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August 04, 2018 8 min read
Road accidents involving bikers can be caused by many things including the carelessness of other road users, the use of excessive speed and the loss of control due to poor road conditions. The majority of motorbike accidents fall into a few general scenarios, which are covered below.
By being aware of these common motorbike accident scenarios you can prepare to expect the unexpected and hopefully avoid road accidents before they happen. Here are some examples of the most common motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.
This is sadly an all too common occurrence. You’re riding along, when suddenly a car pulls out of a side street into your path. You hit the brakes, but it’s too late. You go straight into the side of the car, maybe even thrown across the bonnet. The best way to prevent against someone pulling out on you from a junction is to pay extra attention to any vehicle waiting to come out of a junction. Look at the driver inside. Unless they are looking right at you, they may be about to pull out – so slow right down. In fact, even if they seem to have noticed you, it doesn’t mean that they have. Always expect the worst and act accordingly.
Unfortunately there is little you can do to prevent this from happening other than taking care to slow down gradually where possible. Sometimes, braking suddenly is unavoidable, so the responsibility to maintain a safe distance lies firmly with the car behind. The fact that the rider cannot see the vehicle until it is too late, along with the fact that the bike is usually stationary makes taking evasive action impossible.This most commonly happens when you have to stop suddenly, perhaps at a junction or traffic lights, and the third party is driving too close behind you. They smash into you from behind, hitting your back wheel and causing you to topple over.
If there is a car in front of you at a junction, it’s always a wise move to filter to the front of the queue, using any waiting cars as a buffer; it saves running the risk of being exposed and hit by a negligent driver. It’s also wise to adopt the safety position too; leaving your foot resting on the back brake lever, allowing the brake light to come on. It could warn the driver behind you of your presence.
Avoiding an accident of this kind is significantly more difficult if the driver turned without indicating first as there would have been no warning that the vehicle was about to turn. If you are overtaking traffic and you see a car indicating to turn right, do not assume that the driver has seen you. In fact, assume that they have not and slow right down to a crawl. This is the only way you can prevent this horrible accident from occurring.You are riding on the outside of a vehicle, perhaps in slow traffic or just overtaking, when the car suddenly turns right, cutting you off. You slam into the wing or driver’s door of the vehicle, smashing the front of your bike and potentially sustaining injury.
The best way to avoid this is to take due care Imagine the situation: you’re cruising along a gorgeous road, enjoying every moment of it until you approach a corner and see the unexpected – a car coming towards you on your side of the road. Drivers do cut corners and they do so regularly. No matter what speed you’re going, getting hit by a car in this situation is likely to result in an injury, minor at best.
The best way to avoid this is to take due care and attention through bends, always assuming that something will be cutting the corner. With that in mind, adjust your cornering line to suit the road, aiming for the tightest line possible. Having said that, it’s not always possible, due to debris on the road and other reasons but if you’re forced to use your brakes, you’ll want to get back upright as soon as possible before applying them, otherwise you may lose control altogether.
The best way to avoid these situations is to familiarize yourself with the potential blind spots of a car driver and avoid them at all costs. If you think you’re in one, then move into a position where you can clearly be seen.We’ve all seen this one done before: another vehicle deciding to join the fast lane without really looking – if they don’t see a pair of headlights, they assume it’s clear. In fact, sometimes drivers DO see you but misjudge the speed that you’re carrying and assume they can join the fast lane and get away before you catch up to them. You can lock up your brakes and throw yourself off the bike or hit the vehicle. No matter what speed you’re carrying, you’re likely to be left on the road and surrounded by fast moving traffic, none of which is ideal.
There are other tell-tale signs that a car may change lanes such as the cars movements; the driver may be checking their mirrors, causing the car to wander slightly – you could go one step further and actually look at what the driver is doing, if they’re moving their head around, it’s more than likely that they’re going to make a move.
In a situation like this your best bet is to be aware of the vehicle before the manoeuvre is made. If it’s going to make a move, use your horn and alert them. The horn should put a stop to the U-turn but you should be using your brakes already too. Prepare to come to a stop by progressively engaging both brakes. Don’t grab and pull or you may face a lock up. Apply the brakes and bring your motorcycle to a stop. Many riders suggest bailing and jumping off the bike altogether but it’s much safer to brake hard, even if a lock up is inevitable. Your brakes are capable of bringing you to a halt and you have to have faith in them. Even if you can’t stop completely, a slow speed ‘bump’ is much nicer than either a full-on collision or jumping from a motorcycle.This one is very similar to the situation above: it’s because of the lack of attention from the third party. The worrying thing about this scenario is that if the driver completes the U-turn, you’re going to hit the car straight on but if the car driver notices you mid-manoeuvre, they’ll panic and leave the car exactly where it is: casually parked across both lanes, with the driver looking like a startled deer in the head- lights. If you don’t act appropriately, you’ll smash into the car, no matter where it is on the road.
