Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable motorists on our roadways, hands down. As they ride they are constantly dodging traffic, assessing road conditions and making life-or-death decisions in the blink of an eye.
They hold their lives in their handlebars every time they hit the road on two wheels, but despite the obvious dangers, there are ways riders can reduce the chances of being hit by other motorists.
Attorney James Johnson is a California personal injury attorney who has handled thousands of cases on behalf of clients who were injured or lost loved ones in collisions including hundreds involving motorcyclists.
Johnson says one of the deadliest types of crashes he has dealt with involves those where a motorcyclist is hit by a driver making a left-hand turn in front of the bike. These drivers may not see a rider who is speeding and misjudge their timing on the turn, they could have the sun in their eyes, they can be distracted behind the wheel, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or are in a hurry or they don’t notice the bike as they are looking for cars.
A rider has literally no time to react in this type of crash. Typically what happens is the bike will hit into the passenger side of the car, ejecting the rider who will fall onto the hard pavement. The cyclist could also land on their head and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury or into traffic where they are hit by other drivers. These are often major injury or fatal crashes, even at low speeds due to the rider being thrown off the bike.
How to prevent motorcycle accidents
The only way a rider can protect themselves in this type of crash is to anticipate that every driver will make a left turn in front of them. Never ride above the speed limit and use caution going through intersections, especially if you see a driver in the left-turn lane waiting to make a turn. Anticipate the fact that any gap in traffic can be filled by a driver making a turn or changing lanes. If you can’t avoid a crash, reduce your speed by releasing the throttle and applying both brakes. The idea is to reduce the force of impact and minimize injuries or possibly save your life.
Some drivers just can’t stay put. They are always changing lanes, especially when traffic ahead is slowing down and they are in a hurry. These motorists are usually focused on traffic ahead of them and they are oblivious to their blind spots and motorcyclists. There are ways to anticipate them moving into your lane or cutting you off. The signs to look for include a driver’s head moving to check their mirrors, turn signals, a car edging towards your lane or lanes around you with slower traffic.
These lane-changing drivers are seeking open space to move into and faster moving lanes. If there is an empty space in front of you and you are driving in a faster-moving lane be prepared for a car to sideswipe you or cut you off.
Motorcyclists can also be easily hurt in fender bender crashes when vehicles come to a stop. The best way to avoid getting hit from behind is to move between stopped traffic and get to the front of the waiting cars where you can wait between them. This way if a driver isn’t paying attention and they hit traffic ahead of them you may not be directly hit by them.
5 Tips for All Drivers
- Always allow a motorcyclist the right-of-way.
- Never make a turn in front of a moving motorcyclist.
- Be attentive at all times.
- Never drink or do drugs if you are driving
- Never speed or be in a hurry. Be cautious.
10 Tips for Motorcyclists
- Drive defensively. Always assume a driver is going to turn in front of you or hit you.
- Never pass another vehicle on the right side
- If you ride with other bikes always leave a safe stopping distance between you and others.
- Never speed or drive recklessly
- Never drink or do drugs and drive
- Practice or anticipate what to do if a driver pulls in front of you
- Wear safety clothing. Brightly colored clothes, leather and a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet.
- Unable to avoid a crash? Reduce your speed to reduce gravity of impact.
- Avoid riding in a driver’s blind spot.
- Do not weave in and out of traffic or ride “white lines.”
Latest posts by Johnson Attorneys Group (see all)
- What Legal Ramifications Will Harvey Weinstein Face? - November 13, 2017
- Santa Ynez Fatal Motorcycle Crash on Highway 101, October 15 - October 16, 2017
- San Diego Fatal Pedestrian Accident on Highway 163, October 15 - October 16, 2017