There are many reasons to ride a motorcycle. They’re extremely fuel-efficient, they can be parked almost anywhere, and they’re flat-out fun to ride. But as all riders know, there are also huge drawbacks. Riders have no shelter from inclement weather, no heat or air conditioning to make them more comfortable while they ride, and most importantly, no safety features to protect them during crashes.
The best way for riders to protect themselves is to wear full riding gear and to obey all traffic laws while riding. Although they’re traveling on two wheels rather than four, motorcyclists must still abide by all traffic laws while riding. But on the flip side, that means that drivers must also give them the space, respect, and attention that they give cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Virtually all drivers are guilty of violating traffic laws from time to time. And in many cases, law enforcement officers are lenient on initiating traffic stops or issuing citations provided the violations aren’t blatant. But motorcyclists must be especially cautious, as a minor traffic violation can result in a major accident.
On some bikes, it can be difficult for riders to NOT speed. That’s because the amount of torque on many sport bikes is significantly higher than on standard vehicles. In fact, many reasonably priced sport bikes match or even exceed exotic supercars in terms of raw performance. That means riders may find themselves exceeding the speed limit in mere seconds after merging onto a highway or interstate or when passing slower traffic.
To reduce their risks of speeding, riders should accelerate smoothly and slowly, and only as much as necessary to safely merge, overtake slower vehicles, and keep up with the flow of traffic.
Because they’re riding in the open air and must be hyperaware of their surroundings, motorcyclists can sometimes recognize when an intersection is clear faster than people in passenger vehicles. But that means that some riders may push the envelope by trying to “beat” red lights or rolling through stop signs.
Intersections are one of the most dangerous places on the road for riders, and they should begin slowing down when they see a yellow light and come to a complete stop at stop signs. They should also never ignore yield signs, even when the coast seems clear to merge.
A broken yellow line on the asphalt means that passing is permitted in that section of road, while a solid yellow line means that it’s prohibited. However, some motorcyclists ignore this rule of the road and pass slower vehicles even when it’s illegal to do so. And while they may be able to accelerate and overtake slower vehicles more easily than people in passenger vehicles, doing so is extremely dangerous.
Broken and solid yellow lines are chosen for a reason in their specific locations. When passing is permitted, visibility is far enough for drivers to safely pass. When it’s prohibited, it’s because there’s simply not enough room to see whether it’s safe to pass—and that applies to both drivers and riders.
Lane splitting isn’t something that people in passenger vehicles can do due to the size of their vehicles, but motorcyclists can easily do it. It’s a controversial topic, and it’s legal in some states. However, it’s ILLEGAL in Alabama, and motorcyclists who are caught splitting lanes can receive traffic citations.
Note that while lane splitting is illegal, sharing a lane with another rider isn’t. That means riders can legally ride side-by-side on Alabama’s roadways. However, it’s still best and safest for riders to ride single-file to maximize their safety.
Even when riders never or rarely violate these laws, they still face serious risks from drivers who don’t look for or respect them. Common types of disrespect on the road include:
Unfortunately, even when riders are hurt in crashes that weren’t their fault, insurance companies are still reluctant to give them compensation. That’s because they frequently assign blame to riders, regardless of what the evidence says. Many people are biased against motorcyclists and believe they’re all reckless and dangerous, and that includes the people whose decisions can impact the rest of their lives after crashes.
At Vance Law Firm, our Montgomery motorcycle accident lawyers know the challenges of being a motorcyclist in Alabama, and we don’t let injured riders get unfair treatment from greedy and uncooperative insurance companies. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re on your side.