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Anatomy of a Blind Spot Motorcycle Accident

Blind SpotMotorcycle Accident

As a motorcyclist, the blind spot is a very real danger. You can be in the perfect position to pass another vehicle, only for that car or truck to change lanes without warning and crush you into oblivion.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, motorcyclists are five times more likely to be injured in an accident than passenger car occupants. Motorcycles can be difficult for other drivers to see on the road, and this lack of visibility is especially problematic when it comes to blind spot motorcycle accidents.

What Is a Blind Spot?

A blind spot refers to the area around a vehicle that is not visible through the side or rearview mirrors. In order for other vehicles to be seen, a driver must turn their head and look into the blind spot. Because there is a delay between checking the mirror and turning one's head, this maneuver can contribute to accidents.

For most drivers, blind spots are a minor annoyance. For motorcyclists, though, a blind spot can be the cause of serious injury or even death.

The reason for this is simple: The motorcycle is much smaller than a car, truck, or SUV and doesn't stand out as easily in a driver's rear view mirror. And when a driver doesn't see a motorcycle, he may change lanes and hit it — or force it off the road altogether.

Blind Spot Motorcycle Accident Causes

We already know that motorcycles have smaller profiles than full-sized cars and trucks, making them much harder to see on the road. In fact, they fit into most passenger car blind spots. A motorcycle may be in a driver's blind spot when they:

Change lanes
Drivers commonly check their mirrors before changing lanes. However, even if they were to do this, if their mirrors are not adjusted properly, they still might not be able to see a motorcyclist riding in their blind spot. If a driver does not see the motorcyclist and changes lanes into their path, there is virtually no time for either party to react and avoid a collision.

Pass or get passed by another driver
The most common cause of a blind spot motorcycle accident is when another driver changes lanes and cuts off the motorcycle. This can occur when a car is behind the cyclist and attempts to pass, or it can also happen if a car in front of the biker decides to change lanes and fails to check its blind spot before changing lanes.

When drivers fail to yield the right-of-way before merging into traffic on highways, they run headlong into motorcyclists.

Backing Out
While backing out of parking spaces, drivers often fail to notice motorcycles that are either parked nearby or are driving past as they exit.

Drivers Not Looking
In some instances, drivers simply aren't looking as they enter an intersection or make turns at intersections. Each year, more than 5 million car accidents occur due to drivers who fail to check their blind spots before merging or changing lanes. About 500,000 of these accidents result in injuries, and around 10,000 lead to fatalities.

Drivers Not Yielding
When drivers fail to yield the right-of-way before merging into traffic on highways, they run headlong into motorcyclists.

If you were involved in an accident with someone else's car because they changed lanes into your blind spot while driving next to you, you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Learn more by consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney near me.

Ways to Avoid Blind Spot Motorcycle Accidents

As a motorcycle rider, you have a unique perspective. You are literally in the driver's seat, taking in every detail of the road around you and anticipating every turn. Your view is clear and unobstructed, which is an advantage for seeing what is happening on the road ahead and behind you.

Being able to see clearly does not mean that there are no blind spots. Every vehicle has blind spots, even motorcycles. It is important to be aware of your motorcycle's blind spots so that you can adjust your riding accordingly. 

Here are some ways to avoid blind spot motorcycle accidents:

  1. Know where your blind spots are located. When you're on your bike, do not assume that drivers can see you - they can't! Stay away from blind spots and be aware of vehicles around you at all times. Always give yourself plenty of time to react if another vehicle moves where you think it isn't going to be.
  1. Make sure other drivers know where your blind spots are located by signaling well before changing lanes or making a turn when someone is too close behind you.
  1. Use your mirrors frequently to check for traffic that may be approaching from behind or beside you. Use your mirrors to spot any gaps in traffic before you move into them. Motorcycles can fit into gaps that other vehicles can't, but if you're not paying attention to what's happening around you, those other vehicles may also move into that space.
  1. If another vehicle begins to merge into your lane without signaling or looking first, tap on your brake several times as a warning that they're coming in too close. This can help prevent side-swept collisions that many people don't see coming until it's too late.
  1. Obeying traffic laws, including speed limits (riding too fast makes it harder to see and avoid obstacles).

Final Thoughts

Remember that motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to the large vehicles surrounding them on the road and must be prepared for the unexpected. Maintaining a safe distance enables you to react more quickly in dangerous situations. When behind a cycle, do not tailgate or try to squeeze between the motorcycle and other vehicles! Leave plenty of room so that you can maneuver around these obstacles if necessary. We all need to do our part to help keep our roads safe for everyone—motorcycle riders and non-motorcycle riders alike.

Story From Aaron Siddique

Aaron Siddique

Aaron attended the University of Texas at Austin where he received a degree in Political Science and certification in Business from the acclaimed McCombs School of Business.

He received his law degree, graduating cum laude from St. Thomas University School of Law. During law school Aaron argued mock appeals as a member and competitor of the St. Thomas Moot Court Competition Team. Additionally, Aaron interned for the Honorable Michael A. Robinson of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.

Aaron began his legal career with the Florida based law firm Dell and Schaefer, P.A. where he worked as a legal clerk on personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability cases. He later joined the J.P. Barth Law Firm, PLLC of Texas prior to becoming a partner at Barth, Siddique & Associates.

Currently, his practice is centered around representing injured plaintiffs in personal injury actions throughout the State of Texas.

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