Half of all motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle. In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents, the driver of a motor vehicle failed to see the motorcycle and violated the motorcycle’s right of way, causing the accident. Drivers who negligently injure, kill or otherwise harm motorcyclists because of a failure to yield may be liable to victims and their families for damages. As a result, it is important for drivers to be aware of safe driving practices that can help keep motorcyclists safe on the roadways.
Drivers can begin by being aware that motorcycles can disappear into a blind spot or be hidden by certain objects. It is important to keep in mind that motorcycles are smaller visual targets so drivers should remain alert for them and where they are in traffic, as they may change positions to improve their vision or because of the road conditions on which they are traveling. It may also be difficult to determine the distance and speed of a motorcycle because of their smaller size, so it is important to assume that motorcycles are closer than they appear, especially when entering an intersection.
Driving a motorcycle can be different than driving a motor vehicle; drivers must account for those differences. Motorcyclists may not brake when slowing down, so it is important to maintain a safe distance. In addition, motorcycles can face different or additional challenges concerning roadway conditions when compared to motor vehicles; vehicles following motorcycles should allow ample room between their vehicle and a motorcycle because motorcycles can stop much more quickly than cars. Motorcycles also do not have self-canceling turn signals, so it is not safe to assume a motorcycle is making a turn until it completes the turn.
There are many differences between motor vehicles and motorcycles and it can be helpful to be familiar with these differences to help avoid accidents. It is also important for motorcycle accident victims to understand the options available to them when they have been harmed by the negligence of another driver.
Source: New York State Department of Health, “Tips for Sharing the Road with Motorcyclists,” Accessed Feb. 29, 2016