It's that time of year, when the weather begins to welcome motorcycle riders back to the roads. And, I'm one of the legions who love riding, and everything it has to offer, from the feeling of freedom and escape from the daily grind, to the sense of solidarity among "bikers".
But, anyone who rides knows it presents certain unique dangers, not appreciated by other motorists. Obviously, the lack of a protective frame and four wheels alone makes it more dangerous, and even the smallest thing can turn an enjoyable ride into a nightmare, such as an animal, pothole, water, oil, or loose sand or gravel on the road. In, addition, unlike a car, a mechanical malfunction is much more likely to result in an accident.
However, other than incidents involving alcohol or drugs, nothing seems to cause more accidents involving motorcycles, than driver arrogance or inattentiveness, on the part of automobile and truck drivers. I realize motorcycles are smaller and less visible to see and yes, there are some riders - a small percentage - who seem to have a death wish, based upon the reckless way they ride. But other drivers need to be more observant and aware of the fact that, although a biker can take emergency measures to avoid a collision, many of those maneuvers will still result in the bike and biker hitting the road, and we all know that asphalt and concrete will beat flesh and bones every time. These are not lightweight bicycles we're riding, most bikes are well over 600lbs. So, even if you think you can beat a bike when you're turning, or pulling out into traffic, what may cause a car to slam on its brakes, may cause a bike to lose control and throw the rider, or send them into another lane to be hit by a different vehicle.
To me, the most dangerous times, are when people are making left turns, pulling into traffic in front or a bike, or when following a bike too closely. If you misjudge and turn left, or pull out in front of a bike, without sufficient time, that biker has very few options, other than hitting your vehicle, switching lanes and being hit by another vehicle, or laying the bike down and possibly being run over. Frankly, if you're a motorist, you should consider a motorcycle as a missile. If you're not sure you can be out of its way in sufficient time, don't pull in front of it, or cross its path. You could be killed as well. I've seen many instances, where a motorist pull out or across a bikes path, only to have the bike end up through their window, killing them.
The other dangerous thing motorists do is follow a motorcycle too closely ( by the way tailgating is a 5 point ticket in New Jersey). The speed of a motorcycle can more easily be affected by things than a car or truck: sand, gravel, bugs, rocks can cause the bike or biker to suddenly slow down. If you impact a biker in the rear, you'll probably run them over. Even, a small rear impact can cause a broken neck, simply by the whiplash effect - bikes don't have headrests!
So, please make the effort to observe when you're driving. And to my fellow bikers, Ride Safe.
Over the past 25 years, I've represented numerous motorcycle riders who sustained injuries or death from accidents, due to other motorists or equipment failure. I hope no one is ever injured, but if you, a friend or family member has been injured and would like a Free Consultation, call my office anytime at (856) 448-6200,
All the Best!
Randy C. Redden