On average, there are nearly 40,000 accidents on US roads every year. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than other road users for several reasons and often get caught up in one of the 100 or more accidents that happen every day on our roads.
Motorcyclists often face serious visibility issues on the road, which can make them more vulnerable and increases their chances of being involved in an accident. Motorcycles and their riders are much smaller than cars or trucks, making them harder to see for other road users.
Vehicle blind spots pose an extreme risk, as a motorcycle can easily disappear from the view of a vehicle’s driver. This problem is worse during nighttime riding, where even with headlights, a motorcycle’s visibility on the road can be drastically reduced. Bad weather, such as fog or rain, also exacerbates these problems and makes these conditions more treacherous to motorcyclists.
Riders should always wear some high-visibility gear and use appropriate lighting to make themselves more visible, whatever the weather or time of the day, to reduce the chances of being involved in an accident.
Fewer Wheels, Less Traction
The unique nature of motorcycles, with two wheels and no protective enclosure, exposes riders to a number of hazardous conditions that can dramatically escalate their vulnerability. Rain, snow, fog, or even high winds can affect a rider’s ability to control their vehicle and maintain stability. In heavy rain, for example, the risk of hydroplaning increases and braking becomes problematic due to wet road surfaces. Braking distances also increase, requiring more awareness and quicker judgment calls.
Potholes, oil slicks, gravel, wet leaves, or railroad tracks can prove extremely dangerous for motorcycles, more so than for other vehicles. Unlike a car, a minor bump in the road can destabilize a motorcycle and cause the rider to lose control. Motorcyclists need a heightened awareness of both weather and road conditions so that they can adapt their driving style and speed accordingly to stay safe on the roads.
Physiological Factors Can Increase Risk
Motorcyclists are not only challenged by physical factors but also by psychological elements, such as driver bias and misjudgment, which amplifies their vulnerability on the road. Many drivers of cars and trucks often underestimate the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle due to its smaller size, leading to dangerous situations at intersections or while changing lanes.
Some drivers have an unconscious bias towards motorcyclists too, seeing them as reckless or risk-takers. This can lead to a lack of empathy and respect toward motorcyclists from other road users.
Just as motorcyclists need to be more aware of their vulnerabilities when driving, other road users need to be more aware of safe driving techniques when sharing a road with a motorcycle, and they need to take extra steps to ensure their own safety and the safety of motorcyclists.
If you have been involved in an accident while riding a motorcycle, visit our law offices at 15 Broad St #800 Boston, MA 02109.
Call now for a free consultation on (617) 263-0860.
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