Young drivers, or inexperienced drivers, can be quite a liability to the roadway. This isn’t their fault. After all, we all have to start somewhere when it comes to managing highways, fast lanes, and bustling streets. However, when you’re a motorcyclist— inexperienced drivers present an added hazard to the roadway. Maybe it’s a student driver, new driver, or someone from outside of the area. No matter the reason, riders might find themselves surrounded by drivers who aren’t aware of bikers, and the etiquette you should use around them.
Inexperienced Drivers: Motorcyclist Dangers
If you are new to the roadway, you might not be used to driving around alternative vehicles, such as tractor trailers and motorcycles. Seasoned drivers tend to be more comfortable, and therefore respond in the proper manner when it comes to different vehicles. They might better understand how to share the roadway. A proper following distance makes all the difference in terms of biker safety, especially when an unexpected stop comes along. Moments such as this, is where proper training comes in…
Maybe you grew up in a low-traffic, rural area. But now, you’re moving to the city and the traffic is quite jarring. Every single one of us sat in a Driver’s Ed class. But, for many of us, that was quite a long time ago. Therefore, it’s important that we educate ourselves. If something in particular is difficult for you to understand— research it. We, even as adults, never stop learning. Look up proper etiquette for driving near a motorcycle, tractor trailer, or a vehicle that you’re unfamiliar with, such as a bicycle.
Ultimately, we are responsible for our own safety. But, staying safe yourself often means helping others to stay safe on the roadway. Increase your following distance, watch for coming obstructions, merging cars, and the like. The road is changing every day, and no two commutes will ever be the same. But, as drivers of all experience levels, we want to avoid accident, keep ourselves safe, and prevent issues from occurring. We encourage you to keep learning, take the long route if it makes you more comfortable, and do your part in keeping the roadway safe.
A small fender bender typically doesn’t do massive amounts of damage to the drivers involved. Typically, at worst, they’ll face a bit of whiplash and residual headaches. However, when it comes to rear-ending motorcycles, the damage can be quite serious. Think about it: when you rear-end a car, it typically lurches a bit and stops. Then, you’ll have a cracked bumper, but typically, everyone— and even the vehicles, will be able to drive away. However, on a motorcycle? That hit can result in the rider ejecting from the bike and into your windshield, or even the roadway. These accidents are serious and, when they occur, they can cause quite a bit of damage.
Rear-Ending Motorcycles: A Dangerous Incident
There’s no denying that either party can be at-fault in this scenario. Bikers, just like drivers, must take responsibility for their own safety. However, bikers are already at a disadvantage when it comes to safety. One additional fact to consider, is that they don’t quite have as much ability to keep a strong following distance as passenger vehicles do. When driving in traffic, we can do a lot with out vehicles to keep our own space. From increasing your own following distance, to giving that quick ‘brake check’ to the driver who can’t seem to grasp the idea that you don’t control the pace of traffic. Motorcyclists can increase their own following distance, but if someone is riding them closely— they don’t have that same luxury of giving a warning tap to the brakes.
This can be quite dangerous for motorcyclists, as I’m sure you already guessed. There are plenty of ways in which this can result in an accident. For instance, they hit the brakes and the car driver does not slow down. Instead, the rear-end the motorcyclist. When you’re in a passenger vehicle, and you perform a brake check, you typically accept that the other driver might hit you. It’s part of that little game we play. An accident isn’t the ideal end result, but we are trying to prove a point… right? But when it comes to brake checking that leads to rear-ending motorcycles? The biker isn’t quite in the driver’s seat— no pun intended…
There is a quite a bit of bias that comes up towards motorcyclists
Being a motorcyclist comes with a few distinct challenges. Many of them are on the roadway, but another serious challenge— typically arises when they least expect it. Biker bias is very much an issue within the justice system, and amongst jurors. The problem with this, is not that bikers dislike the image others have of them. Rather, the problem is that that image leads to jury bias when they need it the very least.
In the unfortunate instance where a motorcyclist, or their family, ends up in court to reach a settlement for injuries or death— jury bias can be particularly harmful. Let’s face it: most people on that jury likely drove a passenger vehicle to get there. Therefore, they likely have a certain image in their mind when they think of bikers and the way in which they drive. These biases do not typically apply to the average biker. However, they can be harmful to them when they are in the court room.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a motorcycle accident— you deserve proper representation when going before an unintentionally stacked jury. So, do your research, find the right fit for you, and get the compensation you deserve. You should not have to pay for the damages caused by another driver. Especially at the hands of a misunderstanding jury. We wish you luck in handling your case, and offer our services if you might need them.
