It is not our job to compensate for other drivers on the road. However, it is our job to ensure our own safety and to do our part it being a good driver. Part of ensuring that safety, is keeping a maintained vehicle. When you have poorly maintained cars, parts malfunction and cause problems in the roadway. One set of motorists that are particularly affected, are motorcyclists. Adjusting to roadway conditions is difficult for everyone, but running over a rogue strip of tire has more implications for a motorcycle than it does a passenger vehicle. So, maintaining your vehicles ensures that you will not be at fault for an accident on part of someone else.
Poorly Maintained Cars: A Threat To Riders
Poorly maintained vehicles can sometimes just be an eye sore. But, that’s not the problem. The problem is that they create serious dangers on the road. For one example, a loose or dangling bumper is a danger. At any moment during a drive, an unsecured bumper could fall off in the middle of a road. If a driver has failed to properly maintain their car on the outside, this becomes a likely scenario. For any vehicle nearby, a bumper falling off can clearly cause a wreck. However, this can cause a wreck resulting in serious personal injuries for motorcyclists. Hitting a rogue bumper and bouncing back is a bit more difficult on two wheels than it is on four.
Well maintained cars not only look better, but are less of a liability.
At any rate, we must keep ourselves safe and spot poorly maintained vehicles. When riding, we must keep our distance from cars that show a lack of maintenance in case of issue. From insecure mufflers, to dents, and beat up hubcaps, any one of these things can become a serious problem. By spotting clues to lack of maintenance on cars, we can keep our distance, and be prepared for an issue to occur.
All in all, it is best to always maintain a safe driving distance from all vehicles. However, there is no telling what poorly maintained vehicles will throw into the equation. So, drive safe, be aware of changing road and car conditions, and do your part to keep your vehicle in working condition.
You can typically sense an oncoming work zone. Traffic slows, orange signs are everywhere, and the loud noise. Work zones are a part of driving, but they also can pose a threat to unsuspecting drivers. When it comes to motorcyclists? The threat can increase tenfold. Think about it, work zones typically feature chaotic traffic, impatient drivers, people dodging in and out of lanes, and frequent stops. Navigating this on four wheels is hard enough, but two?
Work Zones and Motorcycle Accidents
At any rate, work zones require us to drive at slower speeds and adjust to new traffic patterns. On one hand, if cars cooperate and drive safe, everything is fine. On the other hand, if cars drive unsafely, it can end in a serious accident. When construction is taking place on the road or on the shoulder, there are signs in place to alert drivers. For riders, there is a lot more to focus on and, overall, distracted drivers and riders cause an increase in accidents.
Take for example, a work site where vehicles on the road must merge into one lane. If a motorcycle is unable to merge because a car is driving aggressively, it could have serious consequences. Moreover, if a car tailgates a rider in a work zone, they could easily rear end a rider— and I don’t have to tell you that being rear-ended on a motorcycle is more serious. No doubt, everyone wants to arrive to their destination safely, but many times when traffic piles up— drivers lose focus and gain irritation. Overall, this leads to increased incidents.
Practicing Safe Driving in Traffic
No matter the case, we must slow down and be cooperative when lanes begin to cramp up. While we all want to get to our destination as soon as possible, sometimes, the objective should be getting there. Period. Every driver has a responsibility to be a safe and reliable member of the roadway. So, riders and drivers alike, practice safe following distances, don’t weave in and out of lanes, allow motorcyclists and passenger vehicles to merge when they are required to do so. It’s very easy to get frustrated in traffic, but keeping a clear head can be the difference between making it safely, or not making it at all. Stay safe out there!
No matter the vehicle you choose, there is always the possibility that you might become part of an accident. We can be alert, drive defensively, and ultimately, someone else might come along and mess it up for the rest of us. Many of these potential crashes will be small; an inconvenient fender bender. However, if you’re riding on a motorcycle— a fender bender can be cause for pretty serious injury. A motorcycle accident is almost always very serious, and there are plenty of reasons that they might occur. Whether it was no fault of their own, the result of a slow reaction time, or incorrect gear… You can’t prevent every accident. However, there are a few preventative measures you can take to make sure you’re as safe as possible.
