Motorcyclists are often extremely passionate about their bikes and the accompanying lifestyle. And while there are certainly many avid car lovers in the US too, the motorcycle enthusiast is undeniably a different breed. They may even enjoy building their own bikes, as well as modifying and repairing them. Once out on the road, the benefits are many, to include enjoying a sense of brotherhood with other enthusiasts, fresh air and a sense of freedom, greater ease in parking and maneuvering, affordability—and of course, adventure.
The downside of owning a motorcycle may not be apparent though until you have an accident. Even if you are an extremely cautious driver, there are still many hazards on the road. Here are five main reasons accidents occur:
- Lack of visibility – while this may sometimes be due to a bike that is dark in color or the motorcyclist’s affinity for dark leather jackets and jeans, visibility is a common issue. Bikes are smaller in size and not quite as common on the road, so other motorists may not be accustomed to watching out for them either. Bikes may also be in the blind spot of a motorist when they are forced to hit the brakes or are switching lanes. To prevent accidents due to lack of visibility, choose bright colors for your motorcycle if possible, wear reflective clothing, and additional lights are recommended. Practice defensive driving regarding other motorists, placing yourself as conspicuously as possible in traffic, and with the headlights always on.
- Lane Splitting: Many motorcyclists are fond of passing other vehicles in the same lane or cutting through the middle of two lanes to speed forward. While lane splitting is legal in some states, that is not true in Florida. Some argue that lane splitting can significantly help traffic issues, and ease congestion. That may be the case, but motorcyclists traveling at high speeds while lane splitting could easily be hit when a car unexpectedly makes a turn or lane change.
- Speed: Other motorists traveling at accelerated speeds can be of great danger to the motorcyclist—and especially if those driving in a car or truck are distracted and may not notice a bike turning, or traveling in front of or behind them. Exceeding the speed limit is one of the most common reasons motorists and motorcyclists have accidents, with the motorcyclist being much more vulnerable on the road. It is no secret that many motorcyclists enjoy the thrill of the ride—and along with that often comes the ‘need for speed.’ Unfortunately, this is often the precursor to a crash. Always follow the speed limit and give a wide berth to motorists who are obviously driving too fast and breaking traffic rules.
- Aggressive driving: Some drivers own both cars and motorcycles and can understand the frustrations in sharing the highway; however, road rage can lead to terror on the road for everyone involved, acts of violence, and even bad accidents including fatalities. Avoid other drivers who seem to be driving aggressively or may have an issue with motorcyclists in general, demonstrated through tailgating, flashing headlights, abrupt braking or cutting you off, gesturing obscenely, and more. The goal is to get home safely, so do not engage with other drivers on the road who seem to be agitated.
- Bad weather: While more experienced drivers and motorcyclists may handle weather conditions skillfully, always slow your speed and use extra caution in stormy conditions. Motorcycles may handle unpredictably on slippery or flooding roads, and wind can make driving both challenging and dangerous. Give other drivers plenty of room on the road and make sure your headlights are on. Try to take shelter if lightning becomes part of the equation, or if visibility is low due to pelting rain.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of others, please call Heintz & Becker for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!
All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.