Hey Upstate New York bikers, it’s that time of year again. You’ve probably taken your motorcycle out of storage, tuned it up, wiped it down, and taken a few rides. Good for you. Now all you need is to freshen up on safety. You might think (cynically) that New York motorcycle accident lawyers like us would rather wait for you to have the accident and then turn a profit off of your suffering. No! Believe me, we have plenty of work, and we would rather save a life than add one more case to our portfolio.
Knowledge is power. If you know how most Upstate New York motorcycle accidents happen, you are more likely to avoid them. So are you curious to know the most common types of motorcycle accidents here in Upstate New York, including the Syracuse and Rochester areas? Thought so. Here they are:
Head-On Collision As Car Turns Left
This is a deadly but common type of collision. Why do deadly? Because the g-force of your body hitting the hood of the oncoming car includes both the speed of the car and your own speed. So if you were traveling 20 miles per hour and the car 40 miles per hour, that’s 60 miles per hour of force. That’s why more than half of head-on collisions result in death to the biker. Many of these collisions happen because the left-turning car driver does not notice the approaching bike. How to avoid? Approach all intersections with trepidation and reduced speed. Get ready to brake or steer clear in case that car suddenly turns in front of you. Be ready at intersections! Don’t trust that car with his signal on actually SEES you!
Motorcycle Overtaking Car
Your bike’s smaller size means it is often overlooked by car and truck drivers. Your bike is “hiding in plain sight”. When you, the biker, try to pass a slower moving line of vehicles, one of the vehicles in the line may move over to the left in an attempt to pass also, and cut you off. The vehicle’s driver would have looked in the rear-view and side-view mirror first, but will not have noticed your bike. The best way to avoid this type of accident is simply not to pass vehicles lined up in front of you. If you are not in a hurry, just play it cool. If you really need to get somewhere, make your move, but as you pass each vehicle, be ready to either decelerate or accelerate quickly if a vehicle starts moving over to the left to cut you off or strike you.
Believe it or not, some bikers still do this, even though it is against the law. It usually happens in urban areas in traffic jams. Driving the narrow channel between lanes of vehicles is dangerous because no one expects you to be there. You just appear “out of the blue” from behind and to the side of those vehicles. If any of them move just a little to the right or left, or open their door for any reason, the biker is down. There is no safe way to lane split! If you do it, you are asking for trouble. And guess what: If you call us after an accident caused by your lane-splitting, we may have to reject your case since the accident will have been largely if not wholly your fault!
Alcohol Use. There is something about biking and drinking that, for some motor heads, go hand in hand. Beautiful summer day. Beautiful ride. Why not stop to enjoy a beer or two at the Dinosaur Barbecue in Syracuse? Or at the Lakehouse Pub in Skaneateles? Here’s why not: Approximately 50 percent of all motorcycle accidents involve alcohol use combined with going too fast. You need all your agility and wherewithal to compete with those bigger vehicles on the road. It’s a war zone out there! Don’t slow your mind and body reaction time by imbibing. Just don’t!
Hitting Fixed Objects
Believe it or not, some bikers just fly off the road and hit a fixed object like a telephone pole, a sign, a parked car, or some other fixed object. This accounts for about ¼ of all motorcycle accidents in upstate New York. Why? Usually the biker is going too fast around a curve or is just distracting from paying attention to the road. Solution? Slow down and pay attention! Once in a while a defective roadway design or bad road maintenance could be partly to blame. If you are unfortunate enough to end up in an accident like this, your motorcycle accident lawyer will investigate the roadway for potential claims.
Road Surface Hazards
This time of year, spring, the road surfaces in areas like Upstate New York, including the Syracuse and Rochester areas, are often hazardous for bikers. Many local and county roads are strewn with potholes. Others have gravel and oil laid out on them. Winter has taken its toll on the roads, and the municipalities are not so quick to fix them. Your tax dollars at work (not)! Bikers can get hurt either hitting a pothole, or trying to avoid one, and they can slip and slide on gravel, oil, and wet surfaces. The only way to avoid getting hurt by lousy road surfaces is by paying attention, slowing down, and expecting the unexpected, especially in spring conditions.
Conclusion: Most, but not all, motorcycle accidents can be avoided by the smart, careful, knowledgeable biker. Drive responsibly. But if you are hurt in an Upstate New York motorcycle accident, give us a call. We can likely help you recover your lost income, get your medical bills paid, and get you fair compensation for your injuries.