California Road Hazards for Motorcycles
Even though operating a motorcycle can be an exhilarating and freeing experience, it can also be incredibly dangerous for riders and passengers. Motorcyclists lack the same types of protections that those inside traditional passenger vehicles have. Here, our Sacramento motorcycle accident attorneys want to discuss the main dangers that motorcyclists in California need to be aware of. Hazards caused by other drivers and hazards on the actual roadway can present significant dangers to motorcyclists in this state.
Common Roadway Hazards Motorcyclists Experience in California
Motorcycle accidents are not uncommon in California. Data provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety shows us that there are more than 870,000 total motorcycles registered in this state. That is more than any other state in the country. However, during the latest reporting year of data on file, there were nearly 13,000 total motorcycle accident injuries. Unfortunately, 451 total motorcycle operators lost their lives that same year.
- Blind spot issues. Passenger vehicles have blind spots, and this can be detrimental to motorcyclists. Because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, the effects of blind spots are more pronounced. Drivers may not see motorcyclists operating in their blind spot, which can lead to disaster when it comes to lane changes.
- Speeding. When another driver or a motorcyclist is speeding, the risk of an accident significantly increases. Operating too fast for conditions shortens the amount of time that drivers have to react to sudden changes on the roadway. Additionally, higher speeds also mean more significant impacts in the event a collision occurs. This can lead to catastrophic injuries.
- Impaired drivers. Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs are much more likely to be involved in accidents. Impairment slows down a person’s reaction time and often causes drivers to speed or operate recklessly.
- Distracted drivers. There are various ways that drivers can become distracted on the roadway, and this can lead to serious collisions. Some of the most common distractions include cell phones or other electronic devices, eating or drinking, talking to others in the vehicle, pets, etc.
Aside from careless and negligent drivers, motorcyclists face many hazards on the actual roadways themselves. This can include the following:
- Obstacles on the roadway. Obstacles in the roadway create hazards for every driver, but this is especially true for motorcyclists. Motorcycles need both wheels on the ground in order to remain stable, but an obstacle can cause a motorcyclist to have to swerve, and they could lose traction. Some common obstacles include construction debris, blown tires, animal carcasses, tree limbs, and more.
- Potholes. Potholes are a nuisance for most drivers, and they can be detrimental for motorcyclists. Poorly maintained roadways can lead to a motorcyclist crashing their bike if the roadway issue is significant.
- Loose gravel. Loose gravel often accumulates towards the sides of the roads, around curves, and at intersections. Loose gravel can also cause a motorcycle to lose traction much more easily than it does with other types of vehicles.
- Bad weather. Bad weather, including rain, fog, snow, ice, sleet, and high winds, all pose more risks for motorcyclists than other motorists on the roadway.
We strongly encourage all motorcyclists in California to wear appropriate safety gear, including helmets, eyewear, and clothing that can resist road rash in the event a collision occurs. Additionally, all motorcyclists should practice defensive driving tactics at all times and should be aware of changing roadway conditions or sudden changes in traffic.