Spring is here and motorcyclists are eager to return to the roads and highways to enjoy the warm weather. Despite how other motorists might feel towards motorcycle riders, bikers have the same privileges and rights as everyone else on the road. As motorcycles make their return to Tulsa roads, it is important for other motorists to remain aware of their presence and ensure that all motorists are safe while traveling.
How common are motorcycle accidents?
Despite the fact that motorcycle riders have a negative reputation, motorcycle accidents initiated by passenger vehicles account for nearly half of all fatal motorcycle accidents in the United States. According to the Department of Transportation, motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die from an accident compared to other motorists. From 2011 to 2020, half of motorcycle riders were killed in traffic accidents during the weekend, as opposed to the weekday.
How do others cause motorcycle accidents in Tulsa?
Most analyses of motorcycle safety usually focus on the perspective of the motorcyclist and how they should behave on the road. However, there are negligent actions that other motorists perform that can cause serious injuries to motorcycle riders. Some of these actions include:
- Making a turn into the path of a motorcycle rider. These accidents happen when a driver is attempting to make a left turn when a motorcyclist has the right of way. Motorists can cause these accidents when they fail to notice the presence of a motorcycle, for whatever reason, and attempt to make a turn.
- Changing lanes while a motorcycle rider is currently in the lane. Similar to a turning accident, other motorists can collide with a motorcyclist if they fail to check or signal before switching lanes. Because motorcycles are less visible than other vehicles, it is common for other motorists to miss them, especially when in their blind spots.
- Head-on accidents. These accidents are created when other motorists engage in dangerous behaviors like drunk driving or distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “In two-vehicle crashes, 76 percent of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes were struck in the front,” making head-on collisions among one of the more common types of accidents for motorcycle riders.
- Lane splitting. One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents between motorcycle riders and other motorists is lane splitting. Lane splitting happens when motorcycle riders drive between two lanes of stopped vehicles. Motorcycle riders often split lanes when traffic becomes congested. Even though drivers have stopped or are moving slowly, drivers are not expecting motorcycle riders to maneuver through the small space between other vehicles. As a result, drivers are not paying attention and can hit other motorcycle riders. It is important to note that lane splitting is illegal in every state except California.
Practicing safety towards motorcycle riders
With May being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, this is the perfect time for other motorists to review the different ways to practice safety towards motorcyclists. One of the most important ways is to remember that as the seasons become warmer, motorcycle riders will return to the roads. Here are some other ways that motorists can practice safety and avoid causing motorcycle accidents.
Drivers can engage in dangerous actions when they are distracted from the task of driving. Eliminating distractions like cell phones can help drivers remain aware of other motorists, especially motorcycle riders.
Encourage passengers to remain on the lookout for motorcycle riders
Drivers can also benefit from other occupants in their vehicle – attentive passengers can help by remaining on the lookout for motorcycle riders. Passengers are able to see other motorists and obstacles that drivers may not see due to their blind spots.
Give motorcycle riders extra space and time when traveling
It is easy for drivers to misjudge the distance and speed of a motorcycle. In fact, one of the most common motorcycle accidents with other motorists involves rear-end accidents. Giving motorcycle riders additional space and time on the roadways helps to prevent these types of accidents from happening. In the event that a motorcyclist suddenly brakes or switches lanes, drivers who have allowed for a greater distance between their vehicle and a motorcycle will not have to worry about reacting suddenly to the motorcycle rider’s actions should that occur.
Adjust mirrors accordingly
Because motorcycles are less visible than other vehicles, it is important for drivers to check their blind spots regularly. When checking blind spots, drivers want to make sure that their mirrors are adjusted in the right position. Even if drivers have to physically turn around to check their blind spots, it will be worth avoiding a motorcycle accident.
Practice caution when opening doors
Another common accident that can seriously injure motorcycle riders include being hit by car doors. Drivers who are exiting a vehicle without checking their surroundings can hit a motorcyclist and cause them to lose control of their bike. To avoid this type of accident, drivers should remain on the lookout for not only the presence of motorcycle riders but also the sound of a motorcycle. Before exiting, drivers should always check behind them.
Proceed slowly when traveling through intersections
Intersections are dangerous areas for motorcycles. If a motorist fails to yield right of way or does not notice an oncoming motorcycle, a serious accident can occur. Drivers can avoid these accidents by moving cautiously and slowly through intersections.
Use extra precaution when driving through work zones
Drivers should maintain safe driving practices when traveling through work zones in general, but even more so when riding alongside motorcycles. Motorcycles have a more difficult time navigating and avoiding road hazards compared to other motorists. If motorcycle riders have to abruptly change their riding patterns through work zones, drivers should be prepared to react accordingly.
At Biby Law Firm, we place a priority on getting to know our clients so we can better understand their pre and post-accident situations. We work tirelessly to hold everyone who caused the accident accountable. To speak with a lawyer with years of experience dealing with insurance companies and their defense lawyers, call us now at 918-574-8458, or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We handle motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis and proudly serve clients throughout Tulsa.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.