If you like to ride a motorcycle, then you must take your safety on the road particularly seriously. Motorcycles offer no protection during an accident and the resulting injuries are often permanently life-changing or fatal.
To put things into perspective, Los Angeles County experienced nearly 4,000 motorcycle crashes resulting in injuries or fatalities in 2019 alone. This means that motorcycle accidents are both common and serious, meaning you need to be ready for anything that might endanger you on the road.
You can improve your safety while riding a motorcycle by first understanding which types of accidents happen most frequently. Let’s go over those now so you can stay better protected on the road.
The most dangerous and deadly type of motorcycle accident is a head-on collision.
This type of crash entails directly hitting a driver going in the opposite direction. Head-on collisions are bad enough for a crash involving two cars of relatively equal size, but motorcycle head-on crashes always mean serious consequences for the rider.
When a motorcycle is hit head-on, this puts all the force and momentum on the rider and often sends them flying off their bike. As you might expect, this rarely ends well and death is almost assured.
Because of this, you must be overly cautious whenever you are driving on two-lane highways and in any other situation involving cars going the opposite way with little distance between you.
Another common type of motorcycle accident involves lane-splitting crashes.
Lane-splitting is what happens when you constantly zip between lanes to avoid getting stuck in traffic. While this can be tempting on a motorcycle, other drivers are not anticipating this and cannot be expected to account for you with their movements.
Not only are you relying on other drivers to avoid hitting you, but your margin for error becomes increasingly small when lane-splitting. Rather than having a full lane between you and another car, you place yourself between lanes and eliminate any safety room.
With this in mind, lane-splitting must be avoided because it is illegal and dangerous. You will likely be found at fault for an accident and this means you’ll be on the hook for your injuries.
Motorcycle accidents are also prevalent when turns are involved. This involves the turns of oncoming traffic and how you as a motorcycle rider make your turns.
When it comes to other drivers, they may hit you when making a left turn from the oncoming direction. Drivers can turn left with a blinking yellow arrow when the road is clear for them to turn.
The complication here is that other drivers are typically looking for other cars. Motorcycles are much harder to see and other drivers may not notice you before turning.
As a result, they will turn when they think it’s clear and wind up hitting you without even realizing you were there.
The other side of this is ensuring that you turn safely when riding a motorcycle. Trying to take corners at fast speeds, during wet conditions, or even just being inexperienced can all cause you to lose your balance and crash during a turn.
Turns are an unavoidable part of driving and they carry an inherently higher risk of an accident for motorcycles. Remember this and never assume a turning driver will see you – be prepared to move out of the way quickly.
Be smart with how you take your corners and keep your speed down.
The implications of impairment also result in more motorcycle crashes.
Operating a motorcycle is far more difficult than driving a standard passenger car. Drugs and alcohol make the operation of a car incredibly dangerous, so it is safe to say that it is even riskier to drive a motorcycle while impaired.
Impairment is significant because it results in worse cognitive function and physical ability. This means something you can do unconsciously when sober can become impossible and dangerous when intoxicated. This is the last thing you need when operating a powerful piece of machinery like a motorcycle.
Riding a motorcycle while impaired is illegal and incredibly reckless. You are far more likely to make a critical mistake and cause an accident that results in serious injuries for yourself.
Only ever ride sober and avoid all distractions to keep yourself in the best state possible to ride.
Speeding And Recklessness
A final cause of motorcycle crashes is speeding and general recklessness.
Many people choose to ride motorcycles because they are a lot different than a car. Bikes over an unmatched sense of freedom and thrill that just leaves you wanting more. This generally results in wanting to speed or ignore traffic laws.
Not only is this illegal, but it greatly endangers your safety. Accidents become far more likely when speed is involved and the resulting injuries are much more severe.
Factor in the fact that motorcycles are hard to drive, riding at high speeds means you have far less control over your vehicle and accurate handling becomes incredibly difficult.
Additionally, you are unable to effectively avoid road hazards. Something as minor as a pothole might be insignificant and avoidable at lower speeds, but a full-blown crashing hazard when speeding.
Understand that motorcycles offer no safety, meaning you must ride safely and slower to compensate. Always obey all traffic laws and avoid any behaviors that might worry other drivers.
Motorcycle accidents can be incredibly deadly, but they are often preventable with safer riding choices. Riding a motorcycle can create the temptation for unsafe choices that greatly increase the chance of an accident happening.
In particular, there are a few outstanding situations where most motorcycle accidents occur. This includes head-on collisions, lane-splitting crashes, accidents when turning, impairment, and reckless behavior like speeding.
Because a motorcycle accident affects you as the rider the most, your safety should be your top priority. Learn safe riding habits now and you can continue to enjoy the road without the limitations of a car for many years to come.
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