(Contributed post for our Southern California readers)
If you ride a motorcycle in Orange County or anywhere else in southern California, you know that it’s dangerous. With their high-speed capabilities and minimal frames, motorcycles offer their riders little protection. Because of this, even a minor motorcycle accident can result in severe injuries. We’ve compiled a list of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents on the California freeways. If you do ride a bike, wear your helmet and body protection.
Ten Common Causes of California Motorcycle Collisions
There are many hazards for motorcyclists—always from other drivers, but also often from themselves.
1. Improper or unsafe lane changes
When you’re riding a motorcycle, drivers frequently don’t see your minimal profile. When you change lanes, it’s important that you’re not relying on other drivers to break or to expand the gap you’re moving into. If you don’t have a wide berth, remain in your lane.
2. Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
There’s no doubt about it. Bikes are fast. But they’re also harder to control at higher speeds. You can also override your headlights, which means that things can appear in the road too quickly for you to react. In addition to causing motorcycle accidents, speed can make accidents more dangerous.
3. Drunk driving
When a car driver is drunk, they endanger everyone on the road. While motorcyclists are also a danger to other drivers, the primary peril is to themselves. Alcohol affects coordination and slows reaction times.
4. Lane splitting
This occurs when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes, usually to avoid traffic. The danger comes when cars suddenly shift lanes, blocking the motorcyclist’s path or squeezing the gap.
5. Car doors opening
Many drivers forget to check their side mirror before opening the door. If they don’t hear a motorcyclist, they’re likely to block the rider’s path with the door. This is also dangerous for bicyclists and skaters.
6. Rear-end collisions
If you stop suddenly, there’s a good chance that an inattentive driver will continue forward or notice you too late and strike you from the rear. This is one of the most common types of vehicle accidents.
7. Inexperienced motorcyclists
Newer motorcyclists are more prone to accidents. Riding a motorcycle is a skill that takes time to develop. When you’re learning, stay off of busy roadways and try to ride during slower times.
8. Left-turn intersection accidents
Intersections are dangerous, but when you add to it the smaller profile of a motorcycle, they can be a nightmare. Statistically, making a left turn is the most dangerous type of turn at an intersection.
9. Road hazards
From construction sites to potholes to inconsistent surfaces, when you’re on two wheels as opposed to four, the smallest inconsistency can cause a rider to lose balance and lose control.
10. Defective equipment
Having properly maintained equipment is always important on the road, but when you’re riding a motorcycle, having even a minor malfunction can cause your bike to throw you, causing a hazardous situation.