As a motorcyclist, you face many more dangers on the road than car drivers – including car drivers themselves. Collisions with cars are particularly dangerous, as cars have greater size, weight, and momentum on their side.
As a responsible motorcyclist, you are no doubt aware of the hazard that cars pose, but you might not know the many different specific ways that they typically get into accidents with motorcycles.
Below we cover some common ways car drivers cause motorcycle accidents — and how to avoid them.
A Car Hits You Head-On
Motorcycle accidents involving passenger vehicles account for 56% of motorcycle accident deaths. In most of these accidents – 78%, to be exact, the car hits the motorcycle head-on. Unfortunately, head-on collisions with cars are often fatal to the motorcyclist.
To avoid these accidents, keep your eyes on the road, and look for signs of distracted driving such as texting, as well as for cars preparing to pass other cars on two-lane highways.
A Car Makes a Left-Hand Turn
The most dangerous situation for motorcyclists is when cars are making left-hand turns. This type of collision accounts for 42% of all motorcycle accidents involving a passenger car.
A turning car can strike you when you are:
- Going straight through an intersection with car turning left
- Attempting to pass a car that turns left
- Trying to overtake or “beat” the car
Collisions between cars also often involve a left-hand turn, but this situation is even more dangerous with a motorcycle, as a motorcycle’s small size makes it less visible to the turning car.
In most cases, a vehicle that hits another vehicle while making a left-hand turn will be at fault for the accident. However, if you are speeding or in the wrong lane at the time of the collision, you may be found partly at fault for the accident.
A Car Changes Lanes
It is common for cars to suddenly change lanes without seeing motorcyclists. Motorcycles fit easily into a car’s blind spot, and drivers looking for cars often don’t notice motorcycles until it’s too late.
To help avoid accidents of this kind, be on alert in situations where lane changes are more likely, such as in slow-moving traffic. You can also avoid riding in cars’ blind spots. To do this, look for the driver’s eyes in the mirror to make sure that you are within the car’s visibility.
You can also look for certain signs in order to anticipate lane changes before they happen:
- Wheels turning
- Car drifting or wandering in its lane
- Driver checks mirror or moves head
Visibility is a Critical Factor in Many Motorcycle Accidents
In many motorcycle accidents involving cars, the car driver simply does not see the motorcycle in time to avoid it.
A conspicuous bike that is easily seen – or heard – by cars is a good step towards being noticed by car drivers. You can also increase your visibility by wearing a bright jacket or helmet.
Exercise Caution when Lane Splitting
Many motorcycle accidents involve the motorcyclist lane splitting by riding between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving traffic in traffic jams. Car drivers often hit lane-splitting motorcycles in these situations because they aren’t looking for them. Use extreme caution when lane splitting.
Hit by a New York Driver While Riding Your Motorcycle? Fight Back
There is an unfortunate tendency to blame motorcyclists with accidents occur, but you should never have to pay for another’s mistake. If you are harmed due to the negligence of a car driver, fight for the compensation you deserve with the help of an experienced New York injury lawyer.