Motorcycling here in Maryland, whether one is a full-time rider or fair-weather cruiser, can be a rewarding albeit risky pastime. Although most of the road-going public prefers to travel by passenger car, city bus or taxi cab, bikers are a breed unto themselves. Unfortunately, the very thing that makes riding a cycle unique and exciting also means that potential danger lurks around every bend. The fact of the matter is that all motorcyclists must be vigilant and ready for almost any eventuality.
As Baltimore motorcycle accident attorneys and Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my staff know how quickly a fun ride can turn into tragedy. As counsel for road accident victims, as well as their families, we understand the pain and suffering that one person can be exposed to as a result of another person’s negligent actions. Sadly, the very nature of motorcycling means that injuries are commonplace and fatal crashes hardly unusual.
If one is lucky enough to survive a traffic collision between, for instance, a commercial vehicle such as an 18-wheeler or delivery box truck, some kind of bodily injury is the norm. Aside from the usual road rash, broken bones and compound fractures can occur, as do lacerations and internal injuries. Helmets can make a big difference in survivability of a crash, but even so a biker can sustain life-threatening injuries (such as closed-head trauma and spinal cord damage) very easily and without much
As motorcycle injury lawyers, we are familiar with the many and various ways in which a biker can be hurt in a traffic wreck. Whether a crash involves just the bike, or another vehicle, the effect on the rider can be many times more severe than that experienced by a passenger car or commercial truck driver. This is due in large part to the relative lack of protection afforded by the cycle versus other, larger motor vehicles.
Because of the higher risk of injury or death, motorcyclists typically exercise extreme caution when sharing the road with other vehicles, especially in high-speed traffic or when riding through densely-populated urban centers.
With the aforementioned in mind, we would like to provide a few safety tips for the conscientious rider. The most obvious warning is that bike accidents can happen nearly anytime of the night or day. Whether you ride to live or live to ride, there are many different kinds of motorcycle accidents, some of which happen more often than others.
Bikes lend their owners a unique feeling of freedom, something that most car and truck drivers will likely never experience in a closed vehicle. And although motorcycles are fast, highly maneuverable and a joy to ride, the inherent instability of having just two wheels one the road can make them more susceptible to skidding and sliding on poor or uneven road surfaces, which can result in a serious accident caused by laying the bike down or high-siding and throwing the rider off.
This kind of single-vehicle accident is more common with new riders, but any motorcyclist can be caught up in a bad situation when the weather or road conditions turn nasty. For new riders, these individuals can get in over their head on fast, sinuous roads, when a change of road or weather conditions can conspire with a lack of experience to cause a crash. Even seasoned bikers can find themselves in a dangerous situation once the road surface gets slick and the weather starts to deteriorate rapidly. Suddenly hitting broken or rough pavement in a corner, or running into an unseen patch of gravel can lead to an uncontrolled skid or slide and complete loss of vehicle control.
Back in town there are multiple threats, not the least of which is every parked car that a rider passes. This is particularly true in busy urban centers with on-street parking. Motorcyclists should always be on the alert when approaching parked cars and trucks. While the occupants of these vehicles will usually be looking for approaching cars and trucks, they will be less attuned to a motorcycle (or even a bicycle).
A driver or occupant of a parked vehicle may inadvertently open their door right into the path of an oncoming biker or bicyclist. While collisions of this type are difficult to avoid when they happen, the opportunity for a bad crash can be reduced by keeping to the posted speed limit and by allowing several feet of clearance between the bike’s path and the street-side of any parked cars or trucks. Aside from this, increased driver awareness of the dangers that opening doors can pose to bikers and cyclists may also help to cut down on the chances for these kinds of crashes.
Car drivers may believe otherwise, but it’s not always aggressive riding that causes motorcycle accidents. Actually, because of the risks involved in motorcycling, the average bikers is probably more careful than the average four-wheel motorist. Unfortunately, the major cause of motorcycle accidents can usually be found in the fact that motorist or trucker simply did not notice the motorcyclist until it was too late to avoid a crash.
Many car- and truck-bike wrecks occur because the thinner profile a motorcycle presents makes it difficult to spot, especially for a motorist who is not expecting a bike. Sometimes a biker can be hidden behind a much larger vehicle at an intersection, just out of the driver view. Riding in bad weather or during the late evening can also result in a motorist not seeing a motorcycle, especially when the car or truck is turning or passing another vehicle.
Running into the rear of another vehicle is much more serious on a bike than in a car, minivan or SUV. Car-to-car collisions are nothing when compared to car-to-motorcycle accidents, which can often result in fatalities. A sudden stop by a vehicle ahead can cause the bike and rider to flip end-over-end, throwing the rider onto the roadway and potentially into oncoming traffic. Accidents of this type can be avoided by observing safe following distances for both weather as well as road conditions.