For countless Americans, it’s a dream come true to get on your motorcycle and hit the road. Road trips can be exciting and empowering. It’s a great way to get out and explore!
Unfortunately, it’s also risky.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycle drivers are far more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers of cars. In 2019, the NHTSA found that when comparing miles traveled, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a crash. They were also 4 times more likely to be injured.
Motorcycle drivers need to understand the risks they face on the road to stay as safe as possible.
The Top Risks to Motorcycle Drivers
What are the biggest risks to motorcyclists? They can be split into a few categories: other drivers, hazardous road conditions, inclement weather, and reckless driving.
Other drivers are one of the biggest concerns that motorcyclists have to deal with.
Intoxicated drivers cause more than 10,000 fatalities on the roads every year, making up a third of all traffic-related deaths. Every 52 minutes, there is an alcohol-related death on America’s roadways.
Even sober drivers can be a problem for motorcyclists. Because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road, it’s easier for drivers not to notice them. Share the Road campaigns are all about helping drivers of cars and trucks to look for and notice motorcycles and bicycles on the road.
Some of the other hazards that other drivers pose include:
- Suddenly opening a door while parallel parked on a roadside, creating a sudden obstacle in the road
- Cars changing lanes without signaling
- Drivers not noticing you and therefore not braking in time to avoid a rear-end collision
Hazardous Road Conditions
Road conditions can cause major problems for motorcyclists.
Gravel roads pose a major challenge for many motorcyclists. You have to take gravel into consideration when you are driving fast, taking turns, slowing, and stopping. Unexpected gravel can be even worse.
Potholes and poor road conditions are the cause of countless accidents every year. It’s so important to push for proper road maintenance in your city to protect drivers from injury from hitting a rough patch of road and possibly losing control.
One of the things that can cause hazardous road conditions is inclement weather. Snow, ice, standing water, and rain are all issues that motorcyclists will encounter on the roads.
Ice can be hard to see, particularly black ice. Slipping on ice can cause you to lose control, lay your bike down, or even flip your bike.
Standing water can cause you to hydroplane, which is what happens when a vehicle loses contact with the road and instead glides on top of the water. Hydroplaning means a total lack of control of your bike, the consequences of which are much more serious than in a car or truck.
Rain reduces visibility for you and for other drivers on the road, which is why many bikers choose to pull over during storms and wait for the bad weather to pass.
Sadly, a final common cause of motorcycle accidents is reckless motorcycle driving behaviors.
It is so important to be careful on the road. Motorcycle drivers can never forget that they are taking on a risk when they drive their bikes, and careful driving can eliminate a lot of risks.
We recommend the following strategies to decrease your likelihood of being injured in a collision while you’re out riding:
- Helmets are never optional! Always wear a helmet, no matter how long or short your ride is going to be.
- Get a bike that fits you. Make sure you can handle the bike you are riding. Can you easily rest both feet flat on the ground when you are seated? Can you reach the handlebars without having to stretch?
- Antilock brakes may not be standard, but they effectively reduce fatalities. If your bike doesn’t have antilock brakes, ask your mechanic if they can be added, or make sure to get antilock brakes on your next bike.
- Don’t assume you already know everything there is to know! Motorcycle safety courses can strengthen your knowledge and skills.
- Make sure you purchase and wear the right gear, including a leather jacket, long pants, gloves, and good footwear. You need to wear this gear, even in the summer.
- Practice defensive driving and be vigilant as you respond to other drivers on the road.
- Avoid driving in inclement weather.
- Watch for hazardous road conditions, including rocks, gravel, sand, bumps, potholes, and more. Sliding is dangerous, so make sure you avoid the things that will send you sliding!
What If You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been injured in an accident while driving your motorcycle, you may be overwhelmed by the best way to move forward. How can you recover from your injuries, pay all your bills, and navigate the legal process that seems so daunting?
It is a huge relief to have an experienced legal team on your side. Instead of worrying about what comes next, you can find support from professionals who understand what should happen each step of the way.
At Crossen Law Firm, we do everything we can to protect your claim so that you receive fair compensation.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your case. We’re ready to help.