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Common Road Hazards for Motorcyclists

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Posted By Legal Team | April 22 2024 | Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists enjoy the thrill of the open air as they take in scenic weekend rides or conserve gas by riding to work or school. Unfortunately, the same qualities that make motorcycling an exhilarating experience also leave motorcyclists at risk of grave injuries in a crash. Sadly, motorcyclists face many hazards when riding the roadways in both urban and rural settings. Some hazards come from motorists, but others are road hazards from unsafe roadway conditions. Without the protection of surrounding metal and plastic, what would be just a fender-bender or a rough bump from a pothole in a car causes devastating impacts on a motorcyclist.

Before you enjoy an open-air experience on the open road, it helps to be aware of common road hazards for motorcyclists as seen by our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers.

Dangers to Motorcyclists in Urban Areas

Most motorcycle accidents occur in urban areas despite the fact that most motorcyclists travel at slower speeds in urban settings. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) warns motorcyclists that 72% of motorcycle crashes occur in intersections. Common causes of motorcycle accidents in city settings include the following:

  • Drivers fail to yield the right of way in an intersection
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating (drivers fail to leave adequate stopping distance between the front of their vehicle and the motorcycle in front of them
  • Driver left-turn accidents (drivers making a left turn looking to their right and failing to see a motorcyclist approaching from the left
  • Drivers making unsafe lane changes
  • Car door accidents (drivers parking on the roadside and opening the driver’s side door into the path of an approaching motorcyclist
  • Oil or chemical spills causing slick spots in the road

Some studies show that the slim, two-wheeled design of motorcycles make them more difficult for drivers to see and to accurately judge speed. However, motorists have a duty to take all reasonable measures to avoid causing injuries to motorcyclists sharing the roads. High traffic conditions and close proximity to other vehicles in urban areas increase the risk of motorcycle accidents. They also face an increased risk of accidents due to the presence of pedestrians, scooters, and commercial trucks in close traffic conditions that don’t allow easy maneuverability to avoid collisions.

Motorcycle Dangers in Rural Settings

Only around 10% of motorcycle accidents occur in rural settings, but as many as 42% of fatal accidents occur in rural areas. This disproportionately high number of fatalities may be due to the higher speeds at which riders travel on open, rural highways. Despite less traffic congestion and fewer intersections, rural routes also prevent hazards to motorcyclists including the following common road hazards:

  • Road debris
  • Loose gravel
  • Potholes
  • Sharp curves
  • Blind driveways
  • Grass clippings on the roadway
  • Animal crossings
  • Railway crossings
  • Highway hypnosis (becoming deep in thought and losing alertness to surroundings)
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Edge breaks (places where the edge of the roadway has worn unevenly)

In rural areas, motorcycle accidents tend to be single-vehicle accidents, while in urban they are more often multi-vehicle accidents.

In both urban and rural settings, slippery roads and poor weather conditions add to the risk of a motorcycle accident.

Who Is Liable in an Accident Caused by Road Hazards?

When a careless or reckless driver causes a motorcycle accident, the injury victim can recover compensation for their damages by making a claim against the at-fault driver, but who is liable for an accident caused by a road hazard? An Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney can investigate the accident to determine the cause and identify the liable party. In many cases, a negligent road maintenance agency or the road planning board responsible for a poorly designed intersection may bear liability for an accident.

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