Other than equipment laws and a handful of laws pertaining to lane sharing, and in some states traffic lights, there really aren’t that many different laws that are specific to motorcycle riders. However, there are a lot of informal rules of the road motorcyclists follow. Many of these rules keep riders safe from passenger car and truck drivers, and as a courtesy to riders it would be nice if more people were aware of them.
Motorcycle Hand Signals Drivers Should Know
Any car or truck driver unfamiliar with the hand signals motorcyclists use to communicate on the road may want to check out our recent post on the topic. From a safety standpoint the most important signals all drivers should be able to identify are the left and right turn hand signals.
A left arm pointing straight out indicates a left turn while a left arm out and bent with the fist pointed upward indicates a right turn. These are the same signals bicycle riders should be using when they’re making left or right turns on busy streets.
If a car or truck driver causes an accident with a rider who was making a legal turn that they properly signaled prior to their turn, the car or truck driver will likely be found to be at fault for the accident and any injuries that result.
Keeping an Eye Out for Riders
Riders don’t intentionally make themselves less visible on the road, but a lot of drivers use the “I didn’t see them,” or “they came out of nowhere,” excuse after accidents with motorcycles. The increasing prevalence of distracted drivers on the road are making these accidents more common.
While motorcycle safety starts with the rider, is also important for automobile drivers to be more aware of their surroundings, check their mirrors and keep an eye out for riders who may not be as visible as large cars or trucks. Riders have just as much right to be on the road as other motorists, even if they may in some circumstances be harder to spot.
As motorcyclists we should be cognizant of possible blind spots of vehicles around us and try to avoid those potential hazards. There is also growing evidence that the use of conspicuous clothing and lighting can aid in being detected by other drivers.
Riders Are Entitled to the Full Use of Their Lane
One of the laws that’s specifically written in many states is that riders get a full lane in which to operate their vehicle. Just because a motorcycle may not take up a full lane on the road doesn’t mean drivers are allowed to drift precariously over the line.
Tailgating Is Especially Dangerous for Motorcyclists
Most states have laws against tailgating.
Hundreds of riders across the country are injured and, in some cases, killed every year because drivers follow too closely behind them in traffic or aren’t paying attention when approaching stop lights. A light tap that causes minor fender damage to a car or truck could result in life-changing injuries for a rider or their passenger.
What Drivers Should Keep in Mind If They’re Ever Called for Jury Duty on a Motorcycle Accident Injury Case
Not all, but many car and truck drivers who don’t ride motorcycles have unfair biases against motorcyclists. Some of them assume that riding motorcycles is inherently recklessly, so if a motorcycle is involved in an accident with a car or truck driver it’s likely the motorcycle rider who was doing something negligent.
This type of thinking is one of the reasons motorcyclists can have more trouble winning accident injury cases than car or truck drivers.
The majority of riders are responsible motorists who pay more attention to safety than the average commuter. They often ride not just for enjoyment but also because it’s a convenient, economical way to get to and from work or school. Riders understand that too many drivers are distracted, so they must take responsibility for their own safety.
Your neighbors, coworkers, fellow parishioners at church or the barista who makes your coffee every morning could be riders. They’re just average people going about their lives and they deserve respect on the road.
If you, a friend or a loved one has ever been injured in a motorcycle accident, the Motorcycle Law Group is ready to help. As The Firm That Rides®, we understand the prejudices some people have against riders because we’ve experienced them ourselves. Call us at 855-LAW-RIDERS to get the aggressive, knowledgeable representation you deserve.