Rear-view cameras are a staple in newer vehicles, and they come in handy most of the time. However, this technology, just like all other technology, has it’s failings. One failing in particular, is the blind trust that many drivers have in it. Many rear-view cameras will beep if there is an obstruction in your path for backing up, so many people don’t think to actually look behind them. Therefore, when that object doesn’t register for your back-up camera, you are at risk of hitting someone or something. One object at particular risk, is a motorcycle.
Motorcycles and Rear-View Cameras: Putting Bikers at Risk
Bikers are already more difficult to spot
Therefore, we must take added precaution when backing up. A back-up camera serves the purpose of aiding your backing up, not dictating it completely. So, it’s important that while your rear-view cameras play their role, you also take some responsibility in it. Keep in mind that disclaimer that pops up on the screen when you use the camera; something to the effect of ‘not liable for damages or injury’. Therefore, if you cause injury, your car company is not taking responsibility.
One other issue to take into account is the accuracy of those safety features on your vehicle. They beep, or alert you in some way of obstructions. But how do they measure them? What will alert you and what will not? Motorcycles are particularly small, and therefore they may not register as quickly, or even at all.
Take for example, a driver, who is in a rush, driving a sedan with a rear-view camera. The driver of the sedan may exclusively depend on the camera to back up. Because the camera only displays the area behind the driver, the driver must look left and right. If the driver fails to look both ways, the potential for an accident is at large. If a driver relies solely on this camera; other drivers, pedestrians, or riders may be at risk.
Bikers are also already at higher risk of injury
Aside from the heightened risk of being hit, they’re also at an increased risk of injury. So, while hitting anyone can be problematic, a biker will likely incur more injuries than the average driver. So, settlements will be higher, injury will be greater, and you will have more to deal with in fixing this issue. All in all, you should take from this that a back-up camera should be an accessory to help rather than carry all the weight. Still look to your sides, and behind you. You never know what might be hiding outside of the cameras line of sight.
When it comes to motorcycles, passenger car drivers have plenty of complaints. From the sound, how they share the road, and the stigma of how they drive. There’s no doubt about it, your everyday driver likely has a little bit of an aversion to motorcyclists. But, there a few common complaints bikers have for you too…
Common Complaints Bikers Have for Passenger Vehicle Drivers
Driver’s Who Don’t Use Their Turn Signals
One of the most common biker complaints is when driver’s don’t use their turn signals. By using your signals, you give a rider behind your or turning in front of you a heads up. Without it, they must gauge whether you are slowing down or not. Or the only warning they get, is when your brake lights come on right before you stop. This is especially dangerous for bikers because stopping on a dime can be quite difficult— much more difficult than for a passenger vehicle.
Poor Road Conditions
Another cause for biker complaints comes from poor road conditions. As you know when driving in your car, hitting a huge pothole is not fun. For larger vehicles, they can cause some alignment issues and may just be uncomfortable. Now, imagine hitting one on a motorcycle. First, they can be even more uncomfortable and can cause cosmetic and actual damage to your bike. But much more, they are dangerous for bikers. Any type of holes and debris can do a number on motorcycles. Therefore, poor road conditions can pose a huge threat to bikers.
Wiper Fluid Hits Them In the Face
Have you ever been traveling down the road and you have a huge bug hits your windshield. Rather than riding down the road with his guts in plain view, you spray your windshield and have the wipers take care of it. But as you get your window clean, a biker receives a nice wash down from all the fluid that you just washed off. As you can imagine, having a mysterious fluid whip you in the face randomly, is not a fun feeling. Likewise, a leftover cigarette butt that’s flies from the driver’s window and into your face isn’t fun either. These can act as distractions, and make it difficult for the biker to focus in on the road.
Squeezing Them Out
Finally, possibly the most important of common complaints bikers have is that drivers squeeze them out. For the most part, bikers should be making calculated moves when driving through traffic. If they weave through traffic or a stopped intersection, it’s normally for a safer purpose. So when you see them making these moves, and you move over to block them out, it’s frustrating. Yes, bikes are smaller. Yes, they can fit in spaces your vehicle will not be able to fit in. So allow them to do so, and avoid blocking them out. You never know what they’re seeing that you’re not.
These complaints may not mean a lot to car drivers, but bikers are drivers too; they are members of the road as well. So, cooperate. No driver is perfect, and they will make mistakes. But, part of being a good driver means making adjustments and being observant of other members of the roadway. So, drive safe, drive smart, and watch out for motorcyclists.
