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Preparing for the most common causes of motorcycle accidents

When you first learned to ride a motorcycle, you may have been nervous and even a little frightened. After all, unlike riding in a larger vehicle, a slight mistake on a bike can mean disaster. An imperfection in the road may be no more than a bump in a car, but on a motorcycle, it can result in catastrophic injuries.

As you grew in confidence, you came to understand that not every situation is under your control when you are on your bike. While there are certain factors you can manage, in many circumstances, you simply must be alert for other drivers and ready to react when they make mistakes.

The role you play

Your own behavior can affect the safety of your ride more than any other factor. In fact, half of all motorcycle accidents involve an operator who has been drinking. Your balance and coordination are essential to a safe ride, and any amount of alcohol may affect those qualities. If your riding buddies are unwilling to follow this and other basic safety rules, you may need to seek someone else to ride with.

Additionally, controlling your speed is critical. It is easy to get caught up in the rush of the wind on your face and the freedom of being on your bike. However, taking a turn too fast, losing traction in wet weather or being unable to stop to avoid an accident can all lead to tragic crashes.

The role others play

For your safety, California law requires you and your passenger to wear a helmet. You may improve your chances of surviving a crash with other protective gear that covers your skin and bright colors that make you more visible to other drivers. However, even these may not protect you if another driver fails to respect your rights to share the road. Your most defensive driving maneuvers may be inadequate against drivers who do any of the following:

  • Turn left in front of you
  • Change lanes without looking to see if you are in the blind spot
  • Hit you from behind when you stop in traffic
  • Open a car door into your lane

You may find your ability to predict the moves of negligent drivers improves with practice, but a careless driver may still catch you off guard, leaving you with life-changing injuries. When this happens, you have every right to seek advice about the most appropriate way to pursue compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering.

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