Our Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Are Dedicated to Helping Riders Stay Safe and Avoid Accidents
Motorcyclists can enjoy year-round riding in Southern California, thanks to our mild weather and consistent sunshine. This fact also means that drivers must always be alert to motorcyclists on the roadway. Motorcycles are smaller and often darker than cars, which makes them more difficult to see – and avoid. When drivers collide with motorcyclists, they are also more likely to sustain much more severe injuries than vehicle occupants. This is because they do not have the protection of a steel vehicle frame, airbags, or seatbelts. For this reason, the roads of Los Angeles are especially dangerous for motorcycle riders. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, you have legal rights that must be protected.
Negligent drivers have a legal obligation to compensate injury victims for the losses they cause. Unfortunately, insurance companies have many tactics and strategies that they use to try to get out of paying a fair settlement offer. The experienced Los Angeles motorcycle attorneys at Arash Law know how to protect you from these games. They fight hard to ensure that all accident victims are fully and fairly compensated for the many losses they suffer. Call (888) 488-1391 today to schedule your free consultation with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers in Southern California.
What is a blind spot?
A blind spot is an area around a vehicle where it’s difficult for the driver to see directly. Blind spots can be created by a vehicle’s bodywork, window pillars or head restraints. They are also created by the angle of rearview and side-view mirrors, which only allow limited views of the surrounding roadway. All vehicles have blind spots – including motorcycles. This means that all road users must be cautious of their own blind spots and the blind spots of nearby vehicles in the roadway. The larger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spots. Be particularly careful around large vehicles such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and tanker trucks. Different vehicles may have different blind spots based on their design.
Window pillars and head restraints are designed differently in different vehicles, and this can create different blind spots. Drivers should be especially careful when driving an unfamiliar vehicle. Check your mirrors and blind spots before you head out in a rental car, borrowed vehicle, or car that you have just purchased.
When - and Where - Blind Spot Accidents Are Most Likely to Occur
Blind spot accidents are most likely to occur when a driver’s visibility is impaired. Often, this happens as a result of weather conditions. Fog, rain, hail, snow, and other weather can reduce a driver’s visibility. Night driving also reduces visibility on the roadway. When driving at night or in inclement weather, drivers should slow down and be exceptionally watchful of the road around them. Other times, a driver’s visibility is impaired by the path of the road itself. Roundabouts, turns, and “blind corners” can all restrict a driver’s view of the road ahead. Again, it is critical that drivers slow down to safely navigate these conditions. Be sure your vehicle can be seen. Use your headlights and horn as necessary to alert other vehicles to your presence.
These safety rules for drivers also apply to motorcycle riders. Motorcycle riders are actually at higher risk when road visibility is impaired. This is because motorcycles are already more difficult to see. Being smaller (and usually darker) than larger cars and trucks makes motorcycles less visible from the road. This is exacerbated at night and during poor weather conditions. Motorcycle riders should take steps to ensure they are seen. Light clothing, headlights, and horns can all be used to alert other drivers to your presence. You should also reduce your speed and signal turns to make your movements obvious. This will make it easier for other drivers to anticipate your path and avoid hitting you. Motorcycle riders must also watch out for road users that are even more difficult to see than they are. Bicyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, scooter riders, and others can all be difficult to see. They can dart into the road unexpectedly or make other unanticipated movements. Keep a careful watch for these road users. Allow yourself plenty of time and space to get out of their way and avoid collisions.
How Motorcyclists Can Avoid Blind Spot Accidents
Before you ever hit the road, there are essential things a motorcycle rider must do to prevent blind spot accidents:
The first step toward safe riding is having the appropriate safety gear. Riders should always have a well-fit helmet, riding boots, gloves, and leathers. By purchasing from a store, you can be assured that your gear is the right fit for you. You will also have the benefit of a manufacturer’s warranty. Equipment purchased online or through resale may not have these protections.
All riders can benefit from taking a safety course – regardless of skill level or experience. Remember, riders must be prepared for many different types of unexpected road conditions, as well as drivers who might not be looking out for motorcycle riders. Safety courses can help you learn or refresh your skills in defensive riding techniques, emergency braking, and other life-saving skills. Do an online search for classes in your area.
Regular maintenance is an indispensable part of motorcycle safety. Tires should be regularly aligned and replaced. Oil changes and other preventative maintenance should be performed by a qualified mechanic who can identify any other issues that should be addressed.
It is also essential to check your bike before every single ride. Look for any loose or wobbly parts. Look for stray debris that may have gotten stuck in the tires. Carefully and thoroughly inspect your bike for anything that could become a hazard. Remember, you will have little protection on the open road.
Braking is one of the most critical safety skills a rider must learn. Braking technique can make the difference between life and death in an accident. Even experienced riders should practice braking regularly so that they are prepared for accidents. Find an open, empty stretch of road where you can practice without disruption. Be sure to follow riding trends online so you will be up to date on the latest techniques. Some older braking techniques are no longer recommended, and all riders should avoid them.
Once you have thoroughly prepared for a safe ride, there are important safety rules you must follow while out on the road:
This is the single most important step to avoiding accidents. Awareness will help you see and avoid obstructions in the roadway. It will also help you see other vehicles and anticipate their movements. Check your mirrors often, but don’t rely solely on your mirrors. Be aware of your blind spots. Continuously monitor the road around you.
