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Safely Sharing the Road With Motorcyclists

The roads and highways throughout Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina are some of the most scenic routes in the country, and the Blue Ridge Parkway and the “Tail of the Dragon” near Great Smoky Mountain National Park are highlights for motorcycle enthusiasts. However, these roads are windy, and a motorcycle accident can happen without warning.

Whether you are driving near Asheville or another area of Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina that is popular among motorcyclists, it is important to know how to share the road safely.

Here are some important tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that can help you travel safely alongside motorcycles regardless of the type of road you are on.

Understanding How Motorcycle Accidents Happen

A crash involving a motorcycle often occurs when a driver does not appreciate that motorcyclists are vehicles — just like a passenger car — and thus have the same rights and responsibilities of an automobile driver.

According to NHTSA, about half of all motorcycle accidents involve another motor vehicle. And in around 40 percent of those collisions, the other driver caused the crash by turning left in front of the oncoming motorcyclist.

By understanding how motorcycle accidents happen, we can help to prevent them by safely sharing the road. NHTSA urges car drivers to understand some of the following features of motorcycles and how they work on the road:

  • Know that motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks and thus can be difficult to spot.
  • Know that because a motorcycle has a smaller profile, it can be much more difficult than you would think to judge the speed of the motorcycle, as well as its distance from your car.
  • Remember that motorcyclists commonly are hidden in a driver’s blind spot.
  • Understand that road conditions that may cause only minor annoyances to a car driver — like potholes, gravel, grooved pavement, railroad tracks, or slippery surfaces — can be deadly for a motorcyclist and require the motorcyclist to change speed or to adjust position in order to avoid an accident.

Many of these features also apply to scooters and mopeds. While drivers in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina are not likely to see mopeds on the highway, these vehicles are very popular around town in Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC, for instance. It is important to share the streets with them, too.

Steps for Preventing a Motorcycle Accident or Scooter Accident

To prevent a motorcycle accident or a scooter accident, NHTSA recommends the following steps:

  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width and never try to share the lane.
  • Always use your turn signal to let a motorcyclist know your intentions.
  • Always check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists before turning or changing lanes.
  • Do not assume a motorcyclist is turning just because a turn signal is on (bikes do not have self-cancelling turn signals).
  • Allow a greater following distance in the event that a motorcyclist needs to slow down or adjust according to road conditions.

Contact a Western North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Were you injured in a motor vehicle collision? A motorcycle accident lawyer in Asheville can assist you. Contact Grimes Teich Anderson LLP for more information.


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