Whether you fail to yield on a blinking yellow, someone else fails to adhere to a stoplight, or you drift into oncoming traffic during the turn; left turn collisions are a pretty common occurrence on the roadway. Left turns are a bit less protected than, say, a right turn. Because of this, typically they are a bit more serious. Now, you add a motorcycle into the mix and they quickly become deadly. At any rate, drivers and riders are at an increased risk when a car overestimates just how much time and space they have to turn left.
Left Turn Collisions: Serious or Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
Anyone who has driven on a busy roadway knows that it can be pretty difficult to execute a turn quickly in traffic. Whether you overestimate, don’t see a vehicle, or if they make an error… We may find ourselves in a hurry to get where we’re going. But, keep in mind that safety is of the upmost concern. Getting there safely is way more important than getting there quickly. Left turn collisions are typically some of the more serious accidents. So, taking a few more minutes to pick the right gap could save your life.
Left turns can be quick and easy, or extremely difficult
It seems that, more often than not, traffic goes one of two ways. Either you have a crystal clear roadway for turning. Or, traffic keeps coming at what seems like an unstoppable rate. Between traffic, and stoplights, sometimes you might start to feel like you’ll never turn. But, taking that chance and going for it a bit too quickly can be dangerous for every person on the roadway. Especially if a motorcycle happens to be the next vehicle in line.
Motorcyclists can only withstand so much impact before an accident becomes serious.
Ultimately, motorcyclists cannot control or predict the behavior of other drivers. While this remains the case for both drivers and riders, motorcycle accidents become serious a bit more quickly and frequently. So, watch where you’re going! Stay alert on the roadway, and don’t rush to make risky moves. Driving, even though we do it every day, is a dangerous thing. Sometimes we fail to remember that we are operating a potentially deadly weapon. Especially in reference to smaller vehicles on the roadway.
Whether a busy road or riding on an interstate, merging is not always an easy task. For motorcyclists, merging safely is a bit more difficult than it is for a passenger vehicle. The roadway is constantly changing, and for a motorcyclist, that split second of shifted focus can be potentially problematic. Bikers have to take extra caution in changing lanes because, well, many drivers have trouble seeing and accommodating for motorcycles. So, what can riders, and drivers, do to make sure the roadway is safe for everyone? Well, it starts with paying close attention to the drivers around you and keeping safe following distances. Accidents are always a possibility, however, many are preventable…
Merging Safely for Motorcyclists and how Drivers can Help
It starts with following distance
As riders and drivers, you each have a responsibility to maintain a proper following distance. Plenty of accidents can be prevented by allowing everyone space to make changes when need be. From unexpected stops, to crashes up ahead, to traffic, and roadway obstructions— being a safe driver starts with the knowledge that anything can happen.
No one wants to prepare for worst case scenario, but having that idea of ‘what if’ in the back of your mind is pretty important while driving. Riding closely to a tractor trailer? What if they brake suddenly? A motorcycle is coming from a right lane that is closing and you speed up? What if traffic locks up quickly as you speed to prove a point? You’re in a hurry so you weave through a pack of cars? What if a police officer is ahead? Or worse, what if you lose control and hit a guard rail? The possibilities for accident are always endless. So, consider them before you make a move that can be potentially reckless.
Be observant, courteous, and safe
Merging safely for motorcyclists takes a bit of effort from all sides. It is not anyone’s job to take care of others on the roadway but, sometimes, taking care of others equals taking care of yourself. If you see a motorcyclist signaling a lane change, give them space to do so. But, one of the most difficult parts for drivers, is the lowered visibility of motorcycles.
Many times in a motorcycle-related accident, the driver will say ‘they came out of nowhere’. While the statement isn’t entirely true, it isn’t entirely false. Motorcycles are small, sometimes shifty, and it can feel as if they just appeared out of the blue. So, check around you on a regular basis. Be proactive by checking your blind spots every now and then, look in your rear-view, listen to the sounds of the roadway. Doing so, might just save yours, or someone else’s life.
Accidents are always a possibility, and you knew getting onto that motorcycle that your defenses are down. So, while passenger vehicles should be more observant ant and mindful, it is up to you to drive responsibly. Merging quickly can be dangerous; speeding up to pass a vehicle can be dangerous; weaving in and out of traffic because you can is extremely dangerous. So, wear your proper gear, drive courteously, and find ways to make yourself known before making a move. We wish you luck, and a fun riding season!