Beware of motorcycle dangers before hitting the road this summer

Motorcycle crashes are common during the summer months, when more motorcycles are sharing the roads with other drivers.

Last winter's bitter cold winds and icy roads are just a distant memory. With summer more than halfway over, and the promise of several more weeks of nice autumn weather, motorcyclists have taken to Virginia roads in droves. For any motorcycle enthusiast, there is nothing better than racing along the open road. The last thing any biker wants to worry about is getting into an accident. Unfortunately, biker crashes are all too common for motorcyclists who share the road with other vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 79 fatal accidents involving motorcyclists in Virginia in 2013. Out of these fatalities, 76 bikers wore helmets. It is known that helmets can prevent injuries, but this number proves that helmets cannot always prevent serious injuries or death.

Many drivers underestimate motorcycle risks

The majority of motorcycle riders understand the unique risks they face in traffic and obey traffic laws. The NHTSA states that many other drivers are unfamiliar with the way motorcycles operate, and they may not realize that their own driving habits are endangering the lives of bikers sharing the road. The following include some of the most common ways another vehicle can cause an accident with a motorcycle:

  • A driver may fail to notice a nearby motorcycle before turning or switching lanes. Motorcycles are especially difficult to see in blind spots.
  • Motorcycles can stop much faster than larger vehicles, but other drivers often misjudge how much following distance to give them.
  • Drivers may not realize that motorcycles can easily lose control in bad weather or on poorly maintained roads, and they may not give them the space they need to maneuver safely around hazards.

It is also common for drivers to misjudge a motorcycle's speed. Because of its smaller size, a motorcycle that is traveling at the proper speed limit may appear to be going slower than it actually is. This often results in drivers pulling out into traffic in front of a motorcycle and causing a collision.

Common motorcycle injuries

A number of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries are commonly seen after a motorcycle crash. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these include fractures - particularly to the limbs - internal injuries, road rash and head injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are especially disabling or deadly to motorcyclists.

A frightening motorcycle crash last June in Alexandria illustrated how unexpectedly an accident can occur, as well as the devastating effects it can have. ABC 7 News reported that a crash between a motorcycle and a second vehicle at an intersection caused the bike to veer through the nearby window of a daycare. Five young children in the building were injured, although fortunately none of their injuries were life-threatening. The motorcyclist, however, was hospitalized in critical condition. The details, including who appeared to have caused the crash, were not clear.

Those who received injuries in a motorcycle accident may be able to pursue compensation. A personal injury attorney with experience handling motorcycle crashes can advise victims of their options.

Keywords: motorcycle, accident, injury