5 Types of Motorcycle Accidents and How You Can Avoid Them
Motorcycles are a popular way to travel for millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, traveling by motorcycle can be more dangerous than other modes of transportation due to a lack of protective barriers and safety features that automobiles have. Because motorcyclists are at a greater risk of being injured or killed if an accident occurs, it is important to understand the types of accidents that commonly occur, and how to avoid them.
Before hitting the road on your motorcycle, let’s take a look at 5 of the more common types of motorcycle accident and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Cars Turning Left
Cars making a left hand turn can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. Whether you are moving through an intersection, passing a car, or traveling in an adjacent lane, if the driver of the car is not paying attention or cannot see you, a simple left hand turn could be disastrous. It is estimated that 42 percent of all accidents involving a car and a motorcycle occur during a left hand turn.
The key to avoiding this type of motorcycle accident is being aware. Keep an eye out for signs that a car nearby is about to make a left hand turn. Look for indicators, such as:
- A car waiting at an intersection in a turn lane, or partially in a turn lane.
- A gap between vehicles in traffic ahead of you.
- Visible movements that may signal a sudden turn or direction change.
2. Lane Switching
Sudden lane switching, passing, or merging are another common cause of motorcycle accidents. When you are riding directly adjacent to a car, the driver may not be able to see you, making lane switching a greater risk. As you ride, you may not be able to tell if you are in a driver’s blind spot. So what can you do to avoid lane switching accidents?
Look for signs that a car is about to switch lanes or merge, such as:
- Turn signals turned on
- Wheels are turned
- The driver is visibly shifting or checking mirrors
- The driver visibly looks out the window (checking blind spots)
If you notice any of these signs, take caution and make sure your presence is known, or that you can safely maneuver out of harm’s way.
3. Head-On Collision
Around 56 percent of motorcycle accident deaths are related to head-on collisions between a motorcycle and an automobile. In most of these accident cases, both vehicles are traveling fast, and the motorcyclist is the one most injured or killed. The abrupt nature of head-on collisions often results in the motorcyclist or passenger being ejected from the motorcycle causing serious injury or death.
To avoid head-on collisions, motorcyclists should remember the “Four R’s” established by the National Safety Council. The Four R’s include:
- Read the road ahead – Be aware!
- Drive to the right – Driving to the right of cars, or on the right side of the lane can help avoid close calls.
- Reduce speed – If you notice another driver swerving, or the vehicle seems to be out of control, reduce your speed and stay out of the way.
- Ride off the road – If possible, if it looks like another vehicle is heading your way, slow down and merge to the shoulder of the road. Moving to the shoulder may seem dangerous, but it is far less likely that this maneuver will result in serious injury or death.
Being observant and defensive while riding a motorcycle can help reduce the likelihood of being involved in a head-on collision.
4. Lane Splitting
One of the more common types of motorcycle accident that results from motorcyclist behavior is lane splitting. Lane splitting occurs when the motorcyclist drives between two lanes of traffic. This is most common in highly congested areas, or when traffic is at a standstill (Rush hour on I-85 anyone?). There are several reasons why lane splitting is so dangerous, including:
- Proximity of the motorcycle and other automobiles
- Reduced space in which to maneuver the motorcycle
- Car drivers may not anticipate that someone will drive between lanes or pass between stopped vehicles
- Because cars cannot lane split, drivers often do not expect it
The one simple way of avoiding lane splitting accidents is to avoid lane splitting altogether. In most states, it is illegal to drive between lanes or between slowed or stopped vehicles.
Intoxicated driving will top most lists of the top causes of auto accidents regardless of the category. Alcohol plays a tremendous role in auto accidents of all types, with more than 30 percent of all accidents involving an intoxicated driver. In cases of motorcycle accidents involving only the motorcyclist, around 43 percent involved alcohol in 2014.
Motorcycling is a popular way to travel and network with other cyclists. There are many events across the U.S. where motorcyclists can enjoy activities, food, fellowship, and fun. Most of these events also include a hearty amount of alcohol consumption. These events, holiday weekends, and spring break are all prone to an increase in the number of alcohol-related auto accidents.
The simple answer of how to avoid this type of motorcycle accident is also simple – Do not operate a motorcycle after consuming alcohol or drugs. Even if you have only had a few drinks, you may not be able to tell just how intoxicated you are, or are becoming. Instead of operating a motorcycle after drinking, plan ahead and make sure you have alternate transportation. Call a taxi, or use apps like Lyft or Uber to get where you need to go safely.
Have You Already Been Involved in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you have already been involved in a motorcycle accident and need help getting compensation for your injuries and losses, contact The Dixon Firm today to speak with a Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer. Our team can help you understand your legal rights and determine if negligence, recklessness, or other wrongdoing led to your injuries.