There are a ton of situations that cause motorcycle crashes across the United States every day, but the one thing that most of them have in common is that the driver of the car or truck did not see the motorcyclist in the first place. This could be from being on the phone, a glare on the windshield or the small size of motorcycles. One factor to always remember as a rider is that most people aren’t looking out for motorcycles on the road and when your vehicle is much smaller than the other vehicles on the road, it is much harder for drivers to spot you, especially in heavy bumper to bumper traffic.
Always ride defensively and stay on the sides of your lane so that your motorcycle is always in the side mirrors of other drivers. This makes you much more visible and thus safer from accidents. If you aren’t comfortable riding on the streets, it is always a good idea to take a motorcycle safety course to familiarize yourself with safe riding techniques in a safe manner.
When a motorcycle is approaching an intersection, it is a dangerous time and the rider should be very aware of other drivers. Many accidents are caused because of drivers turning left across traffic and pulling out in front of motorcycle riders because they didn’t see them coming. This is extremely common, especially in heavy traffic intersections where the driver’s view is partially blocked. Always use caution when riding through intersections.
If you ride motorcycles, it is inevitable that you will encounter some unsafe road conditions at some point along your journey. From heavy rain after getting off work to unexpected patches of gravel in the middle of a turn, unsafe road conditions need to be avoided whenever possible to minimize the chances of a wreck. If you can wait out the rain storms and then ride home, but remember, right after the rain starts is the most slippery because the rain mixes with the oil on the roads and creates a very unsafe riding surface.
Potholes can also be very dangerous for inexperienced riders. Make sure to use your legs to absorb the impact when riding over potholes because otherwise you may get thrown off the seat when your back tire goes over the pothole which is a very common cause for crashes.
There is a reason that we have drunk and drugged driving laws here, which is to keep people safe on the roads. Riding motorcycles when intoxicated on drugs or alcohol reduces your reaction time, lowers coordination and overall puts you at a much greater risk of getting into an accident. Never ride if you have had too much to drink or are under the influence of drugs because it could lead to an accident and being the intoxicated person that caused an accident means you will be liable for any damages and injuries caused which can get expensive very quickly if you make it out of the accident in good health.
Head on collisions are all too common and usually result in the death or catastrophic injury of the rider. T-Bone collisions are similar in danger as well. These typically come from cars turning left in front of the rider, reckless riding, speeding or impaired driving from either party involved. Since motorcycles don’t have a giant metal container around them to keep them safe like drivers do, motorcycle riders typically come out of these situations with much worse injuries than the other party so please, always check for motorcycles before making turns, changing lanes, etc.
Lane splitting is an easy way to get through heavy traffic quickly on a motorcycle, but it is also very dangerous because nobody is expecting you to be buzzing past them quickly in bumper to bumper traffic. For that reason, most people only look for a gap to get over and don’t thoroughly look around or behind them for motorcycle riders splitting lanes. In many states it is illegal to split lanes for this very reason.
Motorcycles are fun to ride and very easy to drive recklessly with almost no effort. You can lean into turns and take corners much faster than normal, but this also lessens your amount of time to react and puts you in a much more dangerous situation than if riding normally. Wheelies, burnouts and flying through heavy traffic all lead to crashes on a daily basis, so don’t let the temptation take over when you get on your bike. Remember that your family wants you home safe.
Many sport motorcycles are extremely fast and can do 60+ MPH in first gear and in no time. If you can exceed all speed limits in first gear, it is very easy to just keep going and get up over 100 MPH very quickly. Because of this, many sport bike riders ride at excessive speeds for the thrill of it but it all too often results in devastating accidents because of one small mishap. Reckless riding is dangerous to not only you but the drivers around you as speeding past them could scare them and cause the other drivers to make mistakes that cause accidents with other people around them.
Riding twisty mountain roads is a lot of fun and there are plenty of roads to do just that here in Colorado, but turning in too tight or sand/gravel on the road in the middle of a turn can wipe you out very fast. If you are doing 30+ MPH then that slide will almost definitely get you seriously injured, so always take turns at a safe speed and be very aware of rocks, sand and gravel in the road and around corners especially.
