Motorcyclists are at risk whenever they take rides. They must remain vigilant of their surroundings and exercise heightened awareness of other drivers’ behaviors. Riders need to be cognizant when other drivers change lanes or swerve, and need to know that motorists might not understand or respect a motorcyclist’s right of way. Distraction, intoxication and speeding are also problematic and can cause injuries to bikers.
Dangers associated with intersections
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, 35% of all motorcycle-related fatalities occur in intersections. Certain risks increase or occur when bikers stop at or enter an intersection. These include:
- Left-hand turns: The biker’s smaller profile makes him or her harder to see. When the driver of a car takes a left-hand turn into an intersection, he or she might not see a motorcyclist entering the intersection, even when the biker has the right of way. Unfortunately, this happened recently in a fatal crash involving actor Treat Williams in Dorset, Vermont.
- Distractions: It’s common for drivers to check their phones when sitting at a stop light. Other distractions to motorists might include pedestrians crossing the roadway and billboards or landmarks on the side of the road. These types of distractions can cause drivers of cars to take their eyes off of the road and not be able to appropriately respond to a motorcyclist nearby.
- Wrong turns: When a driver realizes he or she missed a turn or made a wrong turn, he or she will often quickly react by turning the wheel. This can cause an impact with a motorcyclist who might not recognize what the driver is doing before it is too late.
- Roadway damage: The intersection square experiences much more traffic than straight roads (double, in fact). Increased wear of roadways at intersections leads to potholes, cracks or loose gravel, which can be difficult for motorcyclists to navigate safely.
Who is at fault?
If a motorcyclist obeys all rules of the road and is injured in a crash, another party or entity may be at fault for negligence. This might be another driver or a municipality (if the roadway was not properly maintained). Experienced attorneys can help to determine whether an injured motorcyclist might be able to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for injuries.