Two phrases we hear most often when it comes to motorcycle blind spot accidents...
"I didn't see them!" or "They came out of nowhere!"
Blind spots are classified as any area a driver can't see in their rear-view or side mirrors. While this area is different for all vehicles and all drivers, the result of an accident can be detrimental for all parties involved.
If two cars collide while changing lanes, the damage may be minimal. However, if a vehicle collides with a motorcycle while changing lanes, the motorcyclists could sustain life-threatening injuries.
Colorado car accident fatality rates are increasing. In 2019, there were 103 motorcycle fatalities in Colorado. And even though they only represent 3% of the vehicles on the road, they made up 23% of all deaths on Colorado roadways. Motorcycle accident statistics show that driver negligence and distracted driving of other drivers contributes significantly toward motorcycle accidents and deaths.
Whether you're a motorcyclist or a motorist, before you hit the road, take a minute to learn about blind spots, where they are on vehicles, and how motorcycle accidents can be prevented by knowing this information. It could save a life.
Generally, blind spots for any motorcycle are directly behind them, to the back-left, and the back-right. However, like other vehicles, a motorcycle's blind spots will depend on the style of bike and type of mirrors.
Statistics show that most motorcycle accidents occur when a vehicle driver fails to see the motorcyclist. However, there are accidents that are caused by motorcyclists who fail to check their blind spots, over-break, over-correct, or use excessive speed.
As a motorcyclist, you're at a higher risk of catastrophic injury if involved in an auto accident. It's vital to know your blind spots and check them frequently while on the road.
Due to its smaller size and narrow profile, motorcycles are at a higher risk of being in a blind spot accident than other vehicles.
The best way for motorcyclists to minimize blind spot accidents is to obviously stay out of blind spots. However, blind spot locations are different for every type of vehicle. Here are a few bind spot locations to be aware of if you're a motorcyclist on the road:
Blind spots for most passenger vehicles include the areas directly next to a car and the area near the back of the car towards the adjacent lane. If you're driving a motorcycle and cannot see the driver's face or side-view mirrors in a passenger vehicle, then assume they cannot see you. You are likely in a blind spot and need to back up at least 20 feet or pass quickly to get in front of them.
SUVs have similar blind spots as passenger vehicles but it's important to note that the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. SUVs often have other body-style features that create more blind spots. For instance, the front blind zone is between five and ten feet, this is almost three times larger than passenger vehicles and compact cars.
There are signs on tractor-trailers and semi-trucks that read, "Stay approximately 200 feet behind this vehicle." That means that not only are their blind spots much larger and wider on the sides, but also in the front and back. Larger trucks also present more potentially hazardous situations for motorcyclists because they have fixed mirrors and take longer to stop and make turns.
It's best to stay far back from large trucks. Not only to stay out of their blind spot but these trucks tend to kick up rocks and debris at a rapid pace.
Despite their small frame and open body style, motorcycles have plenty of blind spots as well. The most common blind spots for motorcycles are directly behind them, to the rear-left, and the rear-right.
Blind spots are often the right and left rear of a vehicle. But a blind spot is defined as any area where the driver has no direct line of sight in their mirrors. Based on their design and bodywork, vehicles can have many blind spots.
All vehicles and drivers have blind spots, and these blind areas are different for everyone. You can check your blind spots by physically looking over your shoulder to ensure nothing is behind your vehicle when merging into traffic or changing lanes. In some models of vehicles, you can safely do this with the window up, in other models, it's best to have the window rolled down.
There are also vehicles that are equipped with technology that allows you to see all aspects of the back-end. When parked, you can use this in addition to your mirrors to check your blind spots. If this technology is installed, then there's a good chance that your vehicle also has alerts installed while driving to let you know if a vehicle is too close or if there is another vehicle coming up on the side of your vehicle.
While this technology comes in handy, it's always best to double-check your blind spots and not rely solely on technology.
In order to prevent blind spot motorcycle accidents, motorcyclists are not the only ones who need to be aware of their surroundings. Drivers of other vehicles must also be on high alert and follow important safety precautions while on the road.
Stay alert – Being cautious and aware of your surroundings is often lifesaving. It's easy to miss smaller vehicles like motorcycles when you're driving down a highway or back-road.
Adjust mirrors – Every vehicle and driver have different blind spots. Depending on your and the vehicle's mirror placement, you need to check – and possibly adjust- your rear-view and side view mirrors every time you get behind the wheel.
Use Turn Signals – Aside from being aware of your surroundings, using blinkers for lane changes and turns is one of the best ways to avoid auto accidents. By signaling your anticipated move, other drivers can do their part in slowing down and preventing accidents.
Check your blind spots – Before merging into traffic or changing lanes, look over your shoulder to check your blind spots. Although you've adjusted your mirrors, these spots are called “blind spots” for a reason – they are not always visible when using mirrors alone!
Watch your speed – Speed is a contributing factor to thousands of auto accidents and deaths every year. To a motorcyclist who does not have a seatbelt, airbags, or any other safety feature, speeding can be detrimental.
Be aware of your surroundings. Although this is an obvious tip, it's also the most important in avoiding accidents. Awareness not only helps your vision, but also your perception.
Here are a few tips to stay safe on your motorcycle this summer:
Don't ride in blind spots – Blind spots on vehicles are the left and right rear. Rather than riding on the side of another vehicle, try to ride in front of it or at least 20 feet behind.
Watch the wheels – Not all motorists know how to use a turn signal or know that their brake lights aren't working. When you watch the wheels of a vehicle, you can often anticipate their next move.
Make yourself known – You don't have to honk your horn or rev your engine to let other drivers know you're there. You can simply wear brighter colored clothing and keep your headlights on at all times.
Make passing a fast act – If you're going to pass another vehicle, make it quick so that you're not in their blind spot for long. Don't ride in the blind spot of another vehicle. Either pass the vehicle or hang back and wait until there is an opportunity to do so.
Make your bike louder – Not everyone loves the sound of a loud bike but the loud noise can help other drivers realize that you are there.
A driver's inability to see a motorcyclist is not a valid excuse when it comes blind spot accidents. When a motorcyclist is involved in an auto accident, statistics show that they often sustain serious injuries related to their head or back. Concussions, broken bones and joints, nerve damage, and soft tissue injuries are often reported.
Despite your safety measures on the road, there are still instances where you fall victim to less cautious motorists. If you've suffered from injuries related to a motorcycle accident, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help. You deserve to be compensated for all losses!
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Colorado, and that injury or injuries resulted from the negligence of another driver, contact a Denver motorcycle accident lawyer from Anderson Hemmat.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help investigate your claim and seek full financial compensation for things like motorcycle repair costs, medical bills, and even emotional trauma you may have suffered.
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