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5 Common Ways Motorcycle Accidents Happen

Riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating. The roar of the engine provides the soundtrack for flying down the open road – just you and your bike. But riding a motorcycle can also be dangerous. The thrill of riding a motorcycle can quickly become risky if you’re not careful or riding safely.

 

If you’re going to take a motorcycle on the road, you should complete a basic motorcycle rider course and know the Florida motorcycle laws, in addition to being equipped with the proper safety gear.

 

What kind of safety gear?

Helmet, gloves, protective eyewear, boots, leather clothes, and body armor. This kind of gear can both make riding a motorcycle more comfortable and help to protect you from injuries if you are involved in an accident.

 

But the best thing you can do is try to avoid accidents altogether.
To help you do that, here are 5 of the most common types of motorcycle accidents and how to prevent them.

 

  1. A car turns left in front of you.

    This is probably the most common motorcycle accident. Why does it happen? Lots of reasons. A car might not see you or can’t correctly judge your speed. They might also be distracted or driving recklessly. Additionally, cars waiting to turn at intersections are particularly dangerous, as are gaps in traffic at an intersection, parking lot, or driveway.

 

As a motorcyclist, you need to be prepared for these kind of mistakes. Drivers might display certain signs that can foreshadow their turning in front of you. One thing to look for is the direction of cars’ wheels. The direction of a car’s wheels is the first sign of what the car might do next.

 

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  1. You turned too fast into a corner.

    You’re going too fast into a corner and you realize you might not totally make it. What do you do? Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be going too fast. You should also be paying attention to visual cues from the road to know what’s coming up ahead.

 

If you’re in that situation though, try to ride it out. Don’t slam on the brakes or do anything that may cause a loss of traction. Lean into the corner and be in control of the bike.

 


 

  1. A car suddenly changes lanes into you.

    Motorcycles can easily fit into a car’s blind spot, so unfortunately it’s easy for a car to drift into your space.

 

As a motorcyclist, you should know this and be aware of where blind spots are and avoid riding into those spots. A good note: if you can see a driver’s eyes in their mirror, they can see you too. You should also be watching the road to see if cars will need to be changing lanes quickly.

 

Also watch for signs a car might be changing lanes:

    • Turn signals
    • Turning wheels
    • A driver is checking their mirrors
    • A driver’s head is moving

 

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  1. A car hits you from behind.

    With cars, fender benders are the most common accident. But a fender bender with a motorcycle could kill a motorcyclist.

Avoid this accident by using other cars as barriers. When you stop, politely pull in front of another stopped car to cushion yourself from any cars coming up behind you. Or pull in between a line of cars.

If there aren’t any stopped cars, stop to the side of your lane instead right in the center. Flash your brake lights and be aware of what’s happening behind you in case you need to quickly get out of the way.

 


 

 

  1. A car opened its door.

    If there are parked cars on the side of the road, never ride between them and an active lane of traffic. Even if there’s a ton of extra room. Car doors can open. Pedestrians can step into the road. Cars can pull out. And so on. Motorcyclists and bicyclists call the area next to parked cars The Death Zone for this very reason.

 

If, however, you end up in this situation, brake as hard as possible to avoid a collision. If a collision is going to happen anyway, you can at least decrease your speed.

Hopefully, when you’re on your motorcycle, you ride safely and exercise caution while on the road. If for some reason you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, seek medical attention immediately. Then contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can look at the facts of your case and determine if you’re entitled to any damages.

 

 

 

 

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Many Florida Motorcycle Accidents are Caused by Cars – Here’s How

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Although we often first think of losing control in the rain or taking a surprise backroads curve too sharply, but many Florida motorcycle accidents are actually caused by passenger cars.

In a previous post, we shared that, at the time, four of the five most common motorcycle accidents involved a passenger vehicle, and a quick online search today will show that the consensus is that “vehicles turning left in front of you” is still the number one cause of motorcycle crashes.

