Despite the thrill and ease of access to riding a motorcycle, one must never forget the dangers that come with them. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than driving a car. This is due to the fact that riders are more prone to sustaining catastrophic injuries in an accident compared to car drivers due to the lack of protection.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares that in 2019, per mile traveled, the number of crash fatalities on motorcycles was nearly 29 times more than the number in cars.
There are several factors that may lead to motorcycle accidents, such as negligent drivers, alcohol-impaired driving, sudden lane switching, and more. One common reason for motorcycle accidents is road hazards.
In this article, we will discuss:
- The most common hazards that lead to motorcycle accidents
- How to avoid these hazards
- What to do after you’ve been in a motorcycle accident
Common Hazards that Lead to Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists must take it upon themselves to exercise an abundance of caution when on the road. However, despite these precautions, some motorcycle accidents may happen through no fault of your own. The following are some of the most common road hazards that cause motorcycle accidents:
Motorcycles are more prone to losing control on slippery surfaces than cars since they’re smaller, lighter, and two-wheeled. This makes motorcyclists more vulnerable in an accident if the rider skids or slides while turning. Slick surfaces can be particularly hazardous for motorcyclists. Therefore it is important to be aware of the potential risks when riding on slick roads.
Motorcyclists should also exercise caution when riding after a period of dry weather. The road surface can become exceptionally slippery during the first rainfall, as mud and oil mix with the water to form a hazardous layer. It is particularly dangerous to ride in the first thirty minutes of a rainstorm.
Stagnant or Standing Water
Traveling over stagnant or standing water may cause hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when the tires of a motorcycle lose traction on the road and glide across the water that has built up on the road. Hydroplaning causes a loss of control, making it difficult for motorcyclists to steer or stop their vehicles.
Gravel can cause your wheels to lose grip, making it harder for you to maintain control of your motorcycle. This is especially risky around curves, as proper balance and positioning are needed to safely navigate them. If not handled carefully, the bike may slip away from you while turning.
When two traffic lanes are at different heights, it is known as an edge break. While this may not pose a major issue for automobile drivers, it can be a dangerous situation for motorcycle drivers traveling quickly on the freeway.
Bumpy roads can create dangerous conditions for motorcycle riders, whether due to inadequate maintenance, construction activities, or resurfacing efforts. Such roads can cause serious motorbike accidents leading to severe injuries.
Running into a small animal while on the road can throw a motorcyclist off their path or throw them off balance. Unfortunately, animals crossing roads are unanticipated and may catch motorcyclists off guard. Larger animals can cause motorcyclists to swerve. In order to avoid crashing into the animal. Violently swerving or crashing into these large animals may cause fatal injuries.
Objects that have been left on the road can be a hazard for motorcyclists, drivers, and passengers. These items may include tire pieces, stones, branches, vegetation, or objects that dropped out of someone else’s car, such as tools, clothing, or trash. Crashing into any of these obstacles at high speeds can lead to serious accidents.
Railway Tracks and Crossings
Motorcycle riders can be at risk of a crash if their tires become lodged into the space between two railway tracks. When wet, these spaces can become dangerously slippery due to the presence of metal or wood within them. Therefore, it is important for motorcyclists to exercise caution when approaching a railway crossing.
How to Avoid Road Hazards That Lead to Motorcycle Accidents
Although not all road hazards can be avoided, there are several steps motorcyclists can take to ensure a safer ride. Preparing for a possible road hazard can go a long way in helping to avoid a fatal crash.
Here are some steps you may take to be ready for road hazards:
- Slow down – Keeping to the speed limit or slowing down, especially in unfamiliar areas, is essential when traveling. Traveling at reduced speeds is also preferred when traveling over debris or uneven surfaces.
- Travel in light traffic – Traveling in light traffic versus heavy traffic will allow motorcyclists more room to maneuver away from road hazards that cause motorcycle accidents.
- Do not tailgate – Do not travel too closely behind cars and other vehicles, as these may stop abruptly causing a collision.
- Make sure your motorcycle is in good condition – To help in avoiding the possibility of accidents, always make sure that your motorcycle is in good condition. Make sure that your brakes are working properly.
- Keep an eye out for road hazards – Driving defensively allows you to be prepared for potential obstacles on the road. Slippery conditions caused by sand, oil, or gravel can decrease the grip on the road and should be avoided. Uneven surfaces like bumps and potholes should also be avoided.
- Use both brakes – Be mindful to use the front brake gently and steadily, so as not to bring the wheel to a sudden stop. The same should be done with your rear brakes.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
If you or a loved one were the victims of a motorcycle accident caused by the negligent actions of another party, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim for your injuries and damages. In order to file a valid claim, there are certain steps one may take to ensure the integrity of your case.
Here are some steps to take after a motorcycle accident:
- Call the police – Contact the police as soon as possible. Make sure a police officer is at the accident scene to create an official accident report. Make sure to procure the number of your police report. This may be used as evidence to help strengthen your case.
- Seek medical care – No matter how insignificant you think your injuries may be, it is essential to get checked by a healthcare provider. Some internal bodily injuries may not present themselves outwardly. Failure to address these injuries as soon as possible can result in long-term debilitating injuries.
- Document the accident scene – Capture as many images of the scene of the incident as possible. Document every detail of what happened from different angles, such as tire skid marks, signages, illumination, and the presence of any dangerous road hazards. Also, take photos of any property damage, which could prove useful in your case.
- Collect the information of the at-fault driver – Gather details from the driver at fault, such as their full name, driver’s license information, phone number, license plate, and if possible, information about their insurance company.
- Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer – It is crucial that you have a skilled personal injury lawyer by your side to help you through the complex process of a motorcycle accident claim. Do not speak to an insurance adjuster without hiring a motorcycle accident attorney first.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call Us Today!
Have you or a loved one been injured in a motorcycle accident due to a negligent party? If so, Motorcyclist Attorney is here to help you. Our experienced attorneys will fight for the financial compensation and medical care you deserve.
We will handle the complex paperwork of your case so you can focus on your recovery. We will protect your interests from insurance adjusters who may wish to trick you into lowering the value of your claim.Do not hesitate to contact us today for a free case consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis and offer a No Fee Guarantee policy. We are available 24/7.