3 Causes of Auto Accidents in Denver Involving Motorcycles
As drivers, we can’t always know what’s going to happen around us on the road, and no matter how good we are at defensive driving, other people’s erratic driving can still affect us. This is true whether you drive a car or a motorcycle, but because of the open nature of a motorcycle, the stakes are much higher. According to 2013 data from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publication, “motorcyclist fatalities occurred 26 times more frequently than passenger occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.” As a Denver auto accident attorney, sadly I’m all too aware of statistics like these.
However, vigilance is key, and knowing what the potential dangers are for both cars and motorcycles while sharing the road is important. Here are some common causes of auto and motorcycle accidents to watch out for:
Lane splitting – Lane splitting is when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of traffic on a road or highway, and is highly dangerous because the motorcycle has less space in which to maneuver and therefore ends up in close proximity to cars. What’s worse, the cars in both lanes aren’t expecting a motorcycle to drive between them and could make a sudden lane change without seeing the motorcyclist. Bottom line: If you’re driving a car, be aware of the space around you at all times, and don’t change lanes unless the way is absolutely clear. If you’re a motorcyclist, avoid this tactic altogether—it’s just not worth the risk.
Road hazards – Motorcycles are more susceptible to road hazards than cars. Anything from a pot hole to a dead animal to uneven lanes to road construction can be dangerous to a motorcyclist. Bottom line: If you’re driving a car, be aware of any road hazards around you as well as any motorcyclists nearby; one wrong move on their part could cause an accident on your part. If you’re a motorcyclist, be sure to drive the legal speed limit and slow down if you can see debris or objects on the roadsides or road itself; you just never know what you may have to suddenly avoid or how much time you’ll have to avoid it.
Left turns – Left-hand turns require more caution in a car than right-hand turns, but throw a motorcycle into the mix and it can become downright dangerous. If a car doesn’t use its left turn signal properly, a passing motorcyclist could crash right into the car, especially if that motorcyclist isn’t paying attention. And because a motorcycle is smaller in size than a car, it’s much less noticeable and therefore harder for the car to avoid. Bottom line: If you’re driving a car, stay vigilant as to what and who is next to you before making a left-hand turn. If you’re driving a motorcycle, make sure you’re in the appropriate lane and driving at the legal speed limit, and never pass a car that you suspect may be getting ready to make a turn.
If you’re ever involved in a traffic accident while driving a motorcycle, contact Denver motorcycle accident attorney Mark A. Simon. I routinely handle these types of claims and can help you find medical coverage after an accident has happened. Call for more information.