As a Baltimore Injury Accident attorney, my office handles numerous motorcycle accident cases around Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area. Motorcycle injury accidents can be much more severe than automobile accidents given the same circumstances. This is due to the relatively little protection that bikes offer the operator, as opposed to occupants of cars or trucks.
Considering the increased chances of serious injury or even death, motorcycle riders should always use extreme caution when traveling in high traffic areas or when taking up riding following a long break, such as this past winter season. Because most riders tend to park their cycles during the cold winter months, automobile and truck drivers are likely less aware of bikers when the spring weather entices riders to dust off their bikes and hit the roads.
With this in mind, here are a few points to remember before you start out on your first ride of the year. Keep in mind that motorcycle accidents can occur almost anytime of the day or night. Whether you live or work in Baltimore, Gaithersburg, Hagerstown or the District, there are many different kinds of motorcycle accidents, though some types happen more often than others:
While the public may think otherwise, it’s not necessarily true that motorcycle accidents are caused mainly by aggressive driving on the part of the motorcycle rider. The truth is that the major cause of motorcycle accidents can be traced back to the fact that motorists and truck drivers simply do not see bikers and their machines. Many of these wrecks happen because the smaller profile that a motorcycle presents in traffic makes it difficult to spot.
Whether hidden behind another vehicle or out of sight in a driver’s blind spot, it’s a dangerous situation when car and truck operators cannot detect the presence of a biker. Poor weather or nighttime conditions can also cause problems for motorists who may not be expecting a motorcycle when turning or passing another vehicle. Many injury accidents can be prevented if drivers of four-wheelers and trucks took that extra effort to double-check their blind spots or scan the roadway fully before turning or merging.
Being rear-ended is much less serious while driving a car, SUV or pickup truck than when riding a bike. Car-to-car crashes are nothing like car-motorcycle accidents, which more often than not can result in fatal injuries. A sudden stop by a preceding passenger car can cause the bike to go end-over-end, throwing the rider tens of yards onto hard pavement or other roadway obstruction. This type of accident can be better avoided by cyclists observing safe following distances for the road and weather conditions, and by drivers of other vehicles being aware of a motorcycle’s presence ahead or behind them.
While bikes are extremely enjoyable to ride, giving their owners a feeling of freedom unlike any other kind of vehicle, the inherent instability of a two-wheeled vehicle makes motorcycles more susceptible to skids, slides, and high-siding. These types of accidents can be more common with new riders and usually occur when the weather turns bad.
New riders can also get in over their heads on curvy roads, when their lack of experience becomes a liability. Motorcyclists can also find themselves in a dangerous situation if road conditions suddenly deteriorate, when they suddenly encounter broken pavement in a corner or run into a patch of gravel during braking. Such conditions can lead to skidding, sliding and loss of vehicle control.
A threat particularly on busy urban streets, motorcyclists should always be wary when approaching vehicles parked on either side of the roadway. Although the occupants in parked vehicles usually will check for oncoming cars and trucks, they may not be expecting a passing bike (or bicycle) and may inadvertently swing their door wide into the path of that motorcycle.
Although accidents of this kind can not always be avoided, their frequency can be lessened by observing posted speeds in urban centers and by leaving at least several feet between your bike’s path and the street-side of any parked vehicles. Improved driver awareness of the dangers car doors can pose to motorcyclists and bicycle riders may also help to reduce these kinds of crashes.