Understanding motorcyclist behavior may prevent a serious accident

Motorcyclists can ride throughout the streets of California year round due to the state's sunny weather and warm temperatures. Although motorists may be used to sharing the road with these smaller vehicles, California has a high rate of motorcycle injuries and fatalities. Motorcyclists have the same rights as every other vehicle on the road. Yet many are not given the attention they deserve. Drivers should understand that motorcycles handle differently than other vehicles and should drive cautiously around them.

In many motorcycle collisions, the motorist is responsible for causing the accident. Researchers in Florida evaluated motorcycle accidents that occurred over a period of time and found that motorists were responsible for initiating the collision more than 60 percent of the time.

Motorcyclist behaviors to watch for

People who have never ridden on a motorcycle may not understand how these vehicles operate. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation listed the following common things to watch for when sharing the road with motorcycles.

  • Motorcyclists may drive back and forth within their lane in order to gain a better vision of traffic ahead.
  • Motorcyclists may swerve quickly in order to avoid gravel, puddles or other road obstructions.
  • A motorcycle's brake lights may not always come on when the motorcyclist is braking.
  • The turn signal on a motorcycle does not cancel after the cyclist completes a turn.

Most commonly, drivers who are making a left turn fail to yield to motorcyclists. Motorcycles are significantly smaller in size, which can make it difficult for drivers to estimate how far away they are and how fast they are traveling. Motorcycles can also go undetected in busy traffic and bad weather conditions because of their small size.

Motorcycles can be deadly

Motorcyclists are much more likely to sustain serious injuries when involved in a collision than people in motor vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While 80 percent of motorcyclists are injured in accidents, only 20 percent of motor vehicle drivers and passengers leave the scene of the accident injured. Cars are equipped with safety devices, such as seatbelts, air bags and automatic brakes and provide drivers with a protective barrier against the road. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, lack these features, exposing riders to a myriad of disasters if an accident should occur.

Getting legal help from an attorney

A personal injury attorney in California who has many years of experience handling motorcycle accident cases can be a great asset during what may be a very emotional time. When you are forced to deal with the legal system, an attorney may be able to simplify the process for you by helping you through each step. This may be very important in ensuring that the negligent party is held responsible for his or her actions and that you receive full and fair compensation as appropriate for your injuries.