It’s that time of year again—the sunshine and warmer weather bring out more types of road users, including cyclists and motorcyclists. Unfortunately, that also means we will see an increase in bike accident and motorcycle accident claims as summer approaches.
Vehicle drivers are not always paying careful attention to their surroundings, and after the long winter, they may not be in the habit of looking for two-wheeled objects. Every vehicle on the road has blind spots, and smaller road users can be easily unseen.
No matter how “careful” everyone tries to be, accidents still happen! Unfortunate situations can be avoided by understanding the importance of sharing the road with other drivers and by cyclists and motorcyclists exercising caution instead of necessarily pressing their right of way. For vehicle drivers, being conscious of cyclists and motorcyclists and respecting their space will help make the roads safer for everyone and will help prevent bike accidents.
Common situations where motorcyclists/cyclists right of way is overlooked:
Cyclists are particularly vulnerable on the roads, so it’s essential that other drivers remain especially vigilant and cautious. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. What are some of the most common causes of cyclist accidents?
- Bike lanes: If you live in Edmonton, these are clearly your nightmare! Bicycles are treated as any other vehicle when they are on the road, but the presence of bike lanes often creates confusion, especially when turning or at intersections.
- “Doorings”: When a parked vehicle opens their door into the path of a cyclist, striking them. Be cautious in the ‘door zone,” a one-metre area along the side of a parked car where an opening door can hit and seriously injure riders.
- Passing: Far too often, drivers don’t exercise enough caution when passing, changing lanes, or merging alongside cyclists.
- Misjudging speed: Smaller vehicles, like motorcycles or bicycles, may look farther away than they actually are. Accidents involving cyclists often happen when vehicles are turning because drivers frequently misjudge the speed of oncoming cyclists or motorcyclists.
Why are cyclists/motorcyclists vulnerable to a higher severity of injuries?
It is important to remember that bikes and motorcycles do not have the same safety systems as cars. In the event of a collision, cyclists and motorcyclists are usually left with more serious injuries than others in vehicles.
Motorcycle crashes can be devastating, with some of the worst injuries being traumatic brain injuries or even death. However, there are other serious and painful injuries that commonly occur too. These include pain and suffering from neck injuries, road rash, damage to arms and legs, and muscle and soft tissue damage. If you are a motorcycle accident victim, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
What to do if you’ve been in an accident?
If you are ever involved in a motorcycle or bicycle accident, it’s important to remember the same steps you would normally take for any motor vehicle crash. If possible, pull over to a safe location, and be sure to call for police and medical help if needed. Don’t forget to exchange insurance information with all parties involved. Gather as much evidence as you can immediately after the collision.
Pictures of the scene, skid marks on the road, witness statements, and evidence of the damage from the vehicle—this can all go a long way towards proving that you were not liable for the collision. There is often a presumption of negligence that occurs AGAINST the cyclist or motorcyclist. Don’t be daunted by that.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle or bicycle accident, contact the injury lawyers at Robinson LLP for a free consultation immediately. We know what avenues to investigate and how to ensure that your motorcycle accident claim is not compromised by an at fault party, lack of evidence, poor police reconstructions, or bias against motorcyclists.
Tips for motorcyclists/cyclists:
- Wear a helmet and all proper safety riding attire, including reflective clothing.
- Do not drive distracted or impaired.
- Avoid riding in the blind spots of other vehicles.
- Stay aware at all times and constantly scan the road for hazards.
Tips for other drivers:
- Check your mirrors and blind spots before turning, changing lanes, passing or merging.
- Constantly be aware of the presence of motorcyclists and cyclists, especially when approaching intersections.
- If you can’t pass a motorcyclist or cyclist safely with a full lane between you and them, slow down as you would for any other vehicle and wait until it’s safe to pass.
- When parking on the street, check for riders before exiting your vehicle.
- Never underestimate the speed of a bicycle or motorcycle. Their size makes their speed deceptive.
At Robinson LLP, we often see our clients suffer greatly in motorcycle accident cases. When you’re out on your bike, safety should always be a top priority. If the worst, unfortunately, does happen, obtaining proper compensation for a motorcycle injury claim is critical for getting back on your feet.
Speak with one of our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.