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With the summer months in full swing, many motorcyclists are getting out and enjoying the freedom of the open road.
However, as we all know, bikers face many risks that aren’t shared by other drivers on the road. In fact, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable road users and are more likely to be involved in certain types of road accidents.
Tim Blackwell, specialist personal injury solicitor from our Southampton team, is also a trustee of the charity DocBike, a national charity working to eradicate motorcycle deaths and serious injuries. It does this through training, education, and research into injury prevention and critical roadside care.
“More than 19,000 motorcyclists are injured every year in the UK, and yet with increased knowledge and awareness by all road users, many of these injuries could be prevented.
“DocBike not only provides training for bikers but also provides highly qualified doctors or critical care paramedics to reduce serious injuries among motorcyclists, but we can all play our part by educating ourselves about the dangers.”
5 most common motorcycling hazards
Here, Tim explains 5 of the main hazards for motorcyclists on UK roads and offers advice on how we can all drive more considerately.
Overtaking is a major cause of motorcycling collisions.
As a motorcyclist it is important that you can see the road ahead of you clearly before you go to overtake. If you are on a bend in the road or near a junction you should always avoid overtaking.
Drivers of other vehicles should ensure that if they are overtaking a motorcyclist, they give bikers the same amount of room as if they were overtaking another car.
Motorcycling crashes can also occur if motorists fail to observe motorcyclists properly. As smaller vehicles, motorbikes are able to move and overtake in ways that other larger vehicles can’t, this can cause drivers to collide with filtering motorcyclists when they fail to see their approach.
Government statistics on motorcycling accidents gathered from 2015-2020 show that 34% of all seriously injured and 37% of slightly injured casualties occur at or within 20m of a junction.
Common situations where motorcycling collisions occur are crossroads and T, Y, or staggered junctions when drivers fail to give way or stop for motorcyclists.
Another common cause of motorcycle crashes is when vehicles are turning right into a junction and into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist from the biker’s right.
It is vital that drivers look out for motorbikes at all times and remain alert at junctions by checking mirrors and checking in each direction carefully to see if there is a motorcycle approaching before turning.
Accidents at junctions are more likely to happen at rush hour in the early morning or late afternoon when there is more traffic on the roads.
Tips for motorcyclists at junctions include:
- Observe any waiting cars to see if the driver is looking, which direction the wheels are facing and whether the wheels are moving at all.
- Slow down and move towards the centre of the road if possible, to give just that little bit more space to respond.
- When overtaking slow moving or stationary traffic look out for indicators suggesting a turning vehicle.
- Slow down and ensure that your headlight is on low beam.
- Always wear high visibility clothing or helmet.
Vehicles ‘rear-ending’ bikers
A rear-end collision is when a vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle in front of it. It is a common motorcycle hazard that can seriously injure or even kill a biker.
All road users can reduce the chances of a rear-end collision by leaving plenty of space between their vehicle and the one in front of them.
When stopping at traffic lights or at the end of a junction, pull up in front of other vehicles or alongside them to avoid being trapped in between cars.
Motorcycle fatalities at roundabouts represent 3% of all fatalities and 8% of all serious injuries. Common scenarios include a vehicle changing lane without seeing a motorcyclist or being in the wrong lane and trying to exit across a motorcyclist.
If you are a driver or a motorcyclist and you find yourself in the wrong lane at a roundabout, it’s best to go around again and get into the right lane before exiting.
Just be aware of what others are doing on the roundabout. Clearly indicate your intentions and try to judge what others are going to do as far as you can.
Slow or stationary traffic
When overtaking a line of stationary or slow-moving traffic be aware of other vehicles just in case they pull out suddenly.
Check if other vehicles are signalling or have their wheels turned in a certain direction. If you choose to overtake, make sure you do so at a slow speed and make sure that you can brake quickly if necessary.
Other drivers should always check their mirrors to look out for motorcyclists and indicate before pulling out from a line of slow-moving traffic.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycling collision that wasn’t your fault, it is important to speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor who specialises in motorcycling accident compensation claims. This ensures you receive the best medical treatment, rehabilitation and support available, and secure maximum compensation.
Our solicitors have many years of experience helping motorcyclists secure compensation. To book a free, no obligation chat with us, call 0800 884 0777, email email@example.com or complete our online enquiry form.