How to Avoid These Top Motorcycle Crash Risks
Spring is here and many motorcyclists are eager for the nicer weather and to get back on the road again. May is also Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, so it is a good time to look at some of the top motorcycle crash risks and how to prevent them.
If another’s negligence caused you to suffer injuries in a motorcycle crash, you may be eligible to seek compensation. Our Milwaukee-based motorcycle accident lawyers are ready to listen to your concerns, answer your questions and discuss your legal options.
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Do You Know the Top Crash Risks Motorcyclists Face Today?
Many drivers and riders likely know about some common causes of motorcycle accidents, such as lane splitting and changing lanes. However, there are other top motorcycle crash risks that, while well known to riders, may be less familiar to drivers, including:
Gravel and Other Road Hazards
Some of the top crash risks for motorcyclists are not immediately apparent to drivers of other vehicles. The reason for this is that some situations are inherently less of a danger for a car. Larger passenger vehicles, such as a car or van, clearly offer more protection than riding on a motorcycle.
One such crash risk is when a motorcyclist rides over gravel, road debris, uneven pavement or other road surfaces that may be slippery. A motorcyclist could easily lose control, especially if he or she is a less experienced rider.
Even in the warmer spring and summer months, inclement weather is a possibility and a top crash risk for motorcyclists. Rain mixes with oil on the roadways, making them more slippery. Pooling water is also extremely dangerous if a rider is unable to avoid driving through it. Sometimes, puddles hide other road hazards, such as deep potholes. These road hazards are risky to a car and could even cause a crash or at least some vehicle damage. However, for a motorcycle, the damages could be extensive or even fatal.
Panic stops are another serious crash risk for motorcyclists. If a driver of a car slams on the brakes suddenly, the damages sustained are likely to be far less than to a motorcyclist. This is another risk inherent to motorcyclists since their front brakes provide 70 percent of their stopping power. Some bikes have anti-lock brakes that reduce the crash risk, however, many bikes do not have them. If a motorcyclist brakes too hard, the front wheel could lock up and throw the rider off the bike.
Many drivers may think of rear-end crashes as being little more than fender benders. However, for motorcyclists, a driver texting instead of looking at the road could prove deadly. Motorcycles have no crumple zone or seatbelt to provide extra protection. This type of crash may often cause devastating or fatal injuries for a motorcyclist.
Fifty-six percent of motorcycle crash fatalities occur when motorcycles collide with other vehicles. Seventy-eight percent of those incidents are head-on crashes. These crashes are often fatal because they occur at high speed.
Riding a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol is one of the leading causes of fatal motorcycle crashes. In 2019, according to the NHTSA’s latest statistics, 1,689 fatal motorcycle crashes involved alcohol. In 33 percent of these crashes, riders had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 or higher, and 25 percent had a BAC of .08 or greater.
It is dangerous to operate any vehicle when under the influence of alcohol. However, for motorcyclists, it could be a fatal decision.
Driver Failure to Recognize Motorcyclists on the Road
The number one motorcycle crash risk to riders is other drivers who fail to see them on the road. Motorcycles are harder to spot, even when a driver is paying attention. Drivers who engage in distracted driving behaviors, such as texting, make a tough situation worse and significantly increase the risk of a serious crash.
How Can Motorcycle Riders and Other Drivers Avoid These Top Crash Risks?
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. We all know it, but how do we apply that on the road and help reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident? Both motorcycle riders and drivers of other vehicles owe a duty of care to prevent harm. However, their duties, while similar, differ somewhat because of the size of the vehicles.
How Can Motorcyclists Reduce Crash Risks to Themselves and Others?
Motorcyclists may reduce their crash risk by taking some of these steps:
- Seek proper training to learn how to safely operate and control your motorcycle
- Get a valid motorcycle license before you take any bike out on the road
- Stay focused, whether riding down a long stretch of road or while stopped at an intersection
- Avoid dangerous driving, such as lane-splitting or riding in the blind spots of other vehicles
- Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or any other substances
- Remain alert about the weather and when it may be safer to stay off the road or change routes
- Be aware of other vehicles – you play a role in your own safety and the safety of others
- Remember to properly maintain your motorcycle and keep it in safe working condition
What Role Do Drivers Play in Preventing a Motorcycle Crash?
Drivers play a huge role in helping to prevent a crash with a motorcycle. This means being aware of motorcyclists and how to safely share the road with them, including:
- Staying off your cellphones and stowing or turning them off when driving
- Keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel at all times
- Encouraging your passengers to alert you to motorcycles around you
- Allowing more distance between you and any motorcycle on the road
- Checking all your car mirrors to ensure they are properly positioned
- Carefully looking for motorcycles before opening a car door to exit
- Slowing down and looking at least twice before going through intersections
- Proceeding especially carefully through any areas with road construction
- Speaking with inexperienced drivers about sharing the road safely with motorcycles
- Turning down the volume of your music so you can hear what is happening around you
- Leaving extra distance and time between your vehicle and a motorcycle when the weather is bad
- Never relying solely on a motorcyclist’s turn signals – motorcyclists may forget, or sun glare may cause you to misread a signal
In short, both drivers and motorcyclists need to familiarize themselves with these potential crash hazards and how to help prevent them.
PKSD is Ready to Help You After a Motorcycle Crash
The legal team at PKSD is dedicated to helping crash victims throughout Wisconsin and beyond. We have the resources to fully investigate the cause of your crash and a history of proven results.
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash because of another’s negligence, we are prepared to seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
Schedule your free, no-risk case review today to get help from one of our qualified attorneys.
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