The state of New York has the third highest number of registered motorcycles in the United States. With 384,620 registered bikes occupying New York roads in 2020, many motorists encounter motorcyclists when driving.
Despite sharing the roads with motorcycle operators, drivers may not understand defensive driving techniques, such as stopping alongside cars at stop signs and lights. All drivers should familiarize themselves with motorcycle driving maneuvers to understand how they keep motorcyclists safer on the streets.
Motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to perish in an accident than those riding in a passenger vehicle. To stay safe on the road, riders practice defensive driving techniques to improve visibility and reduce the risk of being rear-ended or cut off in traffic.
Certain biker behaviors may seem aggressive to non-riders. However, with 83,000 motorcycle riders injured in accidents in 2020, safety is the number one responsibility and priority.
Understanding motorcyclist behavior and defensive driving techniques create safer driving conditions for all road users. Keep the following safety tips in mind when sharing the road with motorcycles:
- Accommodate riders on the side of your car
Stopping to the side of vehicles helps ensure riders are in the line of sight of other road users and provides them with a safe escape route if a distracted driver creates any imminent danger.
Motorcycle riders are aware of other vehicles and act to ensure they are easily seen. Rear-ending accidents often occur at stop signs and traffic lights due to distractions or drivers failing to give themselves adequate time to stop.
A rear-ending is often a mild incident between cars. However, this type of accident can have grave consequences for riders, often knocking them off their bikes or crushing them between vehicles.
- Check blind spots
A common cause of motorcycle collisions is drivers changing lanes without checking their blind spots. Blind spots vary depending on the vehicle. However, sedans and SUVs typically have blind spots between 13 and 18 feet long, extending from the edge of the driver’s peripheral vision to the rear of the vehicle.
Checking blind spots is a standard safe driving technique drivers should use every time they get behind the wheel.
- Observe swerving riders
Riders sometimes swerve back and forth in their lane to restore balance, heat their tires, or clear dirt accumulated on their motorcycle. In some cases, motorcyclists react suddenly to avoid potentially dangerous debris or surface material. Occasionally, riders swerve to catch a driver’s attention who may be trailing too closely or behaving erratically.
If you’re following a swerving motorcycle, take it as a signal to increase the distance between your car and the motorcycle. Watch out for potential obstacles, like fallen branches, potholes, or loose debris that could damage your vehicle or cause a skid.
- Exercise caution at left-hand turns
Major intersections are one of the most common places for motorcycle accidents. According to the NHTSA, 41% of two-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles occurred when other vehicles turned left as motorcycles were going straight, passing, or overtaking.
Since this type of turn involves crossing traffic at an angle, drivers often misjudge the speed of oncoming vehicles or mistime the lights. Due to their size, motorcycles are not only difficult to see, but they may also be hard to judge in terms of speed, leading to fatal high-speed collisions.
Drivers should make a conscious effort to be more vigilant at intersections, making sure to give motorcycles their right of way. Checking for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists must be common practice to ensure the safety of all road users.
Unfortunately, driver negligence often has grave consequences for motorcyclists. A split-second mistake that might scratch a car bumper can cause significant injuries to a rider. Additionally, motorcyclists often have difficulty recovering damages due to unfair liability bias.
If you’re injured on a motorcycle, seek legal counsel from a dedicated Syracuse motorcycle injury lawyer at Catalano Law. Our no-fee policy means you don’t pay until we win a settlement for your losses.
Contact us for a free case evaluation and get the legal representation you need to protect your rights and maximize your settlement.