The pull of the open road is something that motorcyclists understand. Riding a motorcycle is a freeing feeling and a way to relax for hundreds of thousands of people. For others, it’s also a way to commute, saving money on gas they would otherwise be putting into their more traditional vehicle.
In North Carolina, there are approximately 200,000 registered bikers. While motorcycles can be found on the road at any time of year, they are more prevalent in the warmer months because more bikers are on the road. These accidents aren’t always fatal, but most do result in at least some type of injury. There’s just not much protection when you are on a motorcycle, even if you are wearing all of the right safety gear.
The state requires that all motorcyclists wear a helmet in order to protect riders from some of the most serious injuries. Even though wearing a helmet may protect your head, it doesn’t stop accidents from happening. You can protect yourself better by knowing which accidents are the most common, and what you can do to try and prevent them.
1. A Vehicle Turns Left In Front of You
A vehicle driver turning left is one of the top causes of motorcycle accidents. A driver may not see you or could judge your speed incorrectly. They then turn in front of you, essentially cutting off your path, giving you no choice but to either lay your bike down or hit the vehicle.
To avoid this type of accident, you need to see it coming. You should look for any indicators that a vehicle in front of you may turn left. Be cautious at intersections, near driveways and close to parking lots. Be ready to take action if you need to.
2. Gravel and Debris
You’re out riding the curves and, without warning, you round a bend and find a patch of loose debris in your path. It may be sand, gravel or leaves. It doesn’t really matter what it is, because it causes you to lose control and wipe out.
You can avoid this type of accident by avoiding the situation altogether. Ride at speeds that are right for the road conditions and your range of vision. Enter turns slowly and accelerate as you ride out of them.
3. Cornering Too Fast
The general rule of thumb for curves is slow in, fast out. If you enter a curve at high speeds, you may find that you lose control of your bike. Once you’ve figured out that you aren’t going to be able to make the corner, it’s usually too late to do anything about it.
Avoid this by entering corners slowly. If you do enter a corner too fast, take as much lean off the bike as you can and let it do its job. Don’t slam on your brakes, and don’t hit the accelerator. Do your best to maintain control of your bike and coast through the corner.
4. Vehicles Changing Lanes
Another common reason for accidents are cars changing lanes in front of you. Keep in mind that if you are riding next to a car, you may be in their blind spot. As far as they know, the way is clear to move over into your lane.
Keep yourself safe by not riding next to a vehicle if you can help it. Always look for signs that a vehicle may be getting ready to change lanes, and be extra vigilant in slow-moving traffic where people may be getting impatient.
5. Rear-Ended by a Car
You stop like you should at an intersection, but the car behind you isn’t paying attention. You are plowed into from behind at a high speed and thrown from your bike. There isn’t much you can do about other driver’s attention spans, but you can make sure that you are positioning yourself in such a way that a rear-end accident will have less impact.
If you can stop to the side of the lane instead of the center, especially with the front part of your bike next to another car, you’re better off.
6. People In Your Group Don’t Ride Well
No matter how experienced a rider you are, you can’t speak for the people in your riding group. When people don’t understand proper riding etiquette, they are more likely to cause an accident within their own group.
Avoid accidents by ensuring that everyone you are riding with is aware of how to ride in a group. Staggered formation is the way to go. It gives everyone a better line of site and can prevent one bike from crashing into another. If you find that one of your friends just can’t get it together when you all ride together, don’t ride with them.
7. Front Brake Locks Up
Sometimes we just aren’t paying attention. We’ve all been guilty of it. You may see something in the road or along the side and squeeze your front brake without really realizing what you are doing. The next thing you know, you’re on the pavement.
Before you use your front brake, you need how to use it. Practice makes perfect in this case. Know what your front brake will do to your bike at different speeds. You can practice in an open parking lot without posing a threat to yourself or other people.
8. Open Car Doors
This is a problem for people pedaling a bike and those riding motorcycle. You are moving down the road when a car door suddenly opens. This is actually an easy accident to avoid if you just stay out of the lane that is next to parked cars.
9. Slippery Pavement
It’s raining or snowing and the road is slippery. If you knew that it was raining and your motorcycle doesn’t have the best tires, stay off of slick pavement.
If you run into inclement weather suddenly, slow down and be prepared to make evasive maneuvers if necessary. Know that the visibility of other drivers on the road may be limited and drive accordingly.
10. Drunk Riding
In 2016, about 26 percent of riders killed in fatal motorcycle accidents had a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher — in other words, they were legally drunk. This one is simple: Don’t drink and ride.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte or elsewhere and are interested in pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver, reach out to our team for a free consultation. We will discuss your accident with you and advise you as to your best course of action.