At Hinkle Law Offices, we say, “Hinkle Rides. Hinkle Knows,” and it’s true. Our motorcycle accident attorney is an active motorcyclist, so he knows firsthand that many motorcycle accidents are completely preventable. You can keep yourself from becoming a motorcycle accident statistic by following these tips:
Tip #1: Make Yourself More Visible
Many motorcycle accidents happen because another driver didn’t “see” a motorcyclist. What is likely more accurate is that the other driver was only looking for similar-sized or bigger vehicles, so they did not register smaller vehicles or pedestrians in their scan of their surroundings.
There are a number of public safety campaigns aimed at training car and truck drivers to see motorcycles, and you can help them do so by making yourself more visible. Increase the likelihood that other vehicle drivers will notice you by:
- Wearing reflective gear, like a vest and/or a reflective stripe on the back of your helmet
- Turning on your headlight, even in the day time
When stopped, you may look around and attempt to make eye contact with neighboring drivers. Drivers around you who see you may help to protect you from surrounding traffic.
Tip #2: Follow the Rules of the Road as if You Were Driving a Car
On a smaller vehicle, it is tempting to zip around parked or moving cars and squeeze into small spaces to leapfrog your way through heavy traffic…but don’t. Aggressive motorcycle driving like that is dangerous for a few reasons:
- It could incite road rage among neighboring car/truck drivers.
- The difference in gross vehicle weights and stopping distance between your motorcycle and neighboring cars puts you at greater risk because other drivers’ vehicles cannot respond as quickly as yours.
In the event that you do suffer a motorcycle accident, aggressive driving can put you at fault, meaning you may be liable to pay for your own damages, medical expenses, etc. as well as those suffered by the other driver(s) and passenger(s).
Tip #3: Be (Hyper)Aware of Your Surroundings
Not all motorcycle accidents involve other cars. Single-vehicle accidents involving motorcycles happen frequently because road conditions are more dangerous for lighter-weight vehicles and exposed riders. Avoid accidents by vigilantly scanning your surroundings for:
- Standing water, oil or other substances that may increase slippage
- Other vehicles and other drivers’ behavior
A split-second of notice that something is out of the ordinary may be all you have and all you need to adjust your speed, direction or behavior to avoid an accident.
Tip #4: Watch for Oncoming Drivers Turning Left
One of the most common types of motorcycle accidents results from drivers turning left into/onto an oncoming motorcyclist they weren’t looking for. Making yourself more visible will help, but you can do more to prevent this type of crash.
- Be aware of cross streets, whether they have left-only turn lanes heading into them or not
- Look for left turn signals on oncoming traffic and be ready to adjust your speed to avoid a car turning into your path
When cruising through intersections, use both hands for steering. This will help you maintain control of your motorcycle in the event that you need to swerve to avoid a left-turning car.
Tip #5: Be the Better Driver
When sharing roadways with heavier vehicles whose drivers aren’t looking for you, you may be right or you may be injured. It’s not fair, but be ready to take the high road to protect your safety.
So, even when you have the right-of-way, you may need to yield to another driver. You may need to exercise more care in your driving.