Are you a motorist? Chances are you regularly share the road with motorcyclists. And while there’s some truth to the assumption that motorcycles are inherently dangerous, there are steps drivers and riders alike can take to improve safety. While the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes has decreased by 3% over the last few years, motorcycle riders are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities, according to NHTSA.
Sharing the road with motorcycles might seem stressful, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Increased awareness on everyone’s part can make the roads safer all around! Keep reading for some helpful tips on what you can do as a motorist to avoid accidents with motorcycles.
- Understand that motorcyclists have the same rights to the roadway as you do! Just as motorcyclists are required to follow the same road rules as motorists, motorists are required to treat motorcyclists with the same respect as they would another car.
- Understand the unique safety challenges that motorcyclists face. They are smaller, less visible, and less protected than cars, which sometimes puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to roadway safety.
- Look for motorcyclists where vehicles do not appear. Be especially watchful at intersections before making a left-hand turn.
- Think like a motorcyclist when it comes to roadway hazards. Be aware that motorcyclists may have to downshift and weave to avoid bumps, stopped vehicles, debris, or other roadway hazards.
- Keep your eyes on the road! Crashes involving motorcycles colliding with other vehicles account for 56% of motorcycle accident deaths. In the vast majority (78% of the time) of these accidents, the car strikes the motorcycle from the front, according to Nolo. Head-on collisions between a car and a motorcycle are often fatal to the motorcyclist.
- Drive defensively! This means being prepared for the worst to happen. Assume that others cannot see you. Assume that avoiding a crash is your responsibility.
- Avoid distractions. Never let yourself be distracted by music, your phone, a passenger, or anything else that takes your focus off the road. Avoid trying to pick up items that have fallen (such as on floorboards or between seats) while driving.
- Pay special attention during left-hand turns. The single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists occurs when cars are making left-hand turns. These collisions account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car. Usually, the turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is going straight through an intersection passing the car or trying to overtake the car, according to Nolo. A motorcycle’s smaller size makes it even less visible to the turning vehicle. Motorcycles that pass cars within the same lane are even more vulnerable because cars aren’t expecting them. Almost always, the vehicle which hits another vehicle while making a left-hand turn will be found at fault for the accident. However, the fault can shift if the motorcyclist was speeding or in the wrong lane, according to Nolo. Even if you believe you were innocent in an accident, it’s essential to get help in proving who was the real victim. Get an experienced New Mexico personal injury attorney to convincingly tell your side of the story.
- Only drive when you are alert and able to maintain focus throughout your entire trip. This is for your own safety as well!
- Always Drive Sober. Even minimal alcohol levels impair your ability to drive safely.
- Slow Down. Give yourself more time to react!
- Follow the 4-second rule. Always have at least 4 seconds between you and a motorcycle in front of you. Note that the safe following distance behind a motorcycle requires more space than when you’re following other cars. Why? Because motorcycles break faster than cars in an emergency! And in normal driving, motorcyclists tend to shift down a gear instead of putting on the breaks, making it more difficult to judge if they’ve slowed down or not. To make sure you’re following at a safe distance, find a static object far ahead and count the number of seconds between when the motorcycle in front of you passes it and when you pass it. If it’s less than four seconds, you probably need to slow down.
Have you been in an accident involving a motorcycle in Albuquerque, New Mexico? The Law Office of Brian K. Branch is here to help! Whether you were the motorist or motorcyclist in the accident, we can represent you effectively. Are you trying to get the compensation you deserve after being injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Don’t risk losing your opportunity to collect your personal injury damages. Call 505.764.9710 or contact us online!
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Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102
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