With some of the country’s best motorcycle rides in Arizona, it’s no wonder there were 210,427 motorcycles registered throughout the state in 2018. Riding a motorcycle is a great way to get around the city and enjoy the best of Arizona’s highways and byways.
Unfortunately, thousands of motorcycle riders are killed in accidents with other cars and several thousand more suffer severe injuries each year. Many of these accidents are preventable. While it’s crucial for motorcyclists to ride responsibly and adhere to traffic laws, it is equally as important that other motorists know how to share the road with motorcycles. Read on to find out what causes motorcycle accidents and the best motorcycle safety tips for drivers to avoid them.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
According to HG.org, approximately 75% of motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle, usually a passenger car. The majority of these accidents are the result of the driver of the car violating or disregarding the motorcycle’s right of way. Many drivers, whether intentional or not, engage in behaviors that put motorcycle riders in harm’s way.
Careless Lane Changing
Motorcycles’ small size makes them more difficult to spot. Sometimes riders seemingly appear out of nowhere after traveling in your blind spot. Taking the extra time to double check your blind spots using your mirrors and shoulder checks before making a lane change is crucial.
Even experienced drivers may misjudge a motorcycle’s speed. An oversight like this can be especially harmful, or even fatal, particularly when a driver attempts to make a left turn in front of a motorcycle.
Illegal Lane Splitting
Some drivers assume that a motorcycle’s small size means that they can share the lane side by side with the rider. Splitting lanes with a motorcycle rider significantly reduces the amount of space they have to maneuver to avoid other cars, debris in the road, etc. Lane splitting is illegal in the state of Arizona.
Speeding is a dangerous behavior that puts everyone on the road at risk. Speeding cars and trucks pose a huge risk to motorcycle riders due to their sheer size and inertia. A speeding motorist may not have enough time to realize that the motorcycle rider in front of them has come off the accelerator and is coming to a stop. This is especially true while traveling on more remote roads in Arizona.
Following Too Closely
Motorcycles change speed and make turns more quickly than most other motor vehicles. They are also more greatly affected by changes in the condition of the road and need more stopping space. Drivers should follow the 4-second rule in order to give motorcyclists enough space. This extra following distance provides a cushion for both the driver and the rider to adjust to sudden changes.
It’s easy enough for a motorcycle to slip into your blind spot unnoticed in the best conditions. However, being impaired while sharing the road with a motorcycle puts that rider, as well as anyone else on the road, at risk. Alcohol significantly reduces reaction time and your ability to gauge distances. By the time a drunk driver notices a motorcyclist in their blind spot, it may be too late to avoid an accident.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Drivers
Motorcycle accidents are preventable when motorcyclists and other motorists practice safe driving. As larger, more dangerous vehicles, drivers bear a significant portion of responsibility in keeping Arizona roads safer for everyone. Check out these motorcycle safety tips for drivers from Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys.
Check Your Blind Spots
Due to their smaller size, it’s extremely easy to miss seeing an approaching motorcycle. When changing lanes or turning, fully turn your head to look over your shoulder to check for any riders that may have ended up in one of the blind spots of your rear-view mirrors.
Always Use Your Turn Signal
Always engage your turn signal well ahead of time. This gives the vehicles around you time to adjust their speed in anticipation of your lane change or turn. Motorcyclists are less likely to end up in a blind spot if they know your intentions before you make a maneuver.
Avoid Sudden Stops
Any delay in a motorcycle rider’s reaction time can further increase the time and distance needed to stop. The rider behind you may not have time to react and could end up slamming into the back of your vehicle if you stop too suddenly.
Give Motorcyclists Extra Room
Even in ideal driving situations, it is always a good idea to give any motorcycles a little extra room. Increasing your following distance when behind a motorcycle. Also, keep in mind that motorcycles have the right to use the full width of the lane. Don’t try to split lanes with a motorcyclist!
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Arizona?
Follow these motorcycle safety tips for drivers to help make the road a safe place for all vehicles. For more information on how to reduce the risk of accidents on Arizona roads, visit AZDOT’s Focus on Driving website or read more on our blog.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of another motorist’s negligence, whether on the back of a motorcycle or not, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Phoenix, Tucson, and throughout Arizona. The compassionate staff at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys are available in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.