With the nice warm weather, bike riders and their passengers will start to take to our roadways. We have a great love for motorcycles. We too have occasionally enjoyed riding the scenic roads of our great state and encourage others to experience what it feels like to see West Virginia’s beauty from the seat of your cruiser.
However, with any motorized vehicle, comes the danger and likelihood of an accident. We see it all the time, whether it is the fault of a driver who was not on the lookout for motorcycles or a rider who somehow lost control of their bike, motorcycle accidents are bad news for all involved.
As a rider, it is important that you are prepared for anything, so to help out, we have wanted to provide some information on the 10 Most Common Motorcycle Accidents and How to Prevent Them.
- A Vehicle Hits You From Behind
Sounds odd, but we have seen this happen far too often. A driver not paying attention at a stop light or merging onto a major interstate and they slam into the back of your bike. The best way to avoid this type of accident is to be aware of your surroundings at each light and make sure you create a buffer zone between you and the traffic approaching you from behind, even use another stopped car if necessary. You might also consider moving to the side and not sitting in the center to provide some maneuvering room if an accident is imminent.
- The Roadway is Slippery
When it rains, it sucks for riders. Not only are you going to get wet from the rain and the run offs on the roads and tires, but you are also in danger of slippage on the road. The best way to prevent an accident by slipping is to make sure your tires are up to snuff. Keeping your tread reasonable will give you great grip. Just as you would in a car, slow down and watch for road hazards such as snowy patches, oil slicks and even steel sewer covers.
- A Car Turns Left in Front of You
This is one of the most common motorcycle accidents. The driver of another car is not paying attention or is distracted by a cell phone and they pull right out of an intersection, and BAM! One of the best ways to prevent this type of accident is awareness. Being aware of your surroundings, including the distance between the cars in front of you and if the driver is ready to bolt. Inexperienced drivers will develop a keen “sixth sense” about these types of situations, but that comes with time. It is even suggested that you look at the movement of the wheels on the car and not the car itself as the wheels will be a more clear indication of the activities of the driver.
- A Car Changes Lane in Front of You
This is the worst, but if you think about it, we all have done it one time or another. Maybe not in a bike, but we all have accidently cut someone off on the highway, merging or even on a side street. We didn’t mean it, but it happens. You just need to be prepared on how to handle it. In order to prevent something like this from happening, you need to be aware of the blind spots on your fellow traveler’s vehicle. I know it’s not fair that you have to watch out for them too, but it is a reality. The driver of the car that is in the lane next to you is not paying attention to you and will not see you enter their blind spot. Just be aware and you should be fine.
If for some reason the car pulls in front of you, it is important to remember and hone in your defensive driving skills. Don’t panic and swerve loosing you balance. Take your time and have a plan of action that you can use in a situation such as this.
- A Car Opens its Door
Yikes! If you travel in heavily populated areas, more than likely you will come across parked cars on the side of the road. One of those drivers is going to open the door in front of another vehicle, which could be a motorcycle. It is recommended to never ride in a lane that is between moving traffic and parked vehicles. Although it may be difficult, you want to avoid the opening door, and even pedestrian traffic or a car pulling out from a spot. If it occurs and you can’t avoid it, brake as hard as possible and steer your way through it.
- Your Front Wheel Locks Up
Under most circumstances, your front wheel locks up due to your brakes. When you need to stop suddenly, your front brake can be the boundary between you and that wild animal that took off in your pathway. If you have not tested yourself using the front brake, do so as soon as you can. The front brake is one of the most challenging, yet dangerous asset on your bike. Only practice can increase your comfort level and decrease your proneness to flip over your own handle bars.
- You Hit Gravel in a Corner
West Virginia has bad roads. That is a given. But you need to learn to ride on them, or frankly, you may never have a fun ride. Back roads in our state are twisty and have major curves. Unpaved roads with pot holes, lead to a lot of loose gravel. It is that gravel that may trip you up, especially if it is unexpected. Corners can be tricky to maneuver without unexpected gravel. To effectively avoid this type of accident, you want to follow the mainstay “slow in, fast out.” Take the corner slow and wide and increase speed on the way out.
You as the driver need to understand your trail and what you may encounter on it. If you are taking a new route to some location, try and ask your fellow bikers what to expect.
- Entering a Corner too Fast
It happens to the best of us. You are in the midst of a great ride when all of a sudden you hit a corner going faster than you expected. What do you do? Our advice would be to ride it out. Trust your bike and stay in the lean. It may get difficult, your knee may scrape the ground, but don’t do anything that will knock the bike of its track. Just as fast as you got into the corner, you will get out of it, just hold on.
- Your Fellow Riders are Awful or Just Plain Dumb
There is always one in a crowd. Either they are the dare devil or just plain dumb. Group riding can be dangerous. Accidents occur all the time when a rider in the group does something stupid and cause others in the group to wreck. The easiest way to prevent it is to not ride with inexperienced or dangerous riders.
- Drunken Driving
It is an issue with all motorized vehicles. Driving drunk is one of the most prevelant causes of accidents in our state. If you drive drunk you are endangering your life, but more importantly the lives of others. Just don’t do it.
We hope you find some of these tips helpful. Motorcycle accidents are the most damaging to the riders regardless if you hit a small car or a large truck. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and give yourself some practice time before you take on long rides or even group rides. Having a motorcycle is great! But we want to make sure you are safe and don’t need our services anytime soon.
Let us know if you have any questions or need to speak with an attorney, we are always glad to help fellow riders. We have the experience through the use of motorcycles, but also through helping your fellow riders when they need it the most.
Information gathered from rideapart.com and other various resources.