One of the more common responses heard from motorists in Roanoke Country who have been involved in collisions with motorcyclists is that they were not aware that the motorcyclists were turning or that they were required to wait for them. Much of this may come from a misunderstanding of how motorcycles are viewed compared to other vehicles on the road. Such vehicles (and their drivers) are afforded the same rights and privileges as cars, trucks and SUVs. Sadly, confusion over allowing motorcyclists the right-of-way has cost many of them their lives. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4,693 motorcyclists were killed on American roads as recently as 2015.
We have discussed a wide variety of topics related to motorcycle accidents on this blog, from dangerous conditions, riskier behaviors, the importance of wearing a proper helmet and more. Unfortunately, even the most responsible motorcyclists could find themselves in the middle of an accident, regardless of the safety precautions they took, and these collisions happen too often across the state of Virginia. Our law firm is very familiar with the world of challenges that victims of motorcycle accidents often face, which can extend beyond the loss of life and significant injuries.
Motorcycle drivers in Virginia can take advantage of beautiful scenery, historic roadways and the exhilarating feel of wind in their hair. But they also face safety challenges on the road.
In Virginia, motorcyclists do not have to take a training course in order to get a license. However, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, it does make a difference in how riders may attain a Class M motorcycle designation on their driver’s license. For those who do not complete the Virginia Rider Training Program, there is a knowledge exam and a road skills test. Those who do take the class will have these two requirements waived.
Motorcycle enthusiasts aged 60 and over finally have the time and money to enjoy their long-awaited hobby. They can join their friends, head out on the open road and experience the great outdoors astride their Harleys, Indians and Yamahas. Perhaps you are a member of this group.
Motorcycle accidents are a serious issue in Virginia. In fact, in 2009, 77 people were killed in this type of accident in the state. At Cranwell & Moore PLC Attorneys at Law, we know how devastating an accident involving a motorcycle can be. While riding a motorcycle, you are very vulnerable due to the size of your vehicle and the open nature of it. That is why wearing a helmet is always advisable. While it may not protect against every injury, it can save your life.
On Virginia roadways, no vehicle is more at risk than a motorcycle. Their size, when compared to all the other vehicles on the road, means they are harder to see. While motorcycle riders should be alert at all times when on the road, left turns pose an exceedingly larger risk. According to the Motorcycle Safety Center of Virginia, 4,668 motorcyclists died in 2013 on U.S. roads. One of the most common causes of injuries and deaths to cyclists was left hand turns.
Particularly when you ride your motorcycle on Virginia highways, you hope that the people in the cars and trucks around you are doing a head check to look for you before changing lanes. Ideally, you can avoid a sideswipe accident by staying out of motorists’ blind spots, but in real life, traffic does not always allow you to take advantage of this defensive riding technique. According to RideApart.com, blind spot technology that should keep you safe from careless drivers may actually increase your risk of a motorcycle crash.
Road conditions in Virginia that may be perfectly safe for commercial and passenger vehicles could pose serious risks to motorcyclists. While avoiding these altogether may be an option sometimes, anyone who is operating a motorcycle should know what to do when faced with less than favorable road surfaces. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, riders should plan ahead and check routes for construction or other potential dangerous road conditions. In these areas, hazard signs should be posted, and riders should be familiar with their meanings.
Motorcycle accidents have the potential to be catastrophic. Knowing this, riders typically take whatever precautions they can to protect themselves. This could include wearing protective gear, performing regular bike maintenance and completing training.