Magnuson Lowell Blog
Each week we post a blog about relevant legal issues. Glance through our various topics to learn more about a particular legal situation.
Nothing beats hopping on your motorcycle on a warm summer’s day. Especially here in Seattle, the summer sun can be glorious while out for a ride. While most adults have experience driving their family minivan or sedan, fewer have first hand (or even third hand) experience on a motorcycle. This gap in substantive experience and lack of shared knowledge and information creates significant hazards for the motorcyclists sharing the road. It is everyone’s duty to ensure all drivers – including their bike loving brothers and sisters – have safe and enjoyable access to the roads.
With that in mind, here are some things you (probably) didn’t know about motorcycles:
First – if you ever see a motorcycle swerving slightly behind you, don’t be afraid and don’t become aggressive. Motorcyclists often move side-to-side in their lane in order to see (and be seen) more easily. Especially if you drive a large SUV or truck, the rider may merely be providing you with notice of his or her presence on the road or looking ahead to ensure their safety.
Second – with their small frame and two wheels, motorcycles certainly have improved maneuverability compared to their four-wheeled cousins. As a driver, don’t take that extra agility for granted. Especially in slick conditions, motorcycles and their riders are not perfect, and they may not be able to stop or dodge a sudden hazard.
Third – there are different ways to brake on a motorcycle compared to a car. Instead of hitting the brake directly, a motorcyclist may downshift or roll off the throttle to slow down. While these methods are perfectly acceptable, neither practice will illuminate a brake light. Give motorcycles extra room in front of you while driving in order to allow for stops without illuminated warnings.
Fourth – a majority of fatal motorcycle impacts involve collisions with other vehicles. Every driver and rider are bound to the rules of the road, but there are always going to be more large vehicles on the road. So used to other large SUVs, a local driver may not even notice a small bike in their periphery, which – on many occasions – can lead to deadly crashes.
Fifth – large and bulky vehicles have major blind spots. While some larger trucks have additional mirrors to help compensate for these concerns, a simple head turn while changing lanes or making a sharp turn can save a motorcyclist’s life. Since motorcycles tend to be small, they can easily hide in your blind spots or behind another vehicle (or even some bushes). Take an extra second to safely check your surroundings to ensure it’s safe for you to turn.
Sixth – many riders, but especially beginners, will forget to turn off their turn signal after finalizing their turn or merging. Many motorcycles’ turn signals do not autocancel after completing the turn. Before you speed up or maneuver around a motorcycle with a signal on, make sure it was a rookie mistake.
Seventh – when viewing a motorcycle coming down the street or approaching in your car’s mirrors, it can be difficult to judge the rider’s speed. Always assume a motorcycle is moving faster than you think and give the rider at least a few extra seconds before driving or turning in front of one.
Eighth – be extra careful at night or in adverse weather. Hopefully, a safe motorcycle rider will have bright lights and reflective gear for driving at night or in the rain or snow. When driving in more treacherous conditions, be sure to give motorcycles extra space. Losing control of a vehicle is one thing. Losing control of a vehicle and hitting an unprotected rider is completely different.
Whether you ride a motorcycle or drive a sedan, it’s important for every driver to cooperate on the roads. Safety should be everyone’s top priority. And, for motorcycles these tips can mean the difference between life and death. If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle or motorcycle collision, having the right personal injury attorney can also mean a world of difference. The Law Office of Magnuson Lowell PS will fight for your rights and work to get the justice you deserve.
Call today for a free consultation (425) 885-7500