Recently I handled a Kootenai County motorcycle death case which involved one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents; namely, when a car turns left in front of a person driving the motorcycle. The general category of the cause of the crash is that the car driver is looking for the absence of cars, not the presence of motorcycles. In other words, his mental radar is tuned only for cars, not motorcycles.
There can be several causes of this inattention – distraction, blind spots or the psychology of the driver.
HOW TO AVOID THESE CRASHES
The motorcycle driver must be continually on the lookout for this careless driving on the part of automobile operators. The motorcycle driver may have the right of way at a stop sign, but being legally in the right will not prevent a potentially catastrophic injury. Pay special attention to a car that is stopped at an intersection waiting to turn. It might be best to slow down and be prepared to apply your brakes in an instant.
A gap in traffic may also be a warning that an automobile will soon be turning without observing your motorcycle. The presence of trees and shrubs can also impede the visibility of your motorcycle, and thereby make a crash more likely.
Pat attention to the automobile’s wheels even more than the automobile. The position of the wheels will telegraph what the driver’s next step may be.
WHAT NOT TO DO
The worst thing that a biker can do is quickly speed up in the hope of avoiding a collision. The is a gamble in which the losing vehicle will pay a high price in terms of vehicle damage and, in the case of a motorcyclist, may result in serious injury or even death.