Top 5 Most Common Motorcycle Accidents
At Simpson Millar, we know you love your motorcycles because we do too.
To many, the motorcycle represents freedom; a mode of transport, a hobby and a way to meet others. Add to that the feeling of the power of the engine under you, the responsiveness of the controls, and the sheer sensation of speed, riding can be exhilarating in a way unlike any other form of travel.
Part of the excitement of biking also comes from the risk factor. You have to be completely focused on what’s going on around you, and see, hear and smell everything if you want to get to where you’re going safely. So there’s many great moments while riding, but some scary ones too.
Our expert Motorcycle Accident Solicitors see our fair share of bikers who’ve come out the worse end of the scarier moments, and we’re here to help when that happens. So we wanted to highlight some of the most common reasons for serious injuries among bikers, and what you can do to protect yourself.
A car pulling out from a slow or stationary line of traffic
This is a high-risk scenario for motorcyclists that leads to many serious injuries. So if you’re tempted to overtake a line of still or slow-moving vehicles, here are a few things you should do first:
- Slow down - it’s the easiest defence for a driver to say you were travelling too fast
- Keep your hands on the brake
- Be ready to take evasive action
You should also think about:
- Whether the driver can see you
- If the other person is looking at you
- Are they signalling?
- What direction are their wheels turned towards?
- Are there gaps in the traffic?
If there are gaps in the traffic, think about why that may be. Are there side roads to the left? Is it because someone is being let out?
Bear in mind, you may be in for some criticism if you’ve been travelling too fast and not paying attention to what’s happening with the side roads, which could affect any motorcycle accident compensation claim you make.
Vehicle attempts a u-turn into the path of a biker
This type of accident usually happens because the driver wasn’t paying full attention to their surroundings. As a biker, the best thing you can do is try to brake hard. Even if you’re not able to stop completely, try hard to slow right down if possible, which is easier said than done, we know.
But if you’re able to slow down slightly, there’s a chance you won’t be as severely injured as you might have been in a full-on collision, or if you have to jump from your motorcycle.
Vehicle pulls out from a side road into a biker’s path
You almost need a sixth sense to try to prevent this type of accident. You should pay extra attention to any vehicle waiting to come out of a junction, and look at the driver inside the vehicle.
Have they noticed you? Even if you think they have, they may not, so slow right down. Always expect the worst and act accordingly.
Vehicle rear-ends biker
It’s a simple, common accident, but it can kill a biker. Try to use other vehicles as a buffer, so if you’re coming to a stop at traffic lights for example, pull up alongside that vehicle or in front of it.
If you’re not able to do that, stop at the side of the lane rather than the centre. It stops you being pinned between cars and instead buffeted into a hopefully open space.
Stay aware of vehicles behind you, and keep your bike in gear, with your hand on the throttle so you’re ready to move straight away.
Roundabouts can be very dangerous for bikers. Either a vehicle changes lane and doesn’t see the motorcyclist or the vehicle may go around the roundabout in the wrong lane and try to exit, without noticing the motorcyclist in their way. And of course, the motorcyclist may be in the wrong lane (no-one is perfect).
We see lots of roundabout accidents involving all sorts of vehicles. What it tells us is that many road users don’t know how to use a roundabout properly. If you remember that, then you’ll be approaching the roundabout with the correct amount of caution.
If you find yourself in the wrong lane and you have the opportunity, then go around again and take the correct lane for the exit.
Always anticipate what other drivers may do, make sure you keep your eye on your surroundings and imagine that no-one else knows what they are doing on that roundabout.
Top 5 Tips To Stay Safe on Your Motorcycle
Kevin Harper's an advanced motorcycle instructor, Bloodbike rider and former Police Motorcyclist. He's part of our Personal Injury team and has given his top 5 tips on how to stay safe on your motorcycle.
Other Safety Tips
Car drivers simply aren’t programmed to look for motorcyclists, so here are a few more things you can do to avoid a serious accident.
- Don’t assume other drivers can see you - that is literally a bet with your own life
- Keep out of other driver’s blind spots
- Develop your sixth sense as a motorcyclist - anticipate what other drivers are going to do
- Be seen - the most common defence other drivers give is “I just didn’t see them”, so don’t give them that excuse and wear bright or reflective gear. Also, make sure the lights on your motorcycle are always on
- Be aware that if you’re slowing by downshifting through your gears, other drivers won’t see your brake lights
- Practise your emergency manoeuvres in a safe place, such as a training school
For free legal advice call our Road Traffic Accident Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.