Serious Injury in Motorcycle Accident: Common Causes
Lack of helmet
Depending on where you live, motorcycle helmet laws might not be fully intact. Therefore, maybe you think that you can skip it. While the law might allow for you to do so, the pavement is not so forgiving. Most riders, or their spouses, will insist on wearing some sort of protection; not doing so can have some pretty serious implications. If you are involved in an accident where you are thrown from the bike and land on your head— you will likely face some sort of injury, regardless of how protected you are. However, wearing no hemet at all has a very high chance of being fatal on this occasion.
The NCDOT has a statistic on new motorcycle drivers which essentially states that a driver within their first month is at the highest risk for crash and serious injury. Think about it: you haven’t had as much time to get familiar with the ways in which a motorcycle is different than a car. So, our advice to you is take it slow. You have a lifetime, now, to spend behind the handlebars of a bike. So, ease yourself into those long rides and heavy travel days.
Incorrect, or delayed, braking
Incorrect or untimely braking has been the cause of plenty of accidents. Not just for motorcycles, however, for motorcycles, the risk of injury is much higher than a small fender bender might be for a passenger vehicle. Take for example, a motorcycle is going over a hill and has low-visibility. They’re following a large passenger van closely, and as you both round the top of the hill— boom, there’s stopped traffic. You were following so closely that your bike is now crumpled and you’ve made strong contact with those back doors of the van.
Unforeseen road conditions
Road conditions can change at any time, especially if you live in a state that doesn’t focus so much on repairing those roadways. A rogue pot hole, rock, crack, or uneven pavement, can bring any one of us down at any time. However, those road conditions are pretty tough on motorcycles.
There is always risk…
…and you can’t let that stop you from enjoying your life. But, you can use it as motivation to be as safe as possible. Having your bike go down is unimaginable, and we don’t want this to ever happen. But in the event that it does, we don’t want you to go with it. So, drive safe, smart, and have fun!
Motorcycles, while we love them, do possess their own set of risks. A car accident is always a possibility. But, for the most part, a fender bender will only have repercussions as you try and go to work, or when insurance calls. But, with a motorcycle— it’s not always so simple. Most crashes are more severe, and fatality is more of a concern. Motorcycle injuries can have a great range in severity, depending on how good you are about wearing gear. But, there are a few injuries that are quite common in the biker community. And the good news is— they’re mostly preventable!
Motorcycle Injuries: Common Injuries and Prevention
Road rash is extremely common for motorcycle injuries. But, the problem can only arise if you’re wearing improper gear!!! I know that I can name a few instances when I saw someone on the roadway wearing less than their proper gear. Sure, it’s a beautiful day and you want to wear a t-shirt— so does everyone. But you just can’t do so when you’re riding a motorcycle. The chance of injury is already heightened because it’s a nice day and the roads are crowded (check out our piece on warm weather riders and drivers!). But add a t-shirt wearing biker into the mix, and you’re basically asking for trouble. There is plenty of gear made for warm weather riders, and keeping you cool. Check those out, but never ever hit the roadway without proper protection.
Head and Neck Injuries
Head and neck injuries are the second most common motorcycle injuries— second to leg and foot injuries. The tough part here is that while they’re the second most common, they are also the most severe. Head and neck injuries, especially in a motorcycle crash, have long-lasting effects and can lead to paralysis. You can prevent the severity of this type of injury, which makes up 22% of motorcycle-related injuries, by wearing a proper helmet. A helmet that offers proper protection to the head and neck have a much greater chance of keeping you safe. Not to mention: preventing fatal damage. I know that Spring air is begging to run through your hair, but when you’re on a motorcycle— it’s best to refrain.
Leg and Foot Injuries
While you would think that road rash is the most common of all motorcycle injuries— leg and foot make up 30% of the CDC’s statistic. Whether you get side swept, your bike tips over, or sliding into a guardrail while trying to avoid collision… No matter the accident, your legs and feet are typically right there to receive the brunt of it. Luckily, while they are the most common— they are the least likely to be fatal. Only 1% to 2% of leg and foot injuries become fatal. Wear high pants, sturdy boots, and drive safely. The potential for injury is always out there, but you can’t let it stop you from doing what you love.
