Common Motorcycle Accident Causes (and Solutions!)
Whether you caused an accident or were a victim of someone else’s negligence, you should have a California motorcycle accident lawyer in your corner. The truth is, not everyone thinks highly of bikers, and you need someone on your side who knows motorcycle law and who knows how to compel respect for injured clients from the insurance companies.
Of course, ideally, you would like to avoid accidents all together. Ride Apart offers a fairly comprehensive list of common scenarios in bike accidents and quick solutions for increasing your odds of avoiding such mishaps.
You Hit Gravel
There is no feeling quite as sick as the one that washes over you as you lose control of your bike in gravel (or sand, loose leaves, or any other skid causing material).
Not to sound like your mother here, but “slow down!” Ride at a pace that allows for reaction time. Slowing down allows you to see that loose gravel before plowing through it. If you are going around a blind corner, you need even more reaction time. The rule of the road is “Slow In, Fast Out,” when it comes to corners. Enter at an easy pace, and pick up speed on the way out, provided the path is clear.
A Car Turns Left, Right in Front of Your Bike
This is probably the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, and everyone seems to have a story of their own to tell. Remember: you’re not only dealing with busy drivers – you are now also dealing with distracted drivers who are perpetually on their cell phones. Even when a driver looks at the road, he or she may mentally be composing an email or a Facebook message. All it takes is someone changing the radio station or looking down to check a text to spell disaster.
Since you cannot teach other people to be more responsible, it is up to you to develop a sixth sense of sorts. As some of our fathers told us while teaching us to drive, “Assume that everyone else on the road is an idiot.”
Your job is to look for signs that someone is about to do something really careless. It may be someone pulling out of a driveway or parking spot, at an intersection waiting to turn, or on the highway. Check the car’s wheels – they will give you the first clue of movement. Throughout any ride, you should always be aware of what’s behind and to your side.
You Are Hit From Behind
Jeff Neil provides the perfect example of how this can happen: “I stopped to allow a few kids to cross at a crosswalk, and the car behind me wasn’t paying attention. He plowed into my bike, totaling the motorcycle and putting me in the hospital for nearly three weeks.” Worse yet, what might be a fender bender between two cars can be lethal for a motorcyclist.
Create a “crumple zone.” If possible, politely pull in front of a car stopped in front of you. That way, if a reckless driver falls to see the stopped traffic and rams forward into queue, the car behind you will absorb the blow. If there is no other car to act as a buffer, stop to the side, rather than the middle of the lane, and rapidly flash your brake light. Keep the bike in gear and your right hand on the throttle. Pay careful attention to anyone who might be pulling up behind you.
While this list is just a drop in the bucket of potential scenarios, it underscores the importance of staying alert on your bike. If you ever have need of an experienced, compassionate motorcycle attorney, call Andrew Ritholz at (626) 844-7102 for a free and thorough case evaluation.