It was a beautiful spring day and you decided to take your motorcycle out for a ride to the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. As you ride down Belmeade Drive, a car unexpectedly turns left in front of you. What do you do in that instant? This article explores how to avoid seven common motorcycle accidents:
- Left Turning Cars
- Lane Switching
- Head-On Collisions
- Lane Splitting
- Corner Turning
- High-Speed Collisions
1. Left Turning Cars
The most common type of motorcycle accident is when a car attempts to make a left-hand turn directly in front of your motorcycle. This unsafe movement accounts for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car. This scenario typically occurs when a motorcycle is going straight through an intersection, passing a car, or trying to overtake a car.
In order to avoid this type of crash, you must be able to anticipate the other drivers’ movements. Look for indicators someone may be about to turn in front of you such as: a car sitting in an intersection waiting to turn; a gap in traffic in front of you; the driver does a last-second “look both ways” head maneuver.
If you notice any of the above behavior, begin to slow down. Move over to the outside most lane away from the car and prepare to brake or take evasive action.
**It is a proven fact that psychologically, car drivers are NOT looking for motorcyclists. They have trained their brains to look for large vehicles similar to what they are driving.**
2. Lane Switching
This common motorcycle accident occurs when a car begins to merge into your lane while they are next to you. Motorcycles are easily obstructed in blind spots of cars and the car driver may not be paying attention.
If you are in a car’s blind spot, speed up or slow down to get out of it. If you can’t see the car’s mirrors, that means the car driver cannot see you.
If you notice a car making any of the following movements, it likely means the car is preparing to change lanes and you should drive defensively to avoid being hit: turn signals come on, wheels begin to turn, driver checks his mirrors, or the driver swivels his head.
3. Head-On Collisions
The National Safety Council recommends the “Four R’s” to avoid a head-on collision:
- Read the road ahead
- Drive to the Right
- Reduce your speed
- Ride off the road
Head-on collisions between a motorcycle and a car are usually fatal for the motorcyclist. Head-on collisions are the most fatal of all motorcycle crashes. A motorcyclist’s chances to die or get seriously injured increases exponentially if involved in a head-on collision. That is why it is important to remember the Four R’s to try and avoid these types of crashes.
4. Lane Splitting
Lane splitting happens when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slowed traffic. This can cause a motorcycle accident because of the proximity of closeness to the car, the reduced space a motorcyclist has to maneuver, and cars moving because they do not anticipate someone is passing them.
In 2019, there were 4,733 motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes. Of those, 1,383 (29%) were alcohol-impaired (BAC of .08 g/dL or higher). In addition, there were 354 (7%) motorcycle riders killed who had lower alcohol levels (BACs of .01 to .07 g/DL).1
Motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes, whether killed or survived, in 2019, had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than any other type of motor vehicle driver (29% for motorcycle riders, 20% for passenger car drivers, 19% for light-truck drivers, and 2% for large-truck drivers).2
Please don’t drink and ride. If you have had too much to drink please call a friend or use a rideshare app to make sure you get home safely.
6. Corner Turning
Turns can be difficult to compensate or correct for motorcyclists. If you come across a patch of gravel, sand, leaves, water, etc., your front tire may lose traction and you can lose control of your motorcycle. The best way to avoid this common cause of motorcycle accidents is to ride at a safe speed, so that you have enough time to react to a tight corner or a hazard.
7. High-Speed Collisions
Thirty-three percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2019 were speeding.3 Motorcycle riders aged 21 to 24 years old involved in fatal crashes had the highest speeding involvement at 49 percent.4
It is important to travel the speed limit and to drive appropriate with road, weather and traffic conditions when you are riding your motorcycle.
CONTACT THE LAW OFFICES OF JASON E. TAYLOR, P.C.
If you have been in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte, North Carolina, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C.. Our motorcycle accident lawyers are here to assist you. Call us for a free evaluation of your case. You may be entitled to a settlement for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.