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Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle AccidentMotorcycle accidents often result in particularly devastating injuries for motorcyclists and their passengers. While many accidents are the result of poor weather conditions or road hazards, most are the result of driver error. Fortunately, there are some steps that motorcyclists and other drivers can take to help reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.

Common Causes

Many motorcycle accidents are completely avoidable. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Vehicles making unprotected left-hand turns;
  • Lane-splitting by motorcyclists;
  • Road hazards
  • Distracted driving;
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Speeding; and
  • Reckless driving.

Because motorcycle accidents are so common and so deadly, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires all licensed motorcyclists to complete a safety course and to wear a helmet at all times while operating a motorcycle. Other precautions that motorcyclists can take to ensure their safety include:

  • Receiving professional training;
  • Performing proper motorcycle maintenance;
  • Wearing protective clothing;
  • Avoiding road hazards;
  • Checking the weather report; and
  • Refraining from sharing lanes with other vehicles.

Protective clothing should include:

  • Sunglasses or goggles;
  • A helmet;
  • A jacket;
  • Full-fingered gloves;
  • Long pants; and
  • Boots.

To be most effective, all clothing should be made from abrasion-resistant material that fits close to the body, such as leather. Bright colors may also help other motorists see a motorcyclist more easily.


In California, all motorcyclists must wear a helmet, due to the likelihood of head injury in the event of an accident. Helmets should fit comfortably and snugly and remain fastened. All riders should make sure that their helmets have a DOT label, which certifies that the helmet conforms to the federal standard.

Purchasing a helmet with a plastic shatter-resistant face shield can help ensure that the face is protected. It also has the added benefit of protecting a rider’s eyes from being blinded by wind, dirt, rain, and insects. To be most effective, face shield and eye protections should:

  • Be free of scratches;
  • Be resistant to punctures;
  • Allow a clear view to either side;
  • Fasten securely; and
  • Permit air to flow through, to avoid fogging.

These steps can go a long way toward helping motorcyclists stay safe while on California freeways and roads, but they do not guarantee that a person will not be involved in an accident at some point. In order to decrease risk of injury or death even further, drivers of standard vehicles should also take certain precautions, including:

  • Checking rearview and side mirrors often;
  • Refraining from following a motorcycle too closely;
  • Being aware of blind spots;
  • Refraining from speeding;
  • Avoiding distractions;
  • Checking for motorcyclist turn signals; and
  • Entering intersections cautiously.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, it is important to contact an attorney who may be able to help you obtain compensation for medical costs associated with the accident, as well as lost wages and pain and suffering. Please contact the experienced Monterey County personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. to schedule a free consultation.

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