There are over 80,000 accidents involving motorcycles on roads across the country every year, resulting in fatalities and injuries that have lasting impacts. Every motorcyclist knows that, even if they are being as safe as possible, they are still at risk while on the roads. Accidents can happen due to negligence, recklessness, and many other unforeseen circumstances. If you’re a rider who wants to remain as safe as possible while on the road, it pays to know the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.
The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
It can happen at any moment on the road, and accidents involving motorcycles carry a higher risk of injury or death for riders. Protect yourself by knowing the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, which can include:
- Left turning vehicles: left turning cars are often cited as being the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. Drivers often fail to see motorcyclists whether they are turning at an intersection, entering a parking lot, or executing a left hand turn onto a side street. Even if drivers do see you, they can often misjudge your speed, which can lead to a dangerous collision. Approach intersections with caution and always watch for vehicles preparing to turn left.
- Distracted drivers: steer clear of drivers that seem to be on their phone, are swerving in traffic, or appear otherwise distracted.
- Speeding vehicles: watch out for vehicles traveling faster than traffic or the posted speed limits. These drivers often change lanes quickly and erratically and are less likely to see you.
- Lane splitting: lane splitting (lane filtering) and shoulder surfing are illegal in New York. They also put you at significant risk while riding because the cars you are passing are not likely to see you should they decide to quickly change lanes while in traffic.
- Poor weather conditions: it’s generally not a good idea to ride while it is raining or snowing, if there is poor visibility, or if there are heavy winds present.
- Night riding: vehicle operators are far less likely to see you on the road if you are traveling at night. If you do ride at night, make sure to wear bright reflective clothing. Also, make sure that your lights are operating correctly and that the bulbs are not fading.
- Tailgating: motorcycles stop much more quickly than standard cars, which means that you are likely to be rearended if another driver is following too closely to you. If you notice that you are being tailgated, change lanes and allow the vehicle to safely pass you before returning to that lane.
- Lane switching: as a motorcyclist, you are more likely to be in the blind spot of a driver changing lanes. Take care to watch for people changing (or preparing to change) lanes. If you think you are in a driver’s blind spot, increase your speed to pass them or reduce your speed so that you are clearly visible in their mirrors.
- Failure to yield the right of way: one of the most important lessons a motorcyclist can learn is that you never have the right of way; it must be given to you. Just because you are legally in the right does not mean that it is always safe to proceed. Always make sure that other drivers see you before changing lanes, entering or exiting parking lots or side streets, or making any other maneuver on your motorcycle.
- Alcohol and drug use: do not ride if you are under the influence of any type of drug (legal or not) or alcohol.
- Mechanical failure: having something fail on your motorcycle puts you at significant risk while on the road. Always make sure that your motorcycle is in good repair and up to date on all maintenance checks before riding.
- Poorly maintained roads: municipalities are required by law to keep their roads in good repair. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Potholes, unmarked road hazards, and damage to the road can lead to dangerous motorcycle accidents. If this is the case, the municipality can be held liable for any damages incurred by riders.
It is advisable to wear adequate protective gear while riding. This can include a helmet, eye protection, jacket, gloves, pants, boots, and rain gear, when necessary. While wearing protective gear won’t prevent an accident, it can significantly reduce your chances of death or grave injury.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident? Contact Morelli Law877-751-9800
What to do if You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not feel like you have been injured. Motorcycle accidents can often result in internal trauma to the body as well as brain damage, which can sometimes take days or even weeks to manifest into physical symptoms. It’s advisable to see a medical professional to determine whether you have sustained a non-visible injury.
After you have sought medical attention, it may be in your best interest to contact a motorcycle accident attorney. Reckless or negligent driving are often the causes of motorcycle accidents, and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, damage to your motorcycle, and other damages you have sustained.
At Morelli Law, we represent victims of motorcycle accidents, helping them handle all aspects of their case. We have secured billions of dollars in settlements and judgements for our clients. We’re uniquely qualified to handle your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, get in touch with us today for a free consultation on your case.