Rear-enders like the one in the video below, are the most common form of accident for motorcycles, but there are things you can do to prevent them including lane filtering where it’s legal.
This Seattle rider was not allowed to lane filter, but there are still things he could have done to avoid the crash.
Yes, he seems to check behind him, but his lane position wasn’t good.
“Once I hear the tires squealing, it’s already too late,” he says and he’s right.
Lane-filtering is proven to prevent a lot of those rear-enders. Thankfully more and more states and jurisdictions in Australia and around the world will introduce it.
But until all governments wake up to the practicality and safety of lane-filtering, motorcycle riders should take their own preventative measures. You don’t want to become another rear-ender statistic thanks to distracted drivers.
If you get rear-ended at the traffic lights on your motorcycle and you run into the back of the vehicle in front, you may be liable for the damage to that vehicle. You may even cop a traffic offence.
It seems unjust, but it can and has happened. You should leave a big enough gap between you and the vehicle in front.
Here are five tips to avoid rear-enders
- As you slow down for traffic lights or in slow-moving commuter traffic, try to attract the attention of the driver behind you by slightly weaving in your lane and dabbing at the brakes so your brake lights flash on and off. A lot of riders do their slowing down with gears and don’t activate the brake lights until the last second, so think about riding the rear brake lightly just to activate the light. You can also fit auxiliary brake lights to your bike or install brighter bulbs, but check the legality in your jurisdiction first. Always check your brake lights are being activated by both the hand and foot levers before leaving home.
- When you stop, leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front. If you are sitting right on the bumper of the vehicle in front you will not have enough space to manoeuvre out and around if required in an emergency.
- Always check your mirrors as you slow down to see if the vehicle behind you is also slowing. While waiting at the lights or in a traffic queue, it’s an idea to keep a check on what’s happening behind you. Make sure your mirrors are clean.
- Stay in gear in case you need to suddenly accelerate out of harm’s way. It doesn’t burn the clutch to leave it engaged for the duration of a change of lights. Keep your right foot on the brake, left foot on the ground and your bike in first gear.
- Look for an escape route. Either pull over to the left or right wheel track and scan where you would head if you suddenly had to escape a distracted vehicle behind you. It may be illegal but probably safer to undertake the stopped vehicle in front. Otherwise, slip between lanes, if allowed, rather than going out and around the vehicle into oncoming traffic.