Riding a motorcycle offers a lot of fun and plenty of advantages. It offers a cheaper, more eco-friendly mode of transportation that many riders love to take advantage of.
Unfortunately, that does not come without certain risks. Motorcycle riders have a much higher rate of accidents per miles traveled than the drivers of larger passenger vehicles. Knowing common types of motorcycle accidents in Louisiana, however, can help you avoid those potential snarls and keep yourself safe on the road.
1. Lane Splitting
Some motorcycle riders choose to split lanes: since they take up less space on the road than a standard passenger vehicle, they may slip in between two lanes of traffic, allowing them to move more quickly than a standard-sized passenger vehicle. To motorcycle riders, this may seem the ideal way to avoid traffic jams and get to their destination faster.
While lane splitting is legal in some states, you cannot legally split lanes in Louisiana. Instead, you must wait patiently with the cars around you, traveling at the same rate of speed they use. Instead of trying to split lanes in an effort to avoid potential hazards, give the other vehicles around you time to maneuver safely.
2. Left-Turning Vehicles
Unfortunately, many motorists do not pay adequate attention to the other vehicles around them. As they prepare to turn left, they may not consider a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction or moving across an intersection. Visually, a motorcycle does not fit the same patterns as a larger passenger vehicle, so it may not catch the driver’s attention. As a result, the driver may strike the motorcycle without ever realizing that it occupied that space.
When riding your motorcycle, pay attention to cars waiting in intersections or signaling intent to turn. If you notice a car getting ready to turn left, consider waiting to move through an intersection until you know the car will remain at a complete stop. You may, in some cases, want to yield the right of way to help protect your safety and prevent an accident.
3. Unsafe Lane Changes and Merges
As with a left turn accident, the drivers of larger passenger vehicles, conditioned to look for larger passenger vehicles, may not note the presence of a motorcycle as they prepare to change lanes or merge into traffic. Changing lanes can prove particularly hazardous in heavy traffic, since drivers may have time to only glance into the lane before deciding whether they have enough room to move over. Merging can prove particularly dangerous, especially on highways and interstates with multiple lanes of traffic. Drivers may also have trouble correctly placing the location and speed of a motorcycle on the road, especially if a motorcycle rider chooses to travel at a higher rate of speed than the traffic around him.
To help keep yourself safe, always pay attention to flashing turn signals that indicate a motorist may be ready to change lanes, and prepare an escape route if possible. Try not to linger in drivers’ blind spots. If you must speed up or slow down to get out of a blind spot, do so. When possible, allow drivers room to move over so that they can safely change lanes or move into traffic without running into you.
4. Sudden Stops
Motorcycles have much less mass and take up less room on the road than larger passenger vehicles. This gives motorcycle riders more maneuverability. When riding your motorcycle, you can stop faster and turn faster than larger passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, passenger vehicles behind you may not give you adequate room to stop, slow down, or turn. They may follow too close behind you, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision if you have to make a sudden stop.
You cannot stop a driver from following too closely behind you. You can, however, take steps to keep yourself safe. First, slow down. Do not try to speed to get away from the driver. Instead, slow your rate of speed so that he has more room to respond. Second, pay attention to the location of a car behind you. If you feel that a driver has moved too close, try not to stop abruptly. Instead, come to a slower stop so that the driver has time to slow down. Try not to stop without leaving yourself room to maneuver, so that you can ease forward if the car doesn’t seem to have adequate time to slow.
5. Head-On Collisions
In a head-on collision, motorcycle riders can suffer severe injury. A head-on collision combines the other driver’s rate of speed with yours, resulting in more force applied to your motorcycle and, thanks to the lack of protection from your vehicle, to your body. Often, head-on collisions occur due to serious error on the part of the other driver, including drinking and driving or driving while distracted, which can cause the driver to lose track of your motorcycle entirely. Looking down for just a few seconds to check a text message, for example, can cause a driver to drift out of his lane without realizing it. Poor weather conditions and low visibility can increase the risk of head-on collisions, especially with distracted or inebriated drivers.
As a motorcycle rider, you must pay careful attention to the actions of other drivers on the road. If you notice a driver drifting out of his lane, swerving, or behaving erratically, get out of the way. To help keep yourself safe on the road, you may want to consider keeping your vehicle on the side of your lane away from traffic, rather than drifting close to the center lane. Any time you notice a driver behaving erratically, try to get off the road and out of the way, then report the danger to the police.
Despite your best efforts to keep yourself safe, motorcycle accidents can occur. When they do, you may have the right to compensation for the injuries you suffered in the crash. Contact Alvendia Kelly & Demarest today at 504-200-0000 to learn more about your rights after a motorcycle accident in Louisiana.