5 Tips for Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents & Injuries in California

If you are a motorcycle rider, the statistics are harrowing. As a motorcyclist, you are 35 times more likely to die in an accident versus a car driver or passenger. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands of motorcycle deaths occur each year. Even when a motorcycle rider does not die from an accident, their injuries can be severe and permanent. In light of this reality, consider these 5 tips for avoiding the common types of motorcycle accidents.

1. Car Changes Lanes. Drivers of vehicles sometimes neglect to check their blind spots or signal their lane change to other drivers or motorcycle riders.

How to Avoid: Always ride your motorcycle defensively. Drivers are simply not thinking of motorcycle riders many times, and they are trained to look for cars instead of motorcycle riders. Always look to see where a driver’s blind spots are on the vehicle and try to avoid those areas as much as possible. Even if you think a driver is looking in your direction, they may not process that you are there.

2. Car doors: Drivers fling open their car doors without thinking that there may be a motorcycle rider coming in the gap between parked cars and their door.

How to Avoid: Never attempt to ride your motorcycle between an active lane of traffic with cars moving (even slowly) and a lane of parked cars. This created lane by motorcyclists is illegal and also known as “The Death Zone.” It is called that for good reason, as many motorcyclists die in this narrow lane. If you do happen to find yourself in this area, and a car door opens, brake as quickly as possible to attempt to avoid or at least mitigate the damages of your crash.

3. Left Turn Accidents. One of the most common causes of a motorcycle accident involves the car in front of a motorcycle making a left turn. The failure to check blind spots and actually examine their surroundings causes vehicles to crash into motorcycles and cause a substantial number of motorcycle accidents each year. These accidents are considered “right of way” accidents and are common between motorcycles and other vehicles.

How to Avoid: Always assume that a driver cannot see you. Slow down and look to see if a driver notices you. Always be prepared to move out of the driver’s way and examine the driver’s behavior. Are they actually looking?  Are they hurrying or speeding through the intersection? Are they acting or driving in a distracted manner?  Are they on their cell phone? One great tip is to always look at the wheels of a car because that will indicate where they intend to go. Make sure to have an escape plan in case the car begins to turn left into your motorcycle.

4. Speeding: 50% of all accidents involving motorcycles are due to speeding. This shocking statistic is one that is completely avoidable and preventable.

How to Avoid: Motorcycle riders simply are not afforded the same amount of protection as those in vehicles. Therefore, as a safeguard, riders should do everything in their power to attempt to avoid any type of accident. Knowing that speeding accounts for half of all accidents, motorcycle riders then have a duty to act responsibly and drive at a safe speed. This responsibility may not only save a motorcyclist’s life but the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. When a motorcyclist is not paying attention, riding distracted, and speeding, the chances of a catastrophic injury or death increase exponentially.

5. Driving Under the Influence: Half of all motorcycle accidents are due to speeding. Almost the entire other half is due to another avoidable occurrence—driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The famous 1981 Hurt Report was the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted on motorcycle accidents. The findings determined that almost 50% of all motorcycle accidents involve the influence of drugs or alcohol. With an almost certain guarantee for injury or death, riders who are intoxicated can also face civil and criminal charges.

How to Avoid: Never ride a motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Save your life, and the lives of others, and never make the decision to ride while intoxicated.

Safety First in Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents in California

Above all, the most effective way to avoid a motorcycle accident is to behave and ride as safely as possible. Consider—at the very minimum—taking a basic motorcycle rider education course through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or any other locally offered safety course, before you hit the road.

In addition to taking a professional rider course, ensure that you have all of the appropriate safety gear needed to ride a motorcycle and protect yourself. Accidents may happen even to the most skilled motorcyclists, and therefore, it is important to mitigate your risk of serious injuries as much as you can. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing, gloves, and—most importantly—a helmet. While a helmet is not required in all states, wearing a helmet has been proven to save lives.

Before taking your motorcycle out on the roadways, give yourself every single opportunity to prevent a motorcycle accident, or to keep yourself as safe as possible if you are ever involved in a motorcycle accident.

Contact an Experienced California Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Always practice safe and responsible riding when you are on a motorcycle. Consider taking safety classes to learn to ride better, and always wear protective gear. Even in the most careful and cautious of circumstances, accidents can happen. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Silverthorne Attorneys today. Our knowledgeable and skilled personal injury lawyers help countless accident victims recover the compensation for their injuries. For a complimentary consultation of your case, contact our motorcycle accident lawyer in Orange County at (949) 234-6034 or online today.