Safer Riding on Motorcycles

23 March 2016

Every year our Personal Injury Solicitors deal with thousands of road accident claims including motorbike accident claims from across the UK.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has produced some information on the 5 most common motorcycle accidents in the UK. RoSPAs in depth research has shown that most motorcycle accidents happen in the following scenarios:

  1. The condition of the road surface
  2. Losing control
  3. Collisions whilst overtaking
  4. Accidents at a junction
  5. Accidents on bends - particularly on country roads.

Riding a motorcycle is a skill, as is driving a car, and you will get better the more motorcycle riding you do. Your judgement in certain situations will improve, but by understanding some of the most common motorbike accident scenarios, you can be develop your knowledge and hopefully protect yourself when riding your motorbike.

The Condition of the Road Surface

The road surface can be affected because of many things. It could be the weather, a diesel spill or even the degraded road surface itself. Whatever the reason, when the surface of the road is changed, the amount of grip you have as a motorcyclist is reduced. Reduced grip, can result in a loss of control, one of the other 5 most common reasons for motorcycle accidents.

Whilst you can't see a diesel spill, you can look out for other warning signs that the road condition is not going to be good. By checking out the weather forecast before you leave home, you can be prepared for the weather you will be riding in. Where there are farms, there is likely to be mud on the road, which can also affect the amount of grip you may have.

Ensuring that the maintenance of your bike is up to scratch can also help. Your tyres should be in good condition, with a good tread depth and at the correct pressure.

Remember, whether you are a new motorcyclist or an experienced motorbike rider, giving yourself plenty of time to think about how you are going to react.

Losing Control

Road conditions, as detailed above, are the most common reason for losing control on the roads. Another common reason for losing control is from shunts, either you shunting the vehicle in front or the vehicle behind shunting you. You can provide yourself with some protection by increasing the distance between you and the vehicle in front to make sure that you have enough room to stop. Although it is difficult to protect yourself from a vehicle shunting you from behind, leave more room in front so if you are shunted, you don't hit the vehicle in front.

Collisions whilst Overtaking

Motorbikes offer such a great opportunity to get through traffic quickly and efficiently. However, overtaking on a motorbike is a skill and there are many considerations that need to made, usually very quickly.

The most important factor is the acceleration on your bike. You need to be absolutely clear in any and all situations that your bike will make the overtake you are attempting. This is certainly true when overtaking fast moving traffic, but when overtaking in stationery traffic around town centres, there are other things to think about.

Vehicles that are stopped can often stop you from seeing other vehicles pulling out of junctions, does not leave you with much space to take avoiding action if you need to and does not give you much time either. Just factor all of this into your overtake.

You shouldn't overtake at all when you are approaching:

  • A bend
  • A road junction
  • The brow of a hill or a dip in the road
  • A pedestrian crossing
  • Road signs or marking showing that overtaking is not allowed

Overtaking safely needs you to see all around you at all times during the overtake, so if anything will not give you the full picture you need, you shouldn't risk it.

Accidents at a Junction

A motorbike accident at a junction can happen for many different reasons. As covered earlier in overtaking, junctions can create problems for motorbikes in these circumstances. However, just the simple of act of pulling out from a junction can cause problems for motorbikes. 'Sorry mate, I didn't see you' is the most common phrase use by drivers who hit motorcyclists and therefore pulling out from a junction for a motorbike can be worrying.

From the reverse side, if a motorbike is travelling along a road, other road users often misjudge how much time they have to pull out and whoever causes the accident, it is likely to be you, the motorcyclist, who will be more affected.

Keep alert at all times when approaching a junction and be prepared to take action.

Accidents on Bends

There is nothing better than taking your motorbike out into the countryside and enjoying the freedom that a bike can offer you, but riding on country roads is different from riding in town. Bends also have a habit of either being longer, sharper or steeper than you first thought, particularly if you don't know the road well.

Where a bend is sharp, there are usually signs to indicate this but you can also look at markers at the side of the road to help you. By using trees, street lights and hedges you can get a longer view of how the road bends.

If you are not sure what the bend is like, you could just take your speed down as this will give you more time to think and to react.

Riding a motorbike is a great way to see the world from a different viewpoint – stay safe whilst you get this unique view.

Most personal injury claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.

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