When you ask motorcyclists if they feel safe when they ride, many will assure you that they do. They may cite their years of experience riding and a high level of skill. They trust themselves not to crash, and they’ve been doing it long enough that that trust seems well-founded.
Being skilled and experienced absolutely does help. But don’t assume that it’s all you need to stay safe. You’re actually at the mercy of other drivers. They cause a lot of motorcycle accidents, and you can be severely injured or even killed. How much do you trust them to keep you safe?
The left-turn crash
For example, consider the left-turn accident. It’s one of the most common types of accidents involving motorcycles.
Say you’re safely driving down the road behind a pickup truck, leaving four seconds of space between the two of you so that you’ll have enough reaction time. In your 30 years of riding, you’ve also learned the importance of riding with your lights on, wearing a helmet, riding while sober and going the speed limit.
In short, you’re doing everything right. No wonder you feel safe.
Ahead of you, though, is a 16-year-old who just had two drinks at a party and is trying to get home. This driver is young and inexperienced, mildly impaired and more prone to reckless driving. They don’t see your bike behind the pickup and execute a sloppy, abrupt left turn right in front of you.
In a split second, none of your precautions matter. You hit the side of that car, and it’s all because the teenage driver wasn’t nearly as safe as you. They’re not injured, though, but you wind up in the hospital with severe back injuries that will change the rest of your life.
What can you do?
This isn’t meant to make you give up on riding. You just need to remember that you’re only as safe as the people around you, and you never really know who they are or what they’re going to do. If you get injured in an accident, then you need to know what rights you have to financial compensation.