Motorcycle riding has only continued to grow in popularity over recent years. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are 26 times more likely to result in a fatality than other motor vehicle accidents. The four-walled enclosure of cars and trucks provides a barrier to absorb the shock of an impact. A motorcycle’s open nature, on the other hand, makes the rider substantially more vulnerable in a crash. Additionally, a motorcycle’s two wheels provide less contact with the road than cars, making them less stable and more at risk for loss of control.
As a motorcycle rider, it is important to be aware of the most common kinds of accidents. With this knowledge, you can make conscious choices to reduce your risk of serious injury.
Left-Hand Turns by Cars
Because of a motorcycle’s small size, riders tend to “disappear” behind other objects or vehicles and in heavy rain or fog. This decreased visibility puts riders at a higher risk of being struck by vehicles making left-hand turns. Approximately 42% of all motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles making left-hand turns. The most common scenario occurs when the motorcyclist goes straight through an intersection or attempts to pass the turning car. Liability often lies with the vehicle making the left-hand turn. The best way to avoid this type of collision is to ride defensively. Ensuring you are in the correct lane, always using turn signals, and never rushing through lights are all crucial elements of a safe riding experience.
When a motorcycle rides between two cars in adjacent lanes, it is known as lane splitting. While it is more likely to happen in slower traffic, reckless motorcyclists perform lane splitting at higher speeds as well, further increasing the risk of a collision. This maneuver is illegal in most states, including New York. The close proximity of the vehicles involved makes steering difficult. Drivers of vehicles in both lanes are likely to be taken by surprise, which can result in erratic reactions. Because it is typically illegal, the motorcyclist will generally be considered liable in an accident caused by lane splitting. However, the fact that lane splitting is a violation of law does not excuse the driver from failing to pay attention and change lanes without looking.
Because a motorcycle’s two wheels provide less stability than a car’s four wheels, certain road conditions are significantly more hazardous for motorcycles than for other vehicles. Road hazards may pose especially high risks for riders lacking proper experience or awareness. Knowledge of potential hazards and consistent awareness of your surroundings are your best defenses against a dangerous fall. Common road hazards include:
- Gravel on pavement
- Rough, bumpy roads, usually under repair
- Edge breaks on highways (two adjacent lanes of different heights)
- Expansion joints and bridge joints (these connect sections of roads or bridges to roads, allowing for expanding and contracting of road layers)
- Slick surfaces and standing water, which can result in hydroplaning
- Debris, such as branches, pieces of broken tires, litter, and rocks
- Snow and ice
Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. – New York’s Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may have suffered extensive injuries and property damages. Dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming and exhausting as you recover from injuries. At Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., our team of motorcycle accident attorneys can help you avoid costly mistakes. We are passionate about helping clients obtain the money they deserve after a motorcycle accident. We will walk you through the entire process to help you understand your rights and options. At Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., we believe and are experienced in fighting the stereotype that motorcyclists are reckless and always at fault. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.