All drivers have a duty to follow traffic rules and avoid collisions if at all possible. Safe driving practices especially apply to motorcyclists due to their physical vulnerability. When motorcyclists in Washington ride the open road, they can take many steps themselves to protect themselves, but other motorists present the main threat to their safety.
Drivers of passenger vehicles often do not see motorcyclists. For this reason, the majority of collisions between motorcycles and vehicles arise from violations of the motorcyclist’s right of way. Vehicle blind spots, distracted driving and the relatively small size of motorcycles account for many accidents related to motorcyclist visibility according to the National Safety Council. Although a driver may not have acted with malice, failing to yield to a motorcycle when necessary could still impose liability for a victim’s damages.
Motorcycles require more skill and training to operate than passenger vehicles. Accidents sometimes happen because bikers did not account for the effects of aging. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that bikers age 50 and over represented 36% of motorcycle accident fatalities in 2017.
Bikers who learned to ride in their youth can expect more safety challenges in their later years, such as:
- More traffic
- Distracted drivers
- Reduced reaction time due to older age
Best safety practices for bikers
Although motorcyclists face more safety threats, certain precautions can reduce their exposure to a serious injury. Ideally, bikers will:
- Wear helmets
- Never drink or use drugs before riding
- Recognize that riding with a passenger requires additional skill
- Maintain riding skills through continual practice