Riding a motorcycle is risky. Then again, so is driving a car. The difference is that when people are in accidents, they are more likely to be injured if they were riding a motorcycle. Today’s motorcycles are made with excellent safety features like grippy tires, powerful brakes, and excellent handling. Even with these tools, it is important that motorcycle operators use a very personal tool, the brain, to avoid accidents. In fact, the most common causes of motorcycle accidents can be drastically decreased by simply being more aware and putting our brains to work.
If you want to avoid getting into a collision, one of the first things you should consider doing is enrolling in a motorcycle education course. Most states require a licensing exam at the very minimum, but even more require a course, much like driver’s ed when you first got your license. Education isn’t the only thing that is on your side. Knowledge is a powerful thing. Read on to discover how you can help to avoid some of the most common causes of accidents.
1. Car Turning Left
One of the most common motorcycles versus vehicle accidents occurs when a car turns left in front of a motorcycle. To avoid this type of accident, you need to see it coming. Keep your eyes peeled and look for signs that a car may attempt to turn in front of you A car waiting at an intersection, a gap in traffic, or even coming up on a driveway or parking lot. If you find yourself in these situations, assume that the car will turn. Slow down as much as you can and avoid any temptation you have to lay your bike down. Switching lanes and cars turning left are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. The simple fact is, cars WILL cut you off, because they either can’t see you, or they miss judge your distance and speed. You are the odd one out on the road, remember that. Cars and car drivers are used to dealing with other cars and other car drivers. Motorcycles just don’t compute into their field of vision, and their analysis of speeds and distance. And you don’t have time to pull over and preach, so you have to ride as defensively as possible.
2. Gravel in a Blind Corner
You’re riding down a winding road, make it almost around a corner, and find yourself coming up on a patch of gravel or loose material. Your front tire hits it and you are on your side. The best way to avoid this is to not hit the loose material at all. Enter a corner or turn wide to increase your range of vision. This will also give you room to move to avoid the loose material. If you do hit gravel, and you have no way to avoid it at all, you will have to take your time and go slow. Though in most turning cases, speed can help you maintain some control of the bike, it will only make things worse on gravel. Go slow.
3. Too Fast Into a Corner
You’re traveling too fast and realize too late that you aren’t going to make the corner. Avoid this by traveling at speeds that are right for the road and conditions. The best thing you can do in this situation is to hang off and take it easy on the controls. Just because you can go fast, doesn’t mean you should go fast. Remember that.
4. Car Switches Lanes In Front of You
Most motorcyclists have found themselves in this situation at least once. A car doesn’t see you or misjudges your distance and they cut in front of you. Avoid this type of accident by staying out of the car’s blind spots. The best way to know if a driver can see you is to check and see if they are clear to you. Look in their driver’s side mirror. If you can see the driver’s face, they can see you as well. Ask any seasoned biker and they will tell you they get cut off all the time. It’s why the term defensive riding and ATGATT exist (All The Gear, All The Time). The most common causes of motorcycle accidents are usually down to cars just not seeing the motorcycle. And lane switching is the most dangerous time to not be paying attention.
5. Getting Hit From Behind
Maybe you brake to avoid hitting a kitten in the road. Perhaps the car in front of you slams on its brakes so you do too. No matter the reason you have to stop suddenly, it causes the vehicle behind you to hit your rear tire. When you have to stop normally, do so at one edge of the lane or the other. This will get you clipped instead of crumpled. If you have the opportunity to pull ahead of a line of cars, do so. The more cars that are hit behind you, the less impact you will receive if you are hit.
6. People You Are Riding With Are Inexperienced
Inexperienced is just a nice way to say clueless. Most motorcyclists have at least one riding buddy who will try to ride in a way that requires more skill than they have. They may drive too fast, attempt risky maneuvers or turn into Evil Knievel when on a two-wheeled vehicle. Make sure the people you are riding with know how to ride in a group. If your friends turn into a daredevil, split off and ride alone. It can be really tempting to show off, but that is the mark of a squid. Really great riders know that showing off is a fool’s game and great riders don’t show off, they show up at their destination.
7. Open Car Doors
What do you do when you are riding and a car suddenly opens its door in front of you? The only thing you can do is brake as hard as you can. You are going to have a collision. The slower you are going, the better.
Some motorcycle accidents are unavoidable. Others take a bit of knowledge and education to stay out of. If you are going to get on a bike, take the time to learn how to be as safe as you can be on one. If you are in an accident and need a West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyer, reach out to our team. We will schedule an appointment with you for a free case evaluation and advise you of the options you have under current state law.
Get Your Motorcycle Endorsement
It takes only one weekend of your life, to make a decision that may change the rest of your life. Get your motorcycle endorsement. The motorcycle endorsement is a great place to learn the ride or brush up on your skills. These courses are held all over Florida, and you can usually take them over one weekend at a local high school. Personal injury lawyers deal with too many grieving families and severely injured bikers right now. Protect yourself, and take the course. Heck, you may even learn something new.