As any motorcycle rider knows, certain risks come with the excitement of the ride. Motorcycles are smaller, unstable, and less visible than passenger vehicles. While car occupants are surrounded by steel frames, airbags, and seatbelts, motorcyclists are more exposed to hazards on the open road. Since they lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, motorcyclists are more likely to be severely injured in an accident. Experienced motorcyclists must watch out for and avoid these types of accidents.
A common type of motorcycle crash that can often be deadly or cause catastrophic injury is a head-on collision. Drivers may steer into an oncoming lane for various reasons, such as distracted driving, driving under the influence, or fatigue. Speeding, loss of control, and passing on two-lane roads can cause a driver to cross the center line, resulting in a head-on crash. Sometimes malfunctions such as faulty steering or brakes can drive a car to lose control and head into oncoming traffic.
Traditional vehicles have blind spots, and drivers don’t always check them before changing lanes. A motorcycle is much smaller than a car and harder to see in a blind spot. A driver who changes lanes without checking their blind spots can sideswipe a motorcycle traveling in the adjacent lane. It is important to stay out of the blind spots of the vehicles around you and look out for signs that a driver is about to switch lanes. These signs may include turn signals, wheels turning, or mirror checking. When you notice these signs, be ready to slow down, speed up, or switch lanes to avoid being hit.
Some motorcyclists engage in lane splitting, meaning they ride between adjacent lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicles. A motorcycle’s proximity to other cars in a narrow space between lanes can quickly lead to an accident. Drivers don’t expect a motorcycle to pass between lanes in slow or stopped traffic. As a result, lane splitting is extremely dangerous and is illegal in many states.
A motorcyclist may be thrown from their bike if they lose control or strike a fixed object, such as a pole or barrier. The force of this collision can throw a rider several feet away from the accident, putting them in more danger if they lie unconscious on the road. Wearing a helmet and protective clothing saves lives and helps prevent serious injuries such as a traumatic brain injury.
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