If the road ahead looked clear enough for you to overtake, you may’ve been able to look ahead and see the potential hazard and avoided it. If you couldn’t see them, you may have been able to read a road sign that warned of the upcoming junction. It’s always better to play it safe and read the road markings before making any decisions to overtake. If you don’t have enough visibility to judge any potential hazards, then don’t take any unnecessary risks.This accident can happen in a number of ways and it’s worth keeping in mind before you over take any vehicle. You’ve decided to overtake a car, you’ve judged the oncoming traffic and you’ve decided that it’s clear enough to make your move. As soon as you’ve successfully passed the car, you’re hit by another vehicle pulling out from a side street. That’s one scenario, the other is that you’re overtaking the car in front of you as you pass the junction and another vehicle pulls out on you and either hits you or hits both of you. In any case, the fault is with the car that has pulled out; especially as they were supposed to give way to oncoming vehicles. In this instance, they may have only seen the car and not registered the bike but how do you avoid the situation altogether?
This certainly isn’t an ideal situation to find yourself in and one that is completely avoidable. If you’ve decided to attempt an overtake during a bend and find yourself confronted by a vehicle coming from the other direction then you only have yourself to blame. The only situation where this could happen is if you’ve attempted to overtake a car on a straight and clear road and the car you’re overtaking has decided not to let you pass without a fight, leading you into a dangerous car with nowhere to go. The best way to avoid this situation is not to rise to the challenge.
Nine times out of ten, there won’t be a car approaching but typically the time you try is the time when a collision will happen. Always make sure that you overtake when the road in front of you is straight and clear, any other time could result in serious injury and even death.
To avoid situations like these, you should always leave plenty of room between yourself and the vehicle in front and move yourself out of the vehicles blind spot. Ideally, you should move yourself somewhere where the driver can see you in their mirrors. If the vehicle in front still decides to reverse, you’ll have time to deal with it. If the vehicle begins to reverse you should alert the driver with your horn as soon as you see the first glimpse of a reversing light. If you left ample room, you’ll be able to manoeuvre out of the situation.This scenario rarely results in serious injury but it is still a common problem. In slow moving or stationary traffic, occasionally, drivers will reverse and they’ll reverse without looking too. This is especially common from drivers of vans without rear windows or rear view mirrors. In situations like these, there is usually nothing you can do until the damage has been done.
If you keep in mind that many motorists have no idea how to navigate a roundabout properly, then you’ll be approaching the roundabout with caution. As long as you’re riding at an appropriate speed, are aware of what’s going on around you and assume that the driver’s don’t know what they’re doing, you should be able to avoid these situations.Statistics have shown that many motorists, motorcyclists and car drivers, are unaware of how to approach and navigate a roundabout properly. This is quite a frightening statistic but it’s worth keeping in mind. Here, the car has entered the roundabout on the inside lane, and has taken the opposite exit. For this maneuver, the driver should’ve been in the outside lane. The motorcycle is correctly positioned but now faces a collision with the car.
Avoiding accidents like these is tricky because no matter what decision you make, you’ll theoretically be ‘disrupting the flow of traffic’ – which is enough to make you fail your driving test! That is unless you swallow your pride and go around again, hoping the rest of the traffic is more aware than the last car. Sadly, not all roundabouts are big enough to allow you to make a split-second decision like that whilst under pressure, so the best course of action is to slow down and let the driver pass, allowing you to safely make your exit.This accident scenario is very common; it’s a frustration for all motorists, not just motorcyclists and it’s one that you should always be wary of. In the image, you can see what’s going on: the red car has left the junction in the wrong lane and has continued straight on into the path of the motorcyclist. As the motorcyclist moves to exit the roundabout, they’ll be greeted by the unwelcome presence of the car, more than likely resulting in a collision.
Of course, you can only do that if you’re aware that the driver has made an error. Make sure you keep any eye on your surroundings and pretend that everyone else is an idiot. In this case you’d be right, especially as most roads leading to roundabouts are clearly marked with massive white letters.
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