Despite best efforts to educate, according to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the number of motorcycle accidents continues to creep up each year.

If you or a motorcyclist you know has recently been involved in a crash, keep an eye out for developing injuries – you have four years from the date of the accident to file a claim with the help of a personal injury attorney. In the meantime, let’s take a look a few other common ways cars can cause you to wreck on your bike.

When You Can’t Tell Them to Stay in Their Lane

Those drivers who don’t use turn signals, are daydreaming (or worse, device-using) drifters, or split-second road-ragers – they are all completely oblivious to your bike, and they’re all changing lanes without warning.

Unfortunately, most drivers simply aren’t programmed to seek out motorcyclists, and the vast majority don’t have experience riding one themselves. Governmental and other safety organizations continue to work on that from an education perspective, but when you’re the one taking the biggest risk on the roadways, you’ve got to take the extra measures to keep yourself self out there.

Rule of Thumb: If you can’t see them, they can’t see you. Check their mirrors. If and when you’re out of their sights, maneuver the bike until you’re confident they know you’re there.

Rear-Ends – Yours and Theirs

Just like with any fender-bender, when the vehicle driver behind (or in front) of you isn’t paying attention to the road, the chances of an accident increase.

If a distracted driver looks down at their phone, say, and a light begins to turn before they return their attention to the road, they may need to slam on the brakes. Unfortunately for motorcycle riders, this can mean flipping over the top of your bike. Or perhaps the opposite situation happens. You’re stopped in front of a passenger vehicle at a light and it changes. If they react faster than you and weren’t really paying attention (maybe that just noticed the light change out of the corner of their eye), you may end up sprawled across their hood.

Remember, you don’t have the same amount of “fender” to bend, so you’re more likely than they are to sustain a serious injury.

Rule of Thumb: Create your own crumple zone. Pull over to the outer limit of your lane, preferably toward the shoulder.

 

When One Door Opens

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You know the comedy scene in the movie – the motorcycle rider drives down the road a little too close to a row of parked cars and – bam! – Joe Schmoe in the land yacht swings his door wide open without looking, pulling the equivalent of a vehicular clothesline.

Only when it happens to you, you’re not a stuntman, and that bike isn’t a prop. Did you know there’s actually a name for the door’s-width space between parked cars and the lane of traffic? It’s called “The Death Zone.”

Rule of Thumb: Avoid driving in this area if and when possible. When it is absolutely unavoidable, go extra slow. Riding at low speed and being vigilant in watching for signs of activity inside the parked cars can save you from serious injury.

Between the Lines

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Speaking of riding between cars, The American Motorcyclist Association reports that Utah recently legalized filtering motorcyclists between lanes of stopped traffic. As this type of legislation continues to expand across the nation, it’s important to keep in mind: just because you can doesn’t mean you should ride between lanes. If and when you do, all we can say is to be extremely careful.

Again, it comes down to the fact that car drivers don’t always know you’re there. When they aren’t aware, there’s no reason for them to leave much space between their vehicle and the one in the next lane over, leaving all the risk on you. Riders end up easily being knocked into oncoming traffic by drivers merging too quickly or without signaling. Even slight swerves can cause you to react poorly.

Rule of Thumb: Unless you are absolutely unable to avoid it, don’t ride the lines, stay between them.

 

Of course, sometimes you can be as careful as humanly possible and a negligent driver will still cause you to get hurt in a crash. If this happens to you, remember that you should never have to pay for their mistake. Florida has personal injury laws to protect people in exactly these situations – use them.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Poorly Designed Roadways in Florida Common Cause of Auto Accidents

Poorly Designed Roadways in Florida Common Cause of Auto Accidents

Poorly Designed Roadways in Florida Common Cause of Auto Accidents

From drunk drivers to speeding to neglecting to use seat belts, there are plenty of hazards that can cause car accident injuries and fatalities.

