The intoxicating rush of adrenaline and sense of complete freedom make exploring America’s highways and byways on a motorcycle a sublime experience. Yet as exciting as riding a motorcycle can be, experienced riders know that their journey might end in disaster at any given moment.
As a responsible rider, you need to drive defensively because nobody is looking out for you. Even if you drive defensively, you still could run into a careless driver who’s not used to sharing the road.
Factors that lead to a motorcycle wreck
Riders of all experience levels should take every precaution possible for a safe ride. This includes receiving training on proper handling of a motorbike and how to use a motorcycle’s safety features, and common sense, to survive on the road. The most common reasons for a crash include:
1. A vehicle turning left into motorcycle’s path–This is the most common accident for a motorcycle rider and can be avoided by slowing down and paying attention to your surroundings when turning at intersections. Some drivers won’t give you the right of way or won’t see you at all so it’s up to you to be observant and ride with extra care in these areas.
2. Driving under the influence–The NHTSA reported that 29 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol concentrations at or in excess of .08 percent and that around 50 percent of all motorcycle crashes involve alcohol or other intoxicants. Drive sober and get home safe.
3. Traveling at high speed–The NHTSA also reported that a third of motorcycle accident fatalities were due to speeding, compared to 20 percent of automobile drivers, 17 percent of small truck drivers, and 7 percent of semi-truck drivers. Slow down. You’ll live longer.
4. Cornering problems–Motorcyclists have a rule about navigating curves and corners: “Slow in, fast out”. If leaves, gravel, ice or other hazards are in the rider’s path, entering a curve or corner more slowly allows you to see and prepare for them. Once you’re out of the curve, speed up and continue your journey.
5. Rear-ended by a vehicle–A minor fender bender is at most an annoyance for car or truck driver. However, a small bump from behind can kill a motorcycle rider. When you’re at a stop, pay attention to cars approaching behind you. Stop your bike between lanes or to the side of a lane, instead of in the middle of it. If you see a car racing up behind you, you’ll be in a better position to take action and stay safe.
These roaring, romantic machines are also one of the most dangerous vehicles to operate, even for experienced and careful riders. The risks involved are serious business–one simple mistake by the other driver can snuff you out. Knowing what causes the most common accidents while riding can make the difference between life and death.
Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be overwhelming, especially if catastrophic injuries are involved. Speak with a local personal injury attorney who can help you navigate your claim and protect your rights.