Riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating. The roar of the engine provides the soundtrack for flying down the open road – just you and your bike.
But riding a motorcycle can also be dangerous. The thrill of riding a motorcycle can quickly become risky if you’re not careful or riding safely.
If you’re going to take a motorcycle on the road, you should complete a basic motorcycle rider course and know the Florida motorcycle laws, in addition to being equipped with the proper safety gear.
What kind of safety gear? Helmet, gloves, protective eyewear, boots, leather clothes, and body armor. This kind of gear can both make riding a motorcycle more comfortable and help to protect you from injuries if you are involved in an accident.
But the best thing you can do is try to avoid accidents altogether. To help you do that, here are 5 of the most common types of motorcycle accidents and how to prevent them.
- A car turns left in front of you. This is probably the most common motorcycle accident. Why does it happen? Lots of reasons. A car might not see you or can’t correctly judge your speed. They might also be distracted or driving recklessly. Additionally, cars waiting to turn at intersections are particularly dangerous, as are gaps in traffic at an intersection, parking lot, or driveway.
As a motorcyclist, you need to be prepared for these kind of mistakes. Drivers might display certain signs that can foreshadow their turning in front of you. One thing to look for is the direction of cars’ wheels. The direction of a car’s wheels is the first sign of what the car might do next.
- You turned too fast into a corner. You’re going too fast into a corner and you realize you might not totally make it. What do you do? Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be going too fast. You should also be paying attention to visual cues from the road to know what’s coming up ahead.
If you’re in that situation though, try to ride it out. Don’t slam on the brakes or do anything that may cause a loss of traction. Lean into the corner and be in control of the bike.
- A car suddenly changes lanes into you. Motorcycles can easily fit into a car’s blind spot, so unfortunately it’s easy for a car to drift into your space.
As a motorcyclist, you should know this and be aware of where blind spots are and avoid riding into those spots. A good note: if you can see a driver’s eyes in their mirror, they can see you too. You should also be watching the road to see if cars will need to be changing lanes quickly.
Also watch for signs a car might be changing lanes:
- Turn signals
- Turning wheels
- A driver is checking their mirrors
- A driver’s head is moving
- A car hits you from behind. With cars, fender benders are the most common accident. But a fender bender with a motorcycle could kill a motorcyclist.
Avoid this accident by using other cars as barriers. When you stop, politely pull in front of another stopped car to cushion yourself from any cars coming up behind you. Or pull in between a line of cars.
If there aren’t any stopped cars, stop to the side of your lane instead right in the center. Flash your brake lights and be aware of what’s happening behind you in case you need to quickly get out of the way.,
- A car opened its door. If there are parked cars on the side of the road, never ride between them and an active lane of traffic. Even if there’s a ton of extra room. Car doors can open. Pedestrians can step into the road. Cars can pull out. And so on. Motorcyclists and bicyclists call the area next to parked cars The Death Zone for this very reason.
If, however, you end up in this situation, brake as hard as possible to avoid a collision. If a collision is going to happen anyway, you can at least decrease your speed.
Hopefully, when you’re on your motorcycle, you ride safely and exercise caution while on the road. If for some reason you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, seek medical attention immediately. Then contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can look at the facts of your case and determine if you’re entitled to any damages.
About the Author:
Steven Slootsky is a 1985 graduate of Nova Law School, which means he’s been a practicing Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer for more than 2 decades. He founded the Law Offices of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida in 1991. The Fort Lauderdale-based accident attorney is a member of the Florida Bar, as well as the Federal Bar for the Southern District for the U.S. District Court. During his career as a personal injury lawyer/auto accident compensation attorney, Steven has served as the co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation section for Broward County, Florida. He is also a Bronze member of the Florida Workers Advocates, a former member of the board, and serves as an “Eagle” member of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers.