I’ve handled numerous lawsuits regarding motorcycle injuries ranging from the severe to the incredibly severe, but rarely minor. While riding, you’re at risk — that’s a fact we live with when we get on our two wheels. Many riders suffer traumatic and life-changing injuries: The neck, the back, the head, and all too often the ankle. Getting immediate and appropriate treatment is critical to your recovery.
You’re an experienced rider but you still have to watch for car drivers who don’t ride a motorcycle. The following is a brief summary of motorcycle myths, mistakes, and fixes. These tips, physics, and examples could someday save your life or that of a loved one. These are examples only and are not a substitute for a professional riding course with an instructor/trainer.
Much of the following information is derived from Motorcycle Accident Reconstruction and Litigation by Kenneth S. Obenski … [et al.]. Tucson, AZ : Lawyers & Judges Pub. Co., c2007
Five Motorcycle Myths
1. Wobbles - Accelerating is the quickest way out of a wobble. True or false?
False. At higher speeds the front end of a motorcycle can become unstable and begin to shake or “wobble.” Some riders think they should accelerate, and other riders panic and try to stop the motorcycle by braking hard. Both are wrong. The best way to handle a wobble is to do as little as possible – aim straight ahead and gradually ease off the throttle.
2. Reaction time - Motorcycle riders react faster than drivers. True or false?
True…sort of. A rider’s reaction time can be up to 0.325 seconds faster than a car driver, but that split second difference won’t help much when a driver changes lanes on a rider next to him. A rider must remember to SEE (Search, Evaluate, and Execute) and maintain a safe, protective zone at all times.
3. Red zone - Most motorcycle accidents occur on highways. True or false?
False. Most motorcycle collisions, indeed most vehicle collisions, occur near the home. Car drivers are notorious for “tuning out” when they drive in their home neighborhood. On a map, draw a five-mile radius circle around your home. This is your “Red Zone.” Stay alert when you’re in the zone.
4. Lay it down - Laying the bike down is the best way to avoid an accident. True or false?
100% False. This is the worst thing you can do. Read the article Don’t Lay Her Down. If the bike needs to go down, you should consider jumping off.
5. Riders are at fault - Between a car and a motorcycle, it's the motorcyclist who's at fault. True or false?
This is completely false. Even if you think you did something wrong, you have rights. Most motorcycle collisions occur because a car driver was inattentive and failed to watch for riders, or worse, was “angry at the two-wheeled intruder.” Consider the motorcyclist who sped up a hill and collided into a car that was backing out a driveway (story below). This rider was able to recover damages from the local government because it failed to display the proper signs that would warn riders to watch for backing vehicles. This rider had a good attorney to protect his rights. You should too. Call Tim O’Connor to discuss your case. Get the justice you deserve!