Almost everyone who rides a motorcycle knows that the real danger of being injured in a motorcycle accident lurks around every corner, literally. Statistics have shown that more motorcycle accidents occur at intersections than at any other place on our streets and highways. That’s not to diminish the fact that motorcycle accidents can happen in a variety of places, for a variety of reasons, but intersections are the most dangerous. Florida’s Motorcycle Safety Course-Basic Rider Training Programs emphasize that bikers should use “extreme caution” when approaching an intersection, and for good reason.
What Can Go Wrong at Intersections
Intersections pose a very real threat of accidents and injuries to almost all vehicles that enter into them. Not only do most intersection have 4-way traffic patterns converging, but when combining turn lanes and crossing lanes, intersections can pose up to 6 distinct accident posing positions. Road and surface conditions at intersections pose additional hazards because of collected debris and fluids from stopped cars and trucks. Vehicles starting and stopping can also play a significant role in the hazards created by these necessary traffic patterns. Additionally, the speed of vehicles approaching traffic lights in intersections can also increase the risk of accidents, and running red lights is becoming a real problem for law enforcement as well as drivers.
Motorcycles Are at Risk
Motorcycles and their drivers are at a distinct disadvantage when approaching or stopped at an intersection because of their relative size and shape, as compared to other vehicles such as automobiles and trucks. Many motorcycle accidents occur from behind because the stopped motorcycle blends into the background of other cars and trucks. Even motorcycles approaching intersections and traveling at the lawful rate of speed are almost invisible to other drivers. Drivers, making a right and left-handed turns pose a significant threat to motorcyclists and their passengers. Most motorcycle accidents that occur at intersections are due to automobile or truck drivers pulling out into what appears to be an open traffic position and the motorcyclist is just not seen. Motorcyclists are caught in a driver’s blind spot because of their relative size and shape adding to dangers presented to motorcyclists.
Unfortunately for bikers, this happens all too often and motorcyclists approaching side roads and driveways are at added risk of not being seen.
Precautions Motorcyclists Should Take When Approaching an Intersection
Because of the real dangers associated with intersections, motorcyclists can incorporate some of the following driving techniques into their everyday driving habits.
- When approaching an intersection, motorcyclists should always visually scan all lanes of traffic and especially anticipate any drivers making right or left-hand turns at an intersection.
- Bikers should utilize the middle lane position, if available, in case a driver pulls out into the right lane.
- Motorcyclists should adjust their rate of speed based on the driving variables that present themselves.
- When overtaking a car, motorcyclists should always stay out of the driver’s blind spot. Even if the cyclist does not intend to pass the car, the motorcyclist should try and make his presence known as occupying the adjacent lane.
- A motorcyclist should never drive in the left-hand lane unless passing or making a turn.
- Motorcyclists should never pass a car or truck on the right because of blind spots and decreased visibility.
- Motorcyclists should always be aware of their immediate driving surroundings, traffic patterns, the flow of traffic and speed. They should know where all vehicles are and try to anticipate the driver’s intentions.
- Cyclists should avoid any distractions that might cause them to lose focus on the driving task at hand.
- Motorcyclists should visually scan any stopped vehicle’s front tires and rims watching for any forward movement that might alert them to a possibly dangerous situation arising.
Finally, cyclists should ensure that their horn and front and rear brakes are fully functioning and even practice evasive maneuvers in case a dangerous driving situation presents itself to avoid crashes, injury, and even death.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Jacksonville FL
Will Kurtz is an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Jacksonville FL. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a motorcycle, car, truck or semi-truck accident, you need the advice of an accident attorney. Will is a personal injury specialist who has represented motorcycle accident victims and their families for years. At the Law Offices of William W. Kurtz Jr., we understand the issues involved in motorcycle accident cases and how insurance companies handle their claims. Give Will and his knowledgeable legal staff a call at 904-674-3390.