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How to Keep an Eye Out for Motorcyclists in California

Most drivers are aware they must share the road and exercise caution with regard to other drivers. But it’s all too easy to miss that motorcycle in the lane next to you or, immediately behind you, until it’s too late. What follows in this article are some tips for drivers to keep in mind as they attempt to share the road safely with motorcyclists in California.

Remember Warm Weather and Holiday Weekends

Although there’s great weather in some parts of California nearly all year round, more people are likely to enjoy the open roads once the weather begins to get warmer. Taking a ride outside means this could be the first time the person has used their bike since last fall, so you can’t always count on the rider to have maintained their bike or kept their skills up. Remember that with the first few consistent weekends of nice weather, more motorcyclists are likely to be on the road. This includes both riders who have ridden for a long time and first-timers using the warm weather to get more experience.

Holiday weekends like July 4th and Labor Day also can add more traffic across all roads, but these are also popular times for motorcyclists in California to participate in group rides. This means big formations of motorcycles.

It’s best to approach these groups cautiously and allow them to pass you. If one or a few riders are preparing to pass you, expect that the others will, too. It’s very dangerous to move your car into their formation as you might not be able to see just how many bikes are in your immediate vicinity.

It can be nerve-wracking for a driver to come up on dozens of motorcycles riding together as a group, but the best thing you can do is stay right where you are and let them pass before making any other moves with your own car.

Don’t Drive Distractedly

For distracted drivers, it’s hard enough to see a semi-truck or brightly colored vehicle. When you combine distracted driving with the fact that motorcyclists are often overlooked, this increases the chances that an accident could happen. It’s almost always the motorcyclist who ends up paying the biggest price in the form of injuries. With little protection from their vehicle, their bodies often take the brunt of the accident, though drivers and passengers inside vehicles also can be harmed.

Even though the phone is a frequent cause for distracted driving, it’s not the only reason you might lose focus behind the wheel. Avoid dangerous behaviors like:

  • Eating
  • Changing radio stations often
  • Reaching for things in the backseat
  • Getting too engaged in a conversation with a passenger

Take Caution with Signals

Lots of cars automatically turn off the turn signal when a forgetful driver lets it run for too long. For some motorcycles, a rider who has had their signal turned on for some time, they might not realize it’s still running. Be very cautious if you need to pass them.

Proceed slowly and use your own turn signals to make it clear to the rider and other drivers that you intend to pass them or come around them.

Look Twice Before Changing Lanes,  Merging or Backing Out

One of the most common causes of serious injuries for motorcyclists in California is when a driver in a bigger car changes lanes without knowing a bike rider is next to them. Checking your mirrors when you’re planning to merge onto a highway or change lanes is never enough, you should also look over your shoulder to make sure there are no motorcyclist or other vehicles in your blind spot. All too often, a motorcyclist attempting to change lanes has falled into that blind spot.

The same technique should be used when approaching an intersection. Make sure there isn’t a motorcyclist approaching from the side to make a turn. If you don’t have your signal on, the biker has no way of knowing that you intend to turn and could be struck while you make your turn.

If you’re in a parking lot and are scanning for cars, don’t forget that a motorcyclist could be nearby. Never put your car in reverse too quickly as it could result in a serious accident with a motorcyclist.

Always Follow the Four-Second Rule

If you’re behind a motorcycle on the road, keep a safe distance. There’s no reason to tailgate and it’s especially dangerous with motorcyclists. Always stay behind these bikes and any other vehicle at least four seconds. It’s not always as easy to predict what a bike rider will do. Looking for their brake lights as you would with a traditional car may not be our immediate response, so maintain a safe distance to avoid an accident where you might hit the motorcyclist from behind, according to Esurance.

What to Do If You Are in An Accident

There might be times when a motorcycle accident in California is not your fault. If the motorcycle rider wasn’t doing the right things to share the road with you, a serious accident could form the basis of a lawsuit for your injury recovery. If you have sustained injuries as a result of a wreck in which a motorcyclist was going too fast for weather conditions, exhibiting unsafe behavior, or driving distracted, you need to share this information with your personal injury lawyer.

Dunnion Law is here for you when you’ve been in an accident with a motorcyclist in California. Whether you are a bike rider who was injured due to distracted driving or a passenger in a car struck by a motorcycle, you need legal support by your side. Contact us today for more information about filing a claim for a California motorcycle accident.