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5 common motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them

It’s a recognized fact that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous even if the rider is taking every possible safety precaution.

Whilst national campaigns such as the government’s THINK campaign hopes to raise awareness of the dangers that are posed to motorcyclists, unfortunately, motorcycle accidents persist and can often have catastrophic consequences for the motorcyclist and those close to them.

In a bid to help decrease the number of motorcyclists that are involved in motorcycle accidents, we’ve compiled a list of 5 common causes of motorcycle accidents as well as ways you can avoid them.

1. Vehicles changing lanes

Many motorcyclists will face this problem on a regular basis. Unfortunately not every road user is considerate, as a result, they may switch lanes suddenly without using their indicators, veering into your path and potentially causing a catastrophic accident.

How to avoid an accident

Often the cause of an accident like this is the fact that another road user simply doesn’t see the oncoming motorcyclist.

Make sure that you as a motorcyclist are aware of the potential blind spots of cars and other vehicles and spend as little time as possible in them.

A good point to remember is that if you can see a driver’s eyes in their rearview mirror, then that is an indication that they should be able to see you but never assume this.

A motorcyclist should always be aware of their surroundings, especially when they are on bigger, busier roads.

Situations to look out for include traffic flows slowing with one lane moving faster than another. It’s likely that other vehicles will switch lanes at this point to try and get in the lane that is moving quicker, if you’re in said lane, make sure you leave at least two car lengths between you and the next vehicle. This will afford you extra braking distance should someone pull out suddenly.

Keep an eye out for signs that a vehicle may be about to turn. turn signals, wheels turning in your direction and a car swaying in its lane are all potential sign that a vehicle may be about to switch lanes.

Always ensure you stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you.

If you are struck by another vehicle that was trying to change lanes and you weren’t at fault, we can help. Our solicitors have dealt with a wide range of similar cases and will be able to help you with your claim for motorcycle accident compensation.

2. A car hits you from behind

It’s every road users nightmare. You come to a stop and then out of nowhere, you are shunted from behind by another vehicle which has failed to notice that you’ve stopped.

Whilst many rear-end collisions often only cause minor damage to cars, for motorcyclist they have the potential to cause motorcyclists serious injury.

Common injuries also include whiplash, road rash and broken bones.

How to avoid an accident

Again, one of the most important aspects of avoiding a rear-end collision is to remain aware and alert.

There are also a few things you can do to minimise the risks of suffering a rear-end collision.

The first is to stop to the side of the lane you’re in rather than in the centre. This will give anyone following you more room to manoeuvre should they fail to notice you’ve stopped.

Another trick is to flash your brake lights. Cyclists use a flashing red light when they are on the road and it can act as an effective means of alerting road users of their presence.

Pulling on your brake lever rapidly will flash your brake lights and have a similar effect.

Finally, always be prepared. Keep your hand on the throttle and pay attention to what’s coming up behind you and be prepared to accelerate out of the way should you have to.

3. Locking out the front brake

Many people will have experienced flying head first over the handlebars after pulling the front brake too hard as a child learning to ride a bicycle, it’s not a pleasant experience.

However, do the same whilst riding a motorcycle and the consequences can be much more severe.

How to avoid an accident

In this scenario, practice makes perfect.

Mastering the use of the front brake can be difficult, but it’s essential that you learn how and when to use it correctly.

Whether you’re learning to ride, never mastered the skill or need to brush up after buying a new and unfamiliar motorbike, practicing the technique can help you avoid an accident.

Find a wide open space and start brushing up on your braking technique. You can begin by setting a constant speed, for example, 30mph and braking at a specific point and seeing how long it takes to stop with different amounts of pressure on the brake lever.

You can then increase the speed until you are comfortable and you can utilise the maximum amount of brakes safely and efficiently.

4. A car door opens

Sadly this type of accident is affecting thousands of motorcyclists across the UK on an annual basis.

Also known as ‘car-dooring‘ this type of accident can see the motorcyclist suffer catastrophic injuries, especially if they are travelling at high speed at the point of impact.

How to avoid an accident

Never ride between an active traffic lane and a lane of parked cars. By sticking to this rule you’ll not only decrease your chances of being ‘car-doored’, you’ll also reduce the risk of hitting a pedestrian that may step out between the stationary vehicles.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a car door fly open in your path, but you realise that a collision is inevitable, brake as hard as possible, shedding even a fraction of your speed can help you reduce your risk of what could be serious injuries.

5. The rain

Whether it’s the winter months or the height of the British summer, one thing is certain, it will rain.

Whilst there aren’t many who enjoy the rain, for motorcyclists rain can cause a variety of problems that can make for a dangerous ride.

How to avoid an accident

Make sure you have tyres that can cope with a variety of weather conditions.

It may be more fun to ride using slick tyres, but they become extremely dangerous when riding in the wet.

Make sure the tyres on your motorcycle have a good tread on them and aren’t worn.

Also, keep an eye out for oil and diesel on the roads, these will show up as rainbow marks in the surface water on the roads and can be very slippery, so make sure you avoid them.

Visibility also comes at a premium in the rain. Ensure you can see clearly by regularly applying a water repellent spray to your helmet’s visor and if the visibility is still not clear, make sure you stop until the rain eases off.

Also, it goes without saying that you should ride slower than you would in the dry. The wet makes it incredibly easy for a motorcycle’s rear tyre to spin and can be dangerous for any rider as well as the traffic around them.

Conclusion

With thousands of motorcyclist injured on Britain’s roads each year, it’s vital that the proper safety precautions are taken in order to minimise the risk of injury.

We have seen first hand, the type of serious injuries that are sustained as a result of a motorcycle accident and how it can affect both the victim and their loved ones.

If you have had an accident that you believe wasn’t your fault then please contact us.

Here at Thorneycroft Solicitors, our specialist solicitors will be with you every step of the way to provide support and advice when you need it most.

We are committed to helping you get the maximum amount of compensation for your claim and helping you focus on what matters most, your recovery.

We offer a free initial consultation where one of our solicitors will assess your claim and advise as to the next steps that you need to take.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team or to arrange a free consultation, please call 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form.