Motorcycles and harsh, cold weather generally do not mix. Motorcycles are lighter and quicker than the average passenger car, so there is less traction between them and the ground. Having only two wheels instead of four or more also does not help. Because of these inherent traction issues, motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur in the winter and wherever the roads can be frosty or icy, which is why you will tend to see fewer motorcyclists in the winter than in the spring.
Now that spring is coming back and the days are warming up, though, you should expect to see more motorcycle riders on local roads than before. Do you know what to do to watch out for our biker friends and avoid causing a bad motorcycle accident?
How to Avoid Crashes When Motorcyclists are On the Road
The average motorcycle is much smaller than a passenger car, SUV, or commercial truck. The size difference is the core of many problematic driving behaviors that ultimately cause motorcycle accidents. Drivers are just not prepared to identify and acknowledge smaller motorcycles when checking in mirrors and blind spots. They also don’t know how to adjust their driving behaviors when a more maneuverable and lighter motorcycle is near.
If you want to help stop motorcycle accidents in your hometown, remember these tips this spring:
- Lane-splitting safety: Lane-splitting is unlawful in every state except California. But that does not mean that motorcyclists won’t use this riding maneuver to weave between traffic, especially when traffic is slow or stopped. Be mindful that there could be a motorcycle rolling up right next to your car as you are driving. Even though they should not lane-split where unlawful, it does not mean you owe them a lessened duty of care.
- Following distance: Keep a full car’s length between you and any motorcycles in front of you, just as you would when following another car. Many drivers make the mistake of tailgating motorcyclists because they think the smaller vehicle will be able to accelerate quickly once the light turns green or get out of the way if traffic stops. This is a dangerous assumption to make. Do your best to never tailgate.
- Double-check when changing lanes or turning: Many motorcycle accidents happen when a motorist changes lanes, merges, or turns without looking twice for a motorcycle that will be in their path. Remember to look for one or two headlights approaching you when you turn left across intersections, not just two. Some of the worst motorcycle accidents occur when a driver turns left in front of an approaching motorcycle because they did not “see” them. They see a single headlight and do not register what that means and start making the turn despite the imminent danger.
- Share the road: Overall, if you want to help stop motorcycle accidents now that it is spring and more riders are on the road, then the first thing you need to do is just adopt a “share the road” mindset. Every vehicle, regardless of size or wheel count, deserves to be safely operated on the road and highways of your state. Show every driver, trucker, and motorcyclist the respect you want to be shown. Together, we can help stop all motor vehicle accidents, not just motorcycle accidents.
Portner & Shure, P.A. offers legal counsel and representation to people throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. If you are in a motorcycle accident as either a motorist or a rider, then we can help you understand your rights and seek maximum compensation. Our attorneys don’t get paid unless we win a settlement or award for you. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.