.
5. Locking the Front Brake
Common Problem – Unlike cars, motorcycles can flip if the front brake is applied too hard and too fast. This mistake is usually made by new or inexperienced riders, but it can be made be even the most veteran biker.
Tip to Avoid It – Get to know your bike. Practice braking at different speeds in a controlled environment, like an empty parking lot. Learn how quickly you can brake before your front wheel locks. When you know your bike’s limits, you will be less likely to brake too hard and crash your motorcycle.
6. Head-On Motorcycle Collisions
Common Problem – A large percentage of motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle hitting the motorcyclist head on. This may be because the other vehicle started to turn left in front of an oncoming biker, because a driver was trying to pass a slower vehicle and didn’t see the oncoming motorcycle, or because the other vehicle drifted out of their lane and into oncoming traffic.
Tip to Avoid It – Look ahead whenever you come to an intersection or a passing lane. Be aware of any vehicles who may pull into your path and do what you can to always have an escape route in case it happens.
7. Rear-End Motorcycle Accidents
Common Problem – Motorcycles are smaller and harder to see than other vehicles. Distracted drivers often don’t noticed motorcyclist who are stopped, whether at an intersection or waiting to turn. What might be a “fender bender” to another vehicle can be fatal to a motorcyclist, which is sometimes the case in rear-end motorcycle collisions.
Tip to Avoid It – These are some of the hardest accidents to avoid. Make sure to have reflective gear on your bike and, if possible, on your clothing. Bright colors can also make you more obvious to other drivers.
Common Problem – Many motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who park on the street and then open their door into the path of oncoming traffic.
Tip to Avoid It – NEVER ride between traffic and parked cars. Lane-splitting is one thing, but riding too closely to parked cars can lead to a serious or deadly collision with a door opened in your path.
Call Michigan’s Premiere Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Here at Michigan Biker Law, we are avid riders ourselves and we work exclusively with motorcycle accident victims. If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle crash, we are the ones you should turn to for help – because our attention isn’t split across multiple types of cases. Call us now for the relentless representation your case needs.
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