Motorcycle Safety Tips for California Car Drivers

California motorcycle riders have the benefit of riding their bikes nearly year round, and so driving around motorcycles is not a seasonal occurrence here. The State of California requires motorcycle riders to pass a safety test prior to taking to the road, but aside from perhaps a question on the written exam at the California DMV for new drivers, car drivers are not required to know much about driving around motorcycles. Tragically, motorcycle-related injuries and deaths are common on our roadways. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help car drivers and motorcycle riders stay safe and avoid crashes.

Motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on 2014 fatal crash data. To keep motorcyclists safe, we urge everyone to share the road and be alert, and we’re reminding motorcyclists to make themselves visible, to use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and to always ride sober.
— National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Keep Your Distance

Give motorcyclists a full lane width, even if you think you can fit into the same lane. They are entitled the same space and accommodation as a car. Of course motorcycles and their riders take up less space and maintain a lower profile on the road. Treat them like a normal size vehicle, and give plenty of space. Especially when you're behind a motorcycle, leave at least four to five seconds of stopping distance at any speed, just in case. You never know when you will encounter poor road conditions, a slow moving vehicle that turns in front of the motorcyclist, or another unpredicted condition that will force the motorcyclist to slow. You don't want to rear end anyone, much less a motorcyclist. Motorcycles lack the "crashworthiness" of automobiles and trucks, meaning crashes involving motorcycles are more likely to result in injury, serious injury, and even death. Keep your distance and both you and the motorcycle rider will stay safe.

Look Twice

Because motorcyclists take up less space on the road than cars and trucks, many injury-causing accidents are the result of car drivers either not checking their blind spot, or doing so as a matter of habit and not really looking to see if someone is in their blind spot. Especially during the summer months when there are more motorcycles on the roads in California, you should be checking your blind spot and using heightened caution with the specific awareness of whether there are motorcycle riders in the area. This is especially important when making a left hand turn, as approximately 40 percent of all motorcycle crashes involve a car that turned left in front of the motorcyclist. These are accidents that can be avoided. Tragically, due to the exposed nature of a motorcycle rider to direct contact with a vehicle, many motorcycle accidents result in serious injury and death. Look twice before turning or changing lanes.

 Info credit: http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/12/24/48867/gas-prices-economy-blamed-for-spike-in-motorcycle/

Info credit: http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/12/24/48867/gas-prices-economy-blamed-for-spike-in-motorcycle/

Be Considerate

Every California driver has seen inconsiderate and often rude motorcycle riders drive past them at often unsafe speeds, sometimes weaving in and out of traffic. These riders are the exception to the norm. Most California motorcyclists are respectful, law abiding riders. Even if they weren't - the law requires you to give them ample space and consideration on the road. As the signs say, "Share the Road" with motorcyclists! If you are bitter about being cut off by a motorcyclist, or think they're reckless and dangerous, consider your own safety as well. Don't attempt to rectify the situation by trying to regulate motorcyclist behavior; crashes involving motorcyclists often occur due to the automobile driver trying to correct what they perceive to be bad driving by motorcyclists. Crashes don't only hurt motorcyclists, but also often result in the driver of the car and his or her passengers being injured as well. 

Motorcycle Crashes

If you were involved in a motorcycle crash as a car driver, you should proceed to remove yourself from the roadway and make sure your vehicle is in a safe spot. Then, you are in a position to try to assist the motorcyclist, if possible. Depending on the nature of the collision, you may not be able to help the motorcyclist, and should immediately call 911 if the situation appears to necessitate the help of medical professionals. Don't worry about who was at fault, your car insurance, or anything other than the safety and well-being of yourself and the other parties involved in the crash. When you are safe and the proper authority has been called, you should exchange information with the other parties and contact your auto insurance provider. Most California insurance policies require drivers involved in a car accident resulting in around or more than $500 property damage to report the collision; they are also required to report the car crash when someone is injured, even if the injury is not severe or catastrophic.

Motorcycle Crash Attorneys

Depending on the nature of your crash, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be well served by contacting a California injury attorney. Even when the facts seem straightforward, there are many unforeseen loopholes that enable insurance carriers to deny coverage. This can mean that your medical bills and pain and suffering, as well as lost time from work and other expenses will not be covered by the at fault party's insurance, or your insurance. The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured people throughout the state of California, including many motorcyclists. The injury attorneys at The Lions are experienced in handling the details of car crashes resulting in injury, especially motorcycle accidents that result in injury and death. If you or a loved one was injured on a motorcycle and the crash was not your fault, call The Lions Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation with an injury lawyer.