 

[clickToTweet tweet=”Studies found that poorly designed highways and road conditions contribute to more deaths than any other factor” quote=”But studies found that poorly designed highways and dangerous road conditions may contribute to more deaths than any of these factors, accounting for more than half of fatal crashes in the US.”]

 

Every year, poor road design and dangerous conditions causes thousands of fatal auto accidents in Florida and across the country. Examples of poor design and dangerous conditions include:

 

Ineffective exit ramps. When on- and off-ramps are improperly placed or too short, they do not allow for safe merging. When drivers cannot merge safely, collisions and other severe accidents may occur.

 

Improper shoulder design. The shoulder of a road should have adequate space to allow drivers to exit their car safely without being struck by passing vehicles. In addition, the slope of a road shoulder should be as level as possible to reduce the chance of rollover.

 

Street edge drop-offs. Street drop-offs, such as ravines or cliffs, should have safety guards and other measures to prevent drivers from accidently swerving over the edge.

 

Improperly situated median barriers.  When median barriers are not situated appropriately, this can lead to fatal head-on collisions with other motor vehicles.

 

Dangerous intersections. Conditions such as narrow roads, sharp roads, and confusing traffic signals can make it even more difficult for drivers to navigate through already-tricky intersections.

 

Road hazards. Government agencies that are responsible for the road have a duty to keep road services clear of dangerous obstacles, such as trees and other vegetation. Road surfaces should also be kept clear of dangers, such as pot-holes, which can damage vehicles.

 

Inadequate signage. When warning and instructional signs are absent, defective, improper, or allowed to deteriorate or be removed, this can cause confusion among drivers, leading to fatal accident. The same is true for traffic signals—if they are poorly placed or allowed to malfunction, this can create disorder and cause accidents on the roads.

 

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Inadequate pedestrian safety measures. Roadways without appropriate crosswalks, pedestrian islands, and other pedestrian accommodations can cause serious pedestrian accidents. These types of accidents are often fatal, since cars are much larger and moving faster than pedestrians.

 

Inadequate lighting. When there is insufficient lighting on roadways at night, this can severely hinder visibility for drivers, making them more likely to hit an obstacle, pedestrian, cyclist, or other driver.

 

Dangerous road surfaces. Road surfaces become dangerous when pavement does not have adequate skid resistance, or when improper drainage causes ponding or hydroplaning.

 

Poor construction. When road builders fail to follow approved plans, use shoddy materials, or make careless errors when building roadways, roads and highways can deteriorate, collapse, and otherwise fail to provide safe driving conditions.

 

Failure to adapt. The agencies responsible for maintaining roads have a responsible to maintain and adapt roads when it becomes necessary to ensure driver safety. This includes addressing road cave-ins and sinking, changing use patterns by vehicles and pedestrians, and noting and resolving causes of reoccurring accidents.

 

Unsafe parking policies. Parking policies that limit visibility of a dangerous intersection can result in accidents for pedestrians, bikers, and motor vehicle drivers alike.

 

Inadequate bike safety measures. Similarly, bike accidents are also often fatal, and are often caused by an absence of bike lanes or lanes with unsafe design.

 

If You or a Loved One Was Injured in a Poor Road Design Accident

Poor road design and dangerous conditions can cause many kinds of serious accidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bike accidents. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident that you suspect may have been caused by poor road design, it’s critical to contact an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible.

 

It can be difficult to determine and prove whether poor road design caused your accident, often requiring a thorough investigation and evaluation by accident reconstruction specialists and engineers. An attorney can help you gather evidence, locate witnesses, and consult with the necessary experts.

 

A lawyer can also help you identify the party responsible for your accident. This is often a challenging task, since multiple parties may be involved. Through research and investigation, your attorney can help you determine whether the dangerous roadway as the responsibility of a private contracting firm, the local government, or the federal government.

 

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Regardless of who or what caused your accident, the consequences of an auto accident can be devastating for you and your family. By filing a claim against the responsible party, you can secure much needed compensation for medical bills, repairs, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering. You will also bring attention to a dangerous roadway, which can prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.