An accident is traumatizing, especially if you were on a motorcycle. No matter who’s fault it is— you’re lucky to be alive after colliding with another vehicle. A motorcycle is smaller, more dangerous, and more difficult to balance. Unfortunately, many people forget motorcyclists are vulnerable, or have a desensitization to it, because of the image they portray. That of daredevils racing through traffic, when in all actuality, you’re just a weekend rider who finds it relaxing. This becomes a major issue in court, because it brings about jury bias. A rider who is not guilty, will often not be seen this way because of the stigma surrounding their hobby.
Jury Bias and Motorcyclists: Getting Past the Daredevil Stigma
First things first, what is jury bias?
If you’re not familiar, jury bias simply means that the jury has a bias towards one party, or thing, that keeps them from analyzing the situation fairly. For instance, say there is a mother who lost her son to a drunk driving accident— she is likely to vote the defendant, and supposed drunk driver, guilty every time.
So, why does this work against motorcyclists?
As we’ve said, many people— especially those unfamiliar with motorcycle riding or culture, have a stigma in their head. The leather wearing, reckless driving, daredevil who weaves through traffic and has zero regard for others. But, in all actuality, that is a stereotype just like any other stereotype. The reason that this is so prevalent an issue, is because motorcycle crashes are inevitably more severe. In short, if it’s going before a jury, ultimately, that person is in better shape than most motorcyclists who have crashed.
Not to mention, there is a huge gap between the number of us that drive a passenger car, and those of us who ride a motorcycle. So, many of us have no way to relate to those riders, or understand where they’re coming from in their argument. So, voila— most all of us would have jury bias to some degree.
We have to combat this by educating ourselves
If you find yourself on the jury for a motorcycle accident case, do your best to reflect on this that you’ve read. You must understand that these people are human, and a fender bender for them— is thrice that for them. They are not trying to drive dangerously or put you in danger— they are every day people just like us. Veterans, fathers, mothers, grandparents, cool uncles— bikers, are just like us. So, next time you’re left to decide their fate— consider what you don’t know, and keep an open mind.
If you’re planning on taking the bike out today for a long ride, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you do so. It’s important to make sure that you, and your bike, are in a good spot— both mentally and physically. So, we’re going to help you do just that. We’ve compiled a list of 5 questions to ask yourself before you head out. That way, you know that you’re in the safest and best position to have a great ride.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking A Long Ride
First off, have you checked the weather?
A freshly wet roadway is a huge hazard for any driver, but especially one on two wheels. Making sure you check the weather and now what to expect before hitting the open road, will ensure that you stay dry, and stay on the bike.
Are you in the proper gear?
Is your helmet secure and up to DOT standards? Gloves? Jacket? Saddle bag? Making sure that your body is prepared for the possibility of meeting pavement, just in case. Obviously that is never the goal, but it should always be a thought when you get ready. Considering wearing a t shirt? Think about how that might feel hitting the pavement at 65 MPH. It’s gruesome, but it’s a very real possibility.
Is your bike adjusted to where it needs to be?
It’s important that you feel your bike out every time that you take it out. Plant your feet firmly on each side and make sure you can easily reach the controls, make sure your feet are touching and even. Your mirrors are fixed. You’re in a good position.
Now, make sure those adjusted controls actually work
Check your warning lights, your headlights, signals, and tail lights. You never know what might go out on a bike with time— especially if you coexist with a few pesky mice. Making sure that these controls are doing their job can be the difference between a crash or a solid, long ride— especially if you’ll be out past dark.
Lastly, how are you feeling?
Distracted drivers are a huge risk to the roadway— especially on a bike. The statistics are harrowing when it comes to distracted drivers. So, don’t be one of them. If you’re having a bad day, a bad moment, or even just fresh out of a fight— maybe hold off. Riding a bike to blow off steam isn’t always your best or safest option.