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10 Tips to Avoid Becoming a Motorcycle Accident Casualty
It may come as a surprise to learn that more motorcyclists have cause to make motorcycle accident compensation claims as a result of accidents in the summer, than in the winter. However, winter biking does bring challenges all of its own, as we discuss in this article.
Added 19th October, 2018
The nights are drawing in, the mornings taking longer to get light. Grey skies and wet roads have started to make an appearance again. It can mean only one thing. We are moving inexorably towards the Winter. Well, Autumn first, but after a long, hot, dry Summer it is all going to take a bit of getting used to.
The days of having to put the aircon on to cool the interior of the car down before you set off on your journey, of throwing back the roof if you are lucky enough to own a convertible or for a motorcyclist, of jumping on your machine for a ride along endlessly sun kissed country roads, are coming to an end for another half year.
What of motorcycling in the Autumn and Winter months? At least for four wheeled motorists, when the weather turns wet and cold, the aircon can be put to its winter warmth settings and windscreen wipers put on at full speed, for that early morning drive to work. Not so the motorcyclists amongst us.
Let’s though first of all get rid of a bit of a myth. Most people would probably guess that there are more motorcycle accidents in the bad weather of the Winter months. Actually, it is pretty universally accepted and the statistics back this up, that there are more accidents involving motorcyclists in the summer months than the winter ones. This is perceived to be due to the fact that the drier, warmer weather encourages more bikers onto the roads from April through until the end of September. So in effect, the more bikers on the road, the more accidents.
It appears that motorcyclists break down into three seasonal categories;
- All season, all weather riders – highest accident liabilities;
- Summer all weather riders – 41% less likely to have an accident that category 1 riders;
- Summer occasional riders -59% less likely to have an accident than category 1 riders.
Safety Tips for Winter Motorcyclists
To minimise the risk of becoming a casualty there are a number of safeguards that as a motorcyclist you can take;
- Before you set off, check the temperature. Invest in and wear suitably warm clothing as the weather dictates. Don’t leave any part of your skin exposed. The wind chill factor is an extra hazard to be considered by motorcyclists. What might be a temperature above freezing according to the thermometer, with the wind added, the ‘feels like temperature’ when you are going at say 40mph, can soon feel like well below freezing. This can affect your riding ability considerably.
- Wear reflective clothing or a high visibility jacket. They days are shorter and generally darker in the winter months. Avoid allowing your lack of visibility to other road users, make you more vulnerable.
- Before you take a trip – check your T-CLOCS – Tyres, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis and Stands.
- Don’t forget your helmet, a motorcyclists most important piece of equipment. Rule 83 of the Highway Code confirms that a helmet is a must (save for Sikhs who wear a turban). Check the visor is clean.
- Get your engine running and keep it running for a while before you set off.
- Once you get underway, take it easy. If there is any sign of ice or snow or if it is raining, take it particularly easy. As your tyres warm up they will grip somewhat better than when cold, so don’t rush. This sounds obvious advice, but the difference between skidding on two wheels to four is obvious and even at slow speeds, coming off the bike because of losing control can cause serious injuries to you, the rider.
- Increase your braking distance in snow or wet or icy conditions.
- Signal earlier than you would in the light dry summer conditions. Make sure you do all you can to be seen.
- Ease off the throttle.
- Don’t get on the bike impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Obvious recommendations? Too obvious perhaps. However, as many as a quarter of all motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries result from accidents where there is no other vehicle involved, it is safe to assume that some of those accidents could have been avoided by heeding some of the suggestions outlined above.
Non-Fault Motorcycle Accidents
There are only so many precautions that motorcyclists can take to avoid being the cause of an accident. As motorcycle accident compensation solicitors, here at Bridge McFarland we have dealt with large numbers of non-fault motorcycle accident claims for riders who have sustained some very serious injuries in road traffic accidents. An accident at say 20mph between two four wheeled vehicles can be serious or it can result in minimal personal injury to both drivers, depending on the circumstances. At the same speeds when one of the parties is a motorcyclist, an injury to the rider of the bike is almost invariably going to happen and could even prove fatal.
Here are two of the more common causes of motorcycle accidents where the other driver is at fault;
1. Collisions at junctions
As solicitors, the vulnerability of motorcyclists is perhaps brought home to us most, when we are asked to attend inquests into the deaths of motorcyclists. More often than not, the cause of the death of the rider has been that has been hit by a vehicle emerging from a junction. Often no high speeds are involved. Simply, but tragically, driver error on the part of the emerging vehicle driver, is the cause. 30 motorcyclists are killed or injured at road junctions each day! There are only so many precautions the biker can take. Research has shown that whilst most drivers think that motorcycle accidents are caused by excessive speed on the part of the bike rider, but half of all accidents involving motorbike riders, who are either killed or injured, happen at junctions.
2. Overtaking collisions
Some motorists seem to get infuriated when motorcycles are able to weave in and out of traffic queues on motorways or dual carriageways in particular. These types of manoeuvres by motorbike riders is known as ‘filtering.’ Whilst incidents of deliberate actions by motorists to block the path of filtering motorcycles are fortunately rare, there have been studies that suggest that, ‘it seems that motorcyclists are, as it were, ‘subverting’ other drivers’ expectations of how traffic behaves, in some cases’. In plain English, an example of this would be, where the driver of a vehicle pulls out of a line of stationary traffic to perform a ‘U’ turn, believing that as there are already a number of stationary vehicles waiting behind him, there could be nothing else coming up from behind. He did not look properly because he was conditioned to believe that nothing else could be coming from behind. Everything was stationary.
3. Collisions as a result of potholes or other road defects
Potholes, or road surfaces that are otherwise damaged, present a serious danger to motorcyclists. Such is the danger that one advanced motorcycle group in Kent found that 1 in 7 of their members had been injured as a result of coming off their vehicles due to potholes or other faults in the road surface on Kent roads. What may be a hindrance for car drivers, or even passed over unnoticed by lorries, could be the cause of a fatal injury for a motorcyclist.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was the fault of another road user or was caused by a defect on a public road, then the personal injury solicitors at Bridge McFarland solicitors, will be able to help you to pursue a motorcycle accident compensation claim. The personal injury team have years of experience of dealing with motorbike accident claims. In addition to recovering compensation for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, they can also recover any loss of earnings that you have suffered, hospital fees, costs of repairs or the value of your damaged vehicle, and indeed any other losses that you have suffered as a result of the accident. Contact the personal injury team at our Hull office on 01482 320620 or at our Grimsby office on 01472 311711.
Alternatively email email@example.com and we’ll get straight back to you. Our initial consultation with you will be free of charge and with no obligation on your part. If we believe that you have a case, then we’ll be pleased to deal with your personal injury claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.