California maintains some of the most scenic drives in the country. Whether traversing the famous Highway 1 along the Pacific coastline or heading east into the Rockies, drivers will encounter quite a few motorcycles.
The Golden State offers some of the best motorcycle driving available, with its constant warm weather and incredible scenery. Despite the fun of these open-aired vehicles, motorcyclists account for over 15% of motor vehicle deaths in California. How can Californians help keep these people safe?
Share the road with motorcycles
Responsible drivers take extra care when sharing the road with motorcycles. These quick and light-weight vehicles need additional consideration from their car and truck neighbors or suffer lethal consequences.
Drivers can follow these tips to help keep bikers safe:
- Give bikers more room: Even though motorcyclists can maneuver deftly in tight spaces, drivers should provide them more road than usual. Many motorists are unfamiliar with the way motorcycles turn or change lanes, requiring more reaction time to adjust for a bike’s moves.
- Watch blind spots: A car’s blind spot can hide an entire truck, so drivers must look specifically for smaller motorcycles. Over two-thirds of multi-vehicle accidents involving a motorcycle stem from a driver violating a biker’s right-of-way.
- No high beams: A car’s brights can blind almost anyone. Whereas a car driver may squint for a few seconds from the glare, a motorcyclist may lose control entirely. Take extra care when driving at night.
- Signal all turns: Bikers may require more time to recognize a car’s intent, even with an appropriate signal. Responsible drivers will signal all their maneuvers early to reduce risk.
- Be careful at intersections: Many motorcycle accidents occur through busy intersections, where the bulk of large vehicles can hide bikes that have the right of way. Travel through intersections slowly — the difference between 15 mph and 20 mph can save a life.
- Do not drink and drive: Driving while intoxicated puts every motorist at risk, but especially bikers. Nearly 5% of all motorcycle accidents are fatal — those odds only increase with alcohol.
Suffering from an accident? Consider legal action
Bikers suffering from injuries sustained in an accident with a car or truck may have questions about pursuing legal action. A local attorney familiar with California’s motor vehicle laws can assess one’s case, work through dense insurance paperwork and consult on a settlement agreement.