If you ride as though no car can see you, you will be more aware of your surroundings. You will also be more likely to make your presence known. Light-colored clothing can help, as can the use of your headlight. When necessary, you can also use your horn to alert other road users to your presence, but this should be a last resort. Excessive honking can lead to road rage and other unsafe situations.
This will help you see where other vehicles are headed. Not all drivers always use a turn signal. In addition, even those who do sometimes leave it on too long or even use the signal on the wrong side. Wheel position is a better indicator of where the driver intends to go. This is an essential step in maintaining awareness of your surroundings.
A common type of motorcycle collision involves a driver turning left in front of a motorcycle at an intersection. Allow plenty of space between your motorcycle and other vehicles at an intersection. Have an escape route available in case you need to swerve to avoid a collision. Again: watch wheel position so that you can anticipate other vehicles’ movements. Maintain awareness of all traffic before entering an intersection. Keep your hands positioned over the brakes so that you are prepared to stop quickly and avoid collisions in an intersection.
Lane splitting is a controversial practice that is only legal in California. It allows riders to pass vehicles going the same direction in the same lane. No other state has formally legalized the practice, and SFGate reports that California only did so after a complicated legal process. While it is convenient for motorcycle riders stuck in traffic, it also dramatically increases the risk of injury. Many drivers are not anticipating motorcycles to be moving between lanes of traffic. This makes motorcycles more likely to be hit. As your speed increases, so does the risk of injury. The best way to avoid injury is to avoid lane splitting altogether.
Motorcycles require a much higher degree of manual control than cars or trucks. Because of this, turns can be especially dangerous for motorcycle riders. The faster you are traveling, the less control you will have over your motorcycle. Slow down before approaching any turn. Allow yourself plenty of time and space to navigate the turn safely.
Drinking and driving are just as fatal for motorcycle riders as it is for vehicle occupants. The Insurance Information Institute reports on 2017 fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2017, 32 percent of all vehicle occupant fatalities involved alcohol impairment, while 33 percent of all motorcyclist fatalities involved alcohol impairment. With the wide availability of Lyft, Uber, and other rideshare services, it is easier than ever to get a ride and avoid drunk driving.
Speed is one of the most common factors contributing to road accidents. Speed reduces your control over your motorcycle. It also increases the momentum generated in a collision, which in turn increases the severity of injuries that are sustained. Always follow the posted speed limit. Sometimes, road conditions make it unsafe to travel at the posted speed limit. Slow down during rain, snow, sleet, hail, or other conditions that make reduce your visibility or make the roadway slick.
How Drivers Can Avoid Blind Spot Motorcycle Accidents
Drivers of cars and trucks must also take precautions to avoid blind spot accidents. Drivers who fail to see a motorcycle, allow enough space, slow down, yield the right of way, or are otherwise negligent can be legally responsible for causing an accident. Many motorcycle accidents cause serious injuries that result in hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars of damages. Follow these driving tips to keep the roads safe for everyone:
Like motorcycle riders, drivers must maintain constant awareness of what is happening on the road. Drivers must be especially careful when it comes to smaller vehicles that are difficult to see – like motorcycles. Maintain constant surveillance of the surrounding roadway. Be especially cautious at night, in fog, and during other periods of low visibility.
Every vehicle has blind spots, and every vehicle’s blind spots are different. Be aware of the blind spots in the vehicle you are driving. Be sure to do a “shoulder check” of your blind spots before changing lanes or turning.
Not only does each vehicle have different blind spots, but each driver has different blind spots, as well. The driver’s height determines the best mirror placement. Be sure to adjust your rearview and side-view mirrors before each trip.
One of the most effective ways to avoid collisions is simply to let other road users know where you intend to go. By signaling your lane changes and turns, other road users can help prevent accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, speed was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal accidents in 2012. More than ten thousand deaths were attributed to speeding that year. Speeding is especially dangerous in motorcycle accidents. Without the protection of a vehicle frame, airbags, seatbelts, or other safety features, a motorcycle rider has little protection from the added force of a collision that occurs at high speeds. Reducing your speed will both help you maintain control of your vehicle and reduce the severity of injuries that are sustained in a collision.
The simple buffer of a few feet can make the difference between life and death. With a little added space, road users are better able to avoid collisions. Never tailgate or drive aggressively. Allow plenty of space between your vehicle and other vehicles on the roadway. If another vehicle speeds up or starts driving aggressively, let them pass you and maintain your own buffer zone.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Injuries from a motorcycle accident can dramatically affect a victim for the rest of his or her life. Injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for all the losses they suffer. This includes medical bills, pain, and suffering, lost wages, decreases to future income potential, scarring and disfigurement, decreased enjoyment of life, and many other intangible losses. Call Arash Law at (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation. Our skilled motorcycle accident lawyers in Los Angeles have extensive experience in dealing with insurance companies. They know how to protect your claim from lowball tactics, and they understand the losses that victims suffer after a motorcycle accident. Let us protect your legal right to compensation so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Photo Credits: · Featured Image - Photo Courtesy of MiriHH