Lane Change Motorcycle Accidents In Pennsylvania
All motorists, including motorcyclists and motor vehicle drivers, are supposed to share the road to protect their safety and that of others traveling around them. Unfortunately, however, some motorists fail to signal when they intend to change lanes or check for others present in adjacent lanes before they move into them, resulting in many accidents. When motorcyclists are struck by vehicles in lane change accidents, they can be seriously injured or killed.
These types of accidents can be caused by excessive speed, distracted driving, slow reaction times, and other driver-related factors that amount to negligence. Here is some information about lane change accidents, their causes, and how to avoid them from a motorcycle accident attorney at Raynes & Lawn.
About Lane Change Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle lane change accidents are fairly common. Many motorcyclists are injured by drivers who fail to check their adjacent lanes before moving into them. Inattentive, distracted, and aggressive drivers all place motorcyclists at a heightened risk of injury when they share the road. Unsafe lane change accidents account for a large number of motorcycle accidents each year in the U.S. and in Pennsylvania. In 2019 alone, 5,014 motorcyclists were killed in the U.S., and 166 of the fatalities in motorcycle crashes occurred in Pennsylvania. In 512 of the U.S. fatal accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles, both motorists were traveling straight at the time of their collisions. Many motorists fail to pay adequate attention to their surroundings or check for motorcycles when changing lanes. Drivers have a harder time perceiving motorcyclists than passenger vehicles because of their smaller sizes. Because of these and other issues, motorcyclists must remain aware of their safety and the risks posed by other motorists at all times when they are riding. Some unsafe lane change accidents happen because a driver fails to use his or her rear and side-view mirrors when changing lanes. A motorcyclist could be in the driver’s blind spot and have no awareness of that fact. Motorists who fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes may wreck into motorcyclists and cause catastrophic accidents.
Causes Of Lane Change Accidents
Lane change accidents can be the fault of the motor vehicle driver or the motorcyclist.
Some of the common causes of lane change accidents include the following:
- Weaving in and out of traffic by the motorcyclist
- Riding in the vehicle driver’s blind spot
- Impaired or distracted driving
- Inadequate surveillance/failure to check before changing lanes
- Failing to use turn signals
- Road rage/aggressive driving
In nearly every case involving a motorcycle lane change accident, the motorcyclist will suffer more serious injuries than the motor vehicle occupant because of the lack of safety features, the bike’s open design, the motorcycle’s lower mass, and the lack of protection against the environment around the motorcyclist. In most lane change accidents, both the motorcyclists and their bikes will suffer extensive damage. Some motorcyclists are killed in lane-change accidents, and others sustain severe injuries resulting in lifelong disabilities.
Injuries From Lane Change Motorcycle Accidents
Some of the types of common injuries that can occur in lane change motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries/concussions
- Open head injuries
- Closed head injuries
- Facial injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Spinal fractures
- Road rash
- Severe lacerations
- Amputated limbs
- Fractured ribs
- Internal organ damage/bleeding
In addition to the physical injuries motorcyclists can suffer, they can also suffer serious psychological and emotional trauma caused by their collisions.
How To Avoid Lane Change Motorcycle Accidents
While motorcyclists cannot avoid many types of collisions, they can take steps to avoid lane change accidents by exercising defensive driving and taking safety precautions while riding. Here are some steps to take to avoid lane change accidents while you ride.
1. Watch For Blind Spots
While you might have been taught that riding in the front quarter of a vehicle is safe, you should be aware that the A-pillars on motor vehicles have become thicker in modern designs. This means that a motor vehicle’s blind spot might extend further than in the past. Avoid riding for a long time in another vehicle’s blind spot whenever possible. If you are passing, make sure to signal and do so quickly.
2. Ride A safe Distance Away From A Larger Vehicle
Larger vehicles such as semi-trucks or SUVs have much larger blind spots than other motor vehicles. Trucks also have blind spots extending across an entire lane of traffic on the left and two lanes on the right as well as in both the rear and front of their vehicles. Make sure to stay away from large vehicles. If you must pass, use your turn signal and get around the larger vehicle quickly. Never pass a large vehicle on the right.
3. Make Yourself More Visible
Avoid wearing dark clothing that could cause you to blend into the road environment. Wear bright clothing and reflective gear to ensure that others can see you.
4. Drive Defensively
While you are riding, you should always keep your attention focused on the road. Watch ahead of you, and anticipate what other drivers might do. Since some motorists fail to use their turn signals when changing lanes, watch for other signs that they might do so such as moving toward the line marker or the driver turning his or her head. If you see that a motorist is preparing to enter your lane, plan a strategy to swerve out of the way and alert the motorist with your horn.
5. Driver Slower In Heavy Traffic
When you are riding in heavy traffic, avoid weaving in and out of the lanes. Instead, slow down and pay attention. Motorists are likelier to change lanes when they are traveling in heavy traffic.
Talk To A Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in a lane change accident caused by another motorist, you should speak to a motorcycle accident injury lawyer in Philadelphia as soon as possible. The attorneys at Raynes & Lawn have represented negligence victims for more than five decades and understand how to help motorcycle accident victims recover fair compensation. Call us today at 1-800-535-1797 for a free consultation.
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