Rules of the road for motorcycle riders are not significantly different from what are good practices for the driver of any vehicle. The big difference is in the reason why they are an important point of focus for motorcyclists. The vulnerability of not having a protective structure around you like when you’re driving a car means that you have to be more alert and attentive than drivers of other types of vehicles.
The rules are really reminders about significant and potential hazards and what you can do to prepare for and avoid them:
- Intersections – Over half of all motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. The most common cause is a failure to yield by an auto failing to see the oncoming motorcycle and turning across the bikes path. Any time you are approaching an intersection it calls for increased vigilance.
- Visibility – The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the most common cause of motorcycle collisions. Because of their smaller size, motorcycles can be difficult to see and motorists tend to underestimate their speed. Anything you can do to increase visibility can help keep you safer. Some riders have opted to wear reflective and day-glo orange clothing. Another popular option is the addition of an oscillating headlamp to increase visibility for oncoming traffic.
- Blind Spots – Riding next to another vehicle traveling the same direction creates an ongoing hazard potential. Again, the size of a motorcycle creates an increased potential for an accident from autos and trucks making routine or emergency lane changes when not aware of the motorcycles’ presence.
- Trucks – Avoid them. You can’t help but encounter them but their increased size, additional visibility challenges and weight / maneuverability issues make them a significant potential to hazard to motorcyclists. Use your maneuverability to help avoid riding next to or following a truck.
- Pickups, trucks and trailers – Avoid riding behind any vehicle that could potentially lose all or part of its load. Even small items blown or dropped into your path can be disastrous.
- Don’t trust a turn signal – Just because it’s flashing doesn’t mean the vehicle is really going to turn where you think. Make sure the vehicle is really turning before making your move into its path
Being mindful of these and many other “rules” can help keep you safe as you embark on your next ride. Unfortunately, even if you do everything you can accidents can still happen. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and you live in the Gadsden or Birmingham areas or anywhere in Alabama, please contact The Shelnutt Law Firm, P.C. online or call us at 256-547-4988 today.