Hazards for Motorcyclists to Watch Out For
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of John Sloan with Sloan Firm.
Motorcyclists face many of the same hazards as standard vehicle drivers, in addition to unique ones of their own. A commonality between hazards that motorcyclists need to watch out for is the potential for injury; without the outer shell a vehicle provides for protection or safe measures such as seatbelts and airbags, when a motorcycle is involved in an accident, the rider’s injuries tend to be more severe. While all drivers need to be vigilant of their surroundings and focus on safety at all times, motorcyclists are advised to practice particular awareness of potential hazards on and around the roadway.
Common hazards that motorcyclists need to watch out for include:
- Drivers: One of the biggest hazards motorcyclists face is drivers. Standard vehicle and even truck drivers may have trouble seeing a motorcyclist sharing the road with them, or may not know how to safely navigate around one. Unaware drivers can create catastrophic situations for nearby motorcyclists.
- Gravel: Of all the surfaces a motorcycle can traverse, gravel is considered particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, especially when turning. The surface can shift under the wheels and create seriously dangerous situations.
- Rough roads: Roads that are riddled with potholes or uneven surfaces are more likely to jar a rider, potentially resulting in a crash.
- Edge breaks: When a biker has to cross surfaces that are side by side but situated at different heights, this can spell disaster for motorcycles. It is harder for motorcycles to safely navigate these ridges than for standard vehicles.
- Railroad crossings: Similar to the above hazards, it’s easy for a motorcycle’s wheels to get caught in the railway tracks or be unable to safely clear them. Tracks can also become slippery during inclement weather.
- Slippery surfaces: There are many elements of a surface that could make it slippery, from painted areas, fallen leaves, and even oil spills and crosswalk lines. A motorcycle’s wheels can slide or spin out when crossing these surfaces.
- Weather: Motorcyclists are particularly unprotected in the event of poor weather; not only can sleet and heavy rain pose as a distraction, but it’s also easy for a rider to lose control in snow, ice, standing water, or under heavy wind.
- Debris: Debris that might be easy for a car to drive over can spell disaster for motorcycles. If a rider comes upon a piece of debris and is unable to safely avoid it in time, they could strike it and lose control.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, consider the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention. It’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident. Even injuries that seem minor can become worse without treatment. In fact, some injuries may not be felt until days or weeks after the accident but can have serious consequences for the rider’s long-term health. Additionally, if you choose to seek compensation for the event further down the road, failing to seek medical care can have a negative impact on your case.
- Take pictures at the scene of the accident. It’s important to take detailed pictures of the motorcycle as well as any contributing hazard at the scene of the accident. If the crash was caused or contributed to by another driver, this means taking pictures of their vehicle and any damage it may have sustained. It’s also important to take pictures documenting any weather conditions or hazards on the road which caused or worsened the crash. If you are too injured to collect this evidence yourself, a loved one or motorcycle accident attorney can do so on your behalf.
- Collect witness testimonies. If anyone witnessed the accident, it’s a good idea to collect their contact information. Unfortunately, this information can be extremely difficult to track down after the fact. Additionally, if the witnesses agree, you may record their testimonies to later prove how the accident occurred.
- Talk to a motorcycle accident attorney. Whenever you are involved in an accident where one or more parties may be at fault, even partially, it’s important to talk to a motorcycle accident attorney in your area. These attorneys typically offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so injured riders and their families don’t have to worry about money. Unfortunately, motorcyclists seeking recovery in court often face a jury bias in addition to other challenges, so it is particularly important for motorcyclists to seek legal help after an accident.
To learn more about the hazards that motorcyclists need to watch out for, or for help investigating your case after an accident, reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney sooner rather than later.