Riding a motorcycle may provide a sense of freedom and adventure; there’s nothing quite like the wind whipping at your hair and the feel of the sun on your skin. Still, riding a motorcycle is also potentially dangerous. Indeed, motorcycle accidents are much more likely to result in serious injuries or death than are accidents only involving passenger vehicles, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) data for 2016 shows that there were more motorcyclist fatalities that year than the previous eight years – a 5.1 percent increase from 2008. Tragically, there were 5,286 motorcyclists killed in collisions in 2016.
While there are several reasons why motorcycle accidents occur, one of the top causes of collisions is a motorcyclist riding within the blind spot of a motorist. Consider the following about blind spot motorcycle accidents, and what drivers and motorcyclists can do to avoid these types of collisions.
What Are Blind Spots?
Blind spots, also called “no-zones”, are areas around the vehicle that cannot be directly seen by the driver. All vehicles have blind spots, and they are dangerous because the driver of the vehicle with the blind spot cannot see another party within the blind spot, regardless of how many times they check their mirrors. As such, a driver may attempt to make a turn or change lanes directly into the path of another motorist, motorcyclist, bicyclist, etc., potentially leading to a catastrophic accident
Blind spots are especially perilous for motorcyclists because these vehicles are so small in comparison to standard passenger cars, making them that much more difficult to see.
How to Avoid Blind Spot Motorcycle Accidents
Whether you are the operator a motor vehicle or a motorcyclist, there are things that you can do to reduce the risk of a blind spot motorcycle accident.
Drivers have a duty to exercise a high-level of care while operating vehicles. The NHTSA recommends that drivers:
- Check all mirrors, and look over your shoulder before changing lanes or merging with traffic – if you are not 100 percent sure the path is clear, do not change lanes;
- Turn on your blinker to signal your plan to change lanes in advance, providing a motorcyclist in your blind spot with time to move; and
- Drive while sober, well rested, and without distractions – otherwise, you increase your risk of an accident.
Motorcyclist have the same rights as do other drivers on the road, but they need to be extra careful. If an accident occurs, it is likely that the motorcyclist, not the driver of the passenger car, will be significantly injured. Things that you as a motorcyclist can do to reduce your risk of being in a blind spot accident include:
- Don’t ride in drivers’ blind spots! These areas are to the left and right rear of a vehicle – avoid riding in these zones to improve a motorist’s ability to see you;
- Wear brightly colored or fluorescent clothing to help others see you;
- Use your headlights always, even when it’s light outside; and
- If you must pass a vehicle, do so quickly – again, don’t hang out in no zones.
Our Lawyers Can Help You after a Crash
Even if you operate your motorcycle as safely as possible, it is impossible to anticipate the actions of others on the road, and you may find yourself the victim of a motorcycle accident. If you are harmed in a motorcycle crash in Birmingham or surrounding areas, our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at the law offices of Burge & Burge, P.C. can provide you with the competent legal representation you’re looking for.
We have more than 50 years of combined experience, and have successfully handled such cases in the past. Please call us today at 205-251-9000, visit our law office in person, or contact us using the intake form on our website to schedule your free consultation.