If you are a motorcyclist, you know the exhilarating feeling that comes when riding your bike. However, with the fun also comes danger. It is vital to be responsible and highly aware of all of your surroundings when you are on your motorcycle.
In Colorado, riding motorcycles is a favorite pastime of many residents as well as visitors to the area due to our beautiful countryside. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in 2013, there were 86 deaths of passengers and drivers of motorcycles. Already in 2014, there have been 25 fatal crashes (…5 of these deaths have occurred in the city of Denver). 60 percent of the riders involved were 45+ years old and were mainly men. In two thirds of all the cases, the motorcyclist was at fault!
Some of the major reasons for the Colorado accidents were the cyclist running a red light or speeding and losing control going around a curve. The CDOT is aware that motorcycle safety is a huge issue and has recently launched a safety campaign called "Ride Wise" where they are hoping to raise awareness and encourage riders to get all proper training before getting on the road.
Below are the most common reasons for motorcycle accidents in the United States and some hints and suggestions of how to avoid them:
- A car turns left in front of you – Unfortunately this is very common. Many times the motorist does not see you, or judges your speed incorrectly. You must make sure that you are the one that sees them coming. Look for clues such as their wheels and what way they are turning. What is their speed and are they even looking at you? Slow down and make sure you can see what their next action step is about to be.
- A car hits you from behind – This happens often between cars and can usually be considered a minor "fender bender". However, a fender bender can kill a motorcyclist at even 20 miles an hour. Be aware of a car coming close to you at a fast speed. Flash your brakes often and also try to stay more to the side of the road rather than the center.
- You take a corner too fast – Most times the bike can handle it but it is the driver that has the problem. Try your best to trust the bike and go along with it instead of panicking. However, all of this can be avoided if you watch your speed from the beginning.
- You hit gravel – Do not slam on brakes or you will be on the pavement. If you are not going too fast, this won't be too big of a problem. The tires should be able to handle some gravel, it is mainly the driver that loses control by trying to brake too quickly or turn the wheel too sharp to get out of the gravel.
- A car changes lanes and hits you – Unfortunately, motorcycles can fit easily into a car's blind spot. Try your best to stay out of that blind spot at all times. Look for clues that the car is about to switch lanes by noticing turn signals and the driver's head turning.
- You are riding with very irresponsible people – Some of our friends sure can be fun but not the choice to ride with! They are too much of a hotdog, like to go entirely too fast and don't obey rules. These are not wise choices of who to spend your time with while riding. Solution: Pick new riding friends.
- A car opened its door into you – Did you know that cyclists call the riding area next to parked cars, "the death zone"? This is because so many are injured due to someone opening their door while they are riding by, causing major injury. Never ride between an active traffic lane and a parked car. If you do and the door opens, put your brake on immediately. At least this can help with how hard you may hit the door.
- The roads are completely slippery – Make certain you are driving on good condition tires with excellent tread. If you are, your tires should be able to handle the wet and slippery conditions. The beginning of a rain storm is when a lot of oil and other debris on the road are freshly stirred up. Try and pull over and take a break during the beginning of a rain storm. Otherwise, drive slow and with caution.
- You locked the front brake – This can be prevented by a lot of practice. When you can, make sure you find an empty parking lot and get used to using the front brake at different rates of speed. The front brake is the most powerful and difficult to master component on your motorcycle.
- ALCOHOL – This should be a given! Don't drink and drive. Where have you heard that before? Did you know that unfortunately up to 50% of motorcycle accidents involve some sort of alcohol? Solution: DON'T DO IT!
Babcock Law hopes that you will learn more about motorcycle safety and put it into practice. Motorcycle accident cases are tricky and need to be treated differently from a regular car collision.
If you were riding your bike and were injured by someone else's negligence, contact Colorado motorcycle attorney R. Mack Babcock for a free consultation, or continue browsing our blog and knowledge center resources to learn more.
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