As we all know, stationary objects don’t move without considerable force, so hitting them on your motorcycle is not going to end well. Any small errors like riding over a pothole incorrectly or hitting an unexpected bump can cause you to lose control and swerve off the road, potentially hitting a stationary object like a light pole, electrical box, street signs, cars and more. No riding gear is going to be able to prevent injuries when you hit a stationary object at speed, so be aware at all times when you are riding.
Ever grabbed the front brake too hard in a panic? If your motorcycle doesn’t have ABS on it, then your front tire could easily lock up and cause you to lose control and hit the pavement in an instant. Most of your stopping power is in your front brake, but locking it up just causes the tire to slide and lose all traction. Make sure to release the brake lever slightly until it unlocks and then reapply pressure to it to regain traction and prevent an accident.
We have all been riding with someone who just doesn’t have safety in mind. Whether they are splitting lanes, running red lights or constantly swerving in their own lane, all of these things can easily distract you and cause you to make a mistake or even collide with your riding partner. Make sure you choose safe riding partners when you go out in groups or if you can’t choose, then just maintain a safe distance from the reckless riders so that you have time to react and get yourself away from danger if an accident does occur.
Riding too fast and locking up the brakes causes a lot of rear end accidents at fault of the rider, but many drivers rear end motorcyclists as well. Motorcycles only have one tail light and if it is dim or a glare is interfering with the driver’s view, they could easily not see your motorcycle and hit you from behind. It’s always smart to keep your bike in gear and watch your mirrors in the event that you notice someone coming up from behind too fast so you can get out of the way. Another common issue is drivers following motorcycle riders too closely. Motorcycles can stop and slow down much faster than cars can, so when drivers tailgate motorcycles, they get rear ended quite often. Never tailgate a motorcycle rider, it could mean the difference between them making it home safe to their family or being in the hospital which could all be avoided by giving them some distance.
Lane changes are extremely common scenarios for drivers to get in accidents whether a motorcycle is involved or not because people have blind spots or they just aren’t paying attention. If people can’t see other cars sometimes, you can be sure they don’t see motorcycles nearly as well so always be on the lookout for cars changing lanes around you because they most likely do not see you. This is where riding on the sides of your lane can be much safer so you are in the other drivers side mirrors. And this is also a reminder that loud pipes save lives! Loud motorcycles may be annoying to some, but sometimes the first sign of a motorcycle being around is the noise from their loud engine which is much less annoying than going to the hospital so keep that in mind when purchasing your next motorcycle.
Due to the fact that motorcycles are on two wheels, it is not safe to have seatbelts on motorcycles because they can do more harm than good. They also don’t have big metal cages surrounding them to prevent injuries in crashes like cars and trucks do, so their entire body is at risk of being run over, impacting other objects or vehicles, being ejected from the bike at high speed and so on. The riders can wear safety gear such as jackets, pants, gloves, boots and a helmet, but those things won’t always prevent injuries, especially when it is a collision with another object at high speed.
Second is to ride like you are invisible. Always assume that other drivers do not see you. This will keep you aware of their actions and always be ready to react properly if another driver does not see you and makes an unsafe move. At some point you will encounter these drivers so it is never a bad thing to be prepared for those moments.
Third is to go take a motorcycle safety course. You may think you already know how to ride safely, but these safety classes are packed with useful information that will keep you safe and give you experience of how to handle dangerous situations effectively. They will teach you about riding in the rain, braking power, how to turn properly, how to go over bumps and objects in the road, how to make very tight turns safely, riding at night and much more. The added bonus of these classes is that many insurance carriers will lower your insurance premiums if you show them proof of completing a motorcycle safety course.
Our Colorado motorcycle accident attorneys have been helping accident victims get their life back for decades now and we take immense pride in being able to help our clients recover effectively, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help with your accident claim. We are here to help and will answer your questions anytime, so give us a call today or stop by our office in Downtown Colorado Springs.