Motorcyclists, alongside cyclists, are some of the most vulnerable of all road users. It is not uncommon for riders to receive serious injuries in what are relatively slow speed incidents; leaving the victim with no choice but to pursue and accident claim. Whilst the payout received goes someway to offset the injuries sustained, all motorcyclists would rather stay fit and healthy and avoid the need for an accident claim. Read on for advice on how to avoid some of the most common motorcycle related accidents.
Motorcycle Riding on country roads
Many of us learn to ride motorcycles in the city and aren’t initially aware of the best practice when on country roads. As a result the failure to properly negotiate both left-hand and right-hand curves on country roads leads to many accidents. The key to riding on country roads is to look for clues on how the road is going to change up ahead. Pay attention to how the tree line, fences or telegraph poles change further down the road. If you are uncertain to as to where the road is going to lead as you approach the bend then reduce your speed. Failure to do so can leave you with too little time to react to an unexpected deviation in the road.
Motorcycle Collisions while overtaking
Perhaps the most dangerous of all motorcycle incidents and the ones that lead to the highest accident claim payouts involve collisions when overtaking. In order to complete a safe overtaking maneuver the rider must have the skill to judge speed and distance and also known the capabilities of their bike. Anyone riding a motorcycle that they are unfamiliar with should take some time to learn how the motorcycle handles before considering overtaking. When riding a motorcycle that you are comfortable with there are still situations when you should never overtake;
- Approaching curves
- When approaching intersections
- Near a rest area
- Approaching a pedestrian crossing
- Approaching dips or hills on the road
When overtaking slow-moving or stationary traffic you must be just as vigilant as if overtaking at speed. There is always the chance that another driver will either move across in front of you or open their vehicle door. The close proximity of vehicles means less space to maneuver and reduces your visibility, giving you less time to react to any hazard.
Losing control of motorcycle
The most common reasons for riders to lose control of their motorcycles are due to a rear ending and road surface conditions. A rear ending usually occurs during braking due to the rider driving too close to the vehicle in front, or the vehicle behind being too close. Obviously leaving space between yourself and the vehicle in front provides you with more time to brake safely, thus reducing the likelihood of crashing into the back of them. However, it also serves to offer protection from a motorist that is driving too close behind you. This is because by giving yourself more space to brake in front you are able to slow down gently; which in turn allows the driver behind more time to react. Make sure you have more than enough time between you and the vehicle ahead of yourself on a motorcycle.
There are many conditions that can affect the road surface and increase the chances of an accident such as; poor weather, fuel spillage, mud, manhole covers and painted road markings. Whilst we can’t foresee every factor, there are often clues to look out for. If for example you are driving on a country road and see a farm up ahead, there is a good chance that there will be some mud on the road around the farm entrance. Or if you are on a road that is heavily used by semi-trucks there will be an increased chance of a fuel spillage. In addition you should always adjust your speed accordingly in adverse weather conditions when more time will be needed to brake and visibility is reduced.
Motorcycle Collisions at intersections
The most frequent causes for a motorcycle related accident claim are collisions at intersections.
In their haste to join the traffic many drivers they often fail to see motorcycles and pull out in front of them. There is also research which demonstrates that drivers find it difficult to judge the arrival time of an approaching motorcycle. As such it is always a good idea to roll off the throttle a little as you approach an intersection, even if visibility is great. While you may feel that you shouldn’t have to take such precautions to protect against the shortcomings of other drivers; it is ultimately you as a motorcycle rider that will be left needing to bring an accident claim. In some instances you might not be lucky enough to even have that option. So forget about how other motorists should be driving and swallow your pride; instead focus on keeping safe and giving yourself maximum time to react should they do something stupid.