Summer is in full swing, and there’s no better time to ride a motorcycle through the streets of California. The warm air and cool breeze make for a thrilling experience, but seeking that exhilaration doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. Motorcycles are a great way to travel, but they’re inherently dangerous as well. You need to make sure you’re taking the proper precautions to avoid any preventable accidents.
Motorcycle accidents are particularly harmful since they don’t offer anywhere near the same safety features as cars. Simply due to their design, you’ve already lost the benefit of having a safety cage around you. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself and those around you. Learn about some helpful tips for avoiding motorcycle accidents this summer, and discover how a motorcycle injury attorney can help if you get hurt.
Motorcycles are much harder to spot than full-size vehicles. Because of that, a lot of motorcycle accidents occur because other drivers simply didn’t see the motorcycle. To counteract this, you need to make sure you’re taking action to get noticed. This doesn’t mean you should drive recklessly through the streets. Instead, you can try turning your high beam light on during the day. Black leather jackets may look really good, but something with a brighter color will make it easier for other drivers to spot you.
Smart Lane Splitting
California is unique among the rest of the states because it’s the only one that has officially made lane splitting legal. That means you can ride your motorcycle in between cars on the road without legal penalty. There are rules to it, however, that you have to obey. You can’t lane split more than 10 mph faster than the surrounding traffic. Legal lane splitting also only applies if you’re going 30 mph or slower.
Even if you obey all the legal rules regarding lane splitting, it’s still dangerous. With the reduced space to maneuver, you’ll have less time to react and less ways out than you would if you were in the middle of a lane. The safest thing to do in most cases is to avoid lane splitting, and just be patient when you’re riding.
Conversely, there are some instances in which lane splitting might be the safest thing you can do. Imagine you’re riding your motorcycle through the street and the car in front of you stops faster than you expected. Instead of slamming on your brakes yourself, you can head between the lanes to slow down there instead. This is also helpful if another car is following too closely behind you. Lane splitting is always safer than getting rear ended by a car.
Don’t Bother With a Loud Exhaust
One solution many motorcycle riders use to get noticed by other vehicles is to equip their bike with a loud exhaust pipe. All this really accomplishes is annoying the people around you. When taking average speeds into consideration, a car typically won’t be able to react to a loud exhaust before it’s too late to avoid an accident. Remember, light travels much faster than sound, so it’s always safer to be seen and not heard when on a motorcycle.
Watch Out for Cars Turning Left
The majority of motorcycle accidents occur due to cars turning left in front of motorcyclist. Drivers tend to give themselves the all clear, not seeing any cars and not considering that there could be motorcycles coming. Even when they do see you, many misjudge your speed and go on with the turn anyways. This is the number one cause of motorcycle accidents, so you need to know how to react.
This may seem obvious, but the simplest thing you can do is see it coming. There are a few telltale signs you can look for. Hopefully, the driver is using their blinker to indicate the turn, but if they’re not, try and see if they’re in a turning lane. It’s always a good idea to take precautionary measures regardless. If there’s a large gap of traffic in front of you while an oncoming vehicle is trying to turn left, go ahead and slow down just to be safe. Be sure to check out the car’s wheels and see if you can match the driver’s eyes.
Most importantly, you need to make a plan for evasive action. Should the vehicle turn in front of you as if you weren’t there, you need to know how you’re going to dodge them. You could be going slow enough to stop entirely before they cross your path, but that’s not always the case. Even if it is, you could get rear ended by a car behind you that’s following too closely. Think of your routes of escape, and only try to stop entirely when there’s no other way around.
Motorcycle Injury Attorney
These tips should help you avoid motorcycle accidents this summer, but not every crash is avoidable. If you’ve suffered an injury in an accident, you’ll need the help of a motorcycle injury lawyer to get the damages you’re owed. If you’re looking for quality representation and expertise you can count on, Dunnion Law Firm is happy to help.
We take an aggressive approach to these cases and know how to get insurance companies to pay what you’re owed. We won’t even charge you unless we win your case. Remember, no insurance company or agent is ever on your side, but a motorcycle injury lawyer always is. Contact us today for your free consultation.
Author: James C. Beardsley, lead attorney at Lowry & Associates, and motorcycle accident lawyer in Portland, Maine.