Every day dozens of motorcyclists are severely injured in collisions due to no fault of their own. In fact, an Urban Transportation Research study performed by the University of South Florida found that 60 percent of motorcycle accidents are caused by negligent motorists who fail to see the biker until it is too late.
Most bikers know the importance of situational awareness, but many motorists lack that skill, putting motorcycle riders at greater risk for injury and even death.
Motorcycle Awareness Tips
Motorcycles are relatively small, compact, and can reach speeds in excess of 100 mph. Consequently, they can be difficult to spot while driving. However, failure to see a motorcyclist does not excuse liability or justify colliding into him, nor does it erase guilt for causing him serious (possibly fatal) harm. So what can you do?
Avoiding a catastrophic motorcycle collision isn’t as hard as you may think. All that it requires is a little awareness, anticipation, and eye-opening attention to detail:
- Awareness. When driving near a motorcyclist, you must be aware of your and his surroundings. Is the road wet? Could his bike slip or hydroplane toward you? Does he seem stable, or is he losing control? Is his blinker on? Furthermore, even if you didn’t notice passing a motorcycle at any point, make sure to look specifically for bikes in your blindspots before changing lanes or making turns.
- Anticipation. When approaching a motorcycle, whether from behind or in front, make sure you’re aware of its speed, direction, and potential route. Having this information can help you predict the vehicle’s movements. Does the motorcyclist look like he’ll need to potentially squeeze his brakes? Does he look like he’s about to turn? Is there a place he could turn? Is he acting as though he wants to pass you? By anticipating his actions, you can adjust your driving to ensure you don’t collide.
- Attention to detail. When driving near a motorcycle, you must pay attention! Yes, they’re small. Yes, they’re unexpected. However, as a safe driver you need to expect the unexpected to avoid disaster. Pay attention to details such as weather (is it nice enough for bikers to take to the roads?), time (if it’s 2 A.M., could a biker potentially be drunk?), and situational clues (is the bike wobbling or does it seem to be out-of-control?). All of these clues could help you understand the danger before it occurs—saving you from causing an accident as well as from suffering from one.
Liability Concerns: When Awareness Isn’t Enough to Prevent a Collision
Although you may try your hardest to pay attention to traffic and give each motorcyclist the benefit of the doubt, you can’t control how he rides his bike…nor should you be responsible for how he chooses to ride. Unfortunately, there is a slight bias when it comes to motorcycle accidents, as the biker is generally the one who suffers the most physical damage. However, that doesn’t mean you must suffer the liability and financial burden of his mistakes.
For more information on determining motorcycle accident liability and damage compensation, feel free to browse our extensive collection of articles. We strive to help our clients get the information they need to pursue a successful claim. Don’t waste the opportunity to learn from our experience—click here to begin building your case.