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Celebrate Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: 10 Common Accident Types and Ways to Avoid Them, Part 1

Steve Wagner

10 Common Motorcycle Accidents and How To Avoid Them: Part 1

Many are revving up as May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month across the nation, and thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from here in Indiana are celebrating along with them. It’s the perfect time to remind all drivers to be on the alert and to share the road with motorcyclists. This month the motorcycle accident injury attorneys at Wagner Reese have put together a two part blog series to share the 10 most common motorcycle accidents and tips on how to avoid them. Here are the first five.

1) Another Driver Makes a Left Turn In Front Of You

The most common motorcycle accident occurs when a vehicle in front of you is turning left. The driver typically fails to see you or is unsure of your speed and makes the move. Most motorcyclists know that they are safer when clearly seen but they should also know that drivers (who are distracted, on their phones, have blind spots, or are just being inattentive) look for cars, not always motorcyclists.

You should always position yourself where you are most likely to be seen and can maintain a fair amount of distance from other motorist around you. Change position as traffic situations change and remember to slow down, cover your brakes and get ready to make safe, smart and quick choices if needed.

2) Gravel Wipe Out in a Blind Turn

This type of accident can be deadly and is the primary cause of single-vehicle crashes. It happens mostly when you are driving on a road with a lot of wide turns and curves and one of the corners you are rounding hits your front bike tire with gravel or other road debris. You soon find yourself – and your bike – laid down in the middle of the road – in the direct path on oncoming traffic.

To prevent this from happening to even the most experienced driver, you must remember that every road and every twist and turn is different. You should be riding within your skill level and always driving according to the posted speed limits so your reaction time and ability to take action keeps you safe. Most riders agree, “Slow In, Fast Out” is an effective rule of thumb.

3) Lane Changes – It’s not you. It’s them.

Blind spots against motorcyclists can pop up anywhere for other drivers, even when they are doing something as simple as changing lanes. This happens too often because motorcycles easily fit into other larger vehicles’ blind spots. And, as mentioned before, drivers aren’t always on the lookout for motorcycles.

Try to figure out where other driver’s blind spots are and avoid traveling in them. In addition, watch the traffic patterns and be cautious of situations where lane changes are more frequent or lanes are shifting in speed. Don’t be where fast drivers dodging bottleneck traffic might be. Watch for vehicles that are changing lanes too by paying attention to their turn signals, wheels, and a driver who is not motionless in the seat.

4) Driving Too Fast as You Approach a Corner

Speed isn’t going to mix with a motorcycle-meets-corner incident. A crash happens when the gap narrows and the fit is tighter than you expected and you are driving a too fast of a speed to handle your bike. In this situation, there is just no way around you turning the corner without crashing.

It is important to do everything possible to avoid driving too fast for certain pathways. The professionals agree that drivers should only ride as fast as they can see and use visual clues like road signs and landmarks to judge a road’s direction. And if you do find yourself approaching a corner too fast, trust your instincts and your motorcycle and try to ride it out. Hope you are wearing the right gear and a helmet as well.

5) You Have Been Rear-ended

When most vehicles are rear-ended, the driver and passenger can recover. If you are on a motorcycle and hit from behind, you may be killed or seriously injured. You could be thrown several feet and into oncoming traffic or onto the hard pavement. These accidents can be tragic and typically happen when the driver behind you doesn’t see you or is distracted and plows into the back of your bike at high speed.

To avoid being rear-ended, stop your bike to the side rather than the center of a lane and don’t forget to use your break light. Always at a stop, keep your bike in gear and your hand on the throttle to let others know that you are stopped.

In the case of someone following you too closely, speeding up to lose them will only end up with him or her tailgating you at a higher speed. It is better to change lanes and just let them pass to travel in front of you. Or better yet, go ahead and slow down and open up the highway space ahead of you. This may encourage them to pass. If they choose not to pass, at least you have more reaction space in between you and other motorists to move if an accident or emergency develops.

Stay Safe

Safe motorcycling takes training, practice, balance, coordination, good judgment and experience. Keeping the regular maintenance of your motorcycle is also necessary to avoid being in an accident. Most important though is to know your bike, know your abilities, and always wear the right gear. That gear includes a motorcycle helmet. It’s the best protection against a traumatic brain injury if a crash were to occur.

We will share more tips next week in Part 2: 10 Common Motorcycle Accidents and How To Avoid Them. Please follow along and use your own social media pages to share these messages to help other riders stay accident and injury free this motorcycle season.

Seek Help From An Experienced Indiana Motorcycle Lawyer

Wagner Reese has a team of experienced Indiana motorcycle accident injury attorneys here for you. We are the best choice to represent you in your claim for damages to your bike or yourself. We are in the business of bringing justice to those injured on Indiana roadways, and we want to assist you on your road to recovery by lightening the load of medical bills and other expenses incurred by this accident.

Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today at (888) 204-8440 for your FREE consultation.


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