Accessibility Tools

| Michael P. Ehline

Familiar Motorcycle Road Hazards Riders Face

Although road hazards threaten all vehicles, road conditions that are not dangerous to other drivers are a constant danger to motorcyclists. Debris, uneven road surfaces, potholes, and other common motorcyclist road hazards can cause a motorcycle crash. Unlike cars with safety features and a closed environment, motorcycles do not have such luxuries, which is why many motorcycle accidents result in catastrophic injuries.

Motorcycle riders face significant challenges while on the road. And Paul Ehline Ride loves M/C’s, as pound for pound, bikers comprise more vets. You will recall that the whole reason for the Ride was because of Leathernecks, LMCI turning out for Paul Ehline.

So naturally, we want bikers to stay safe. And we work closely with injured military motorcyclists to understand their stories and help them protect their legal rights. If not, we can help provide resources to help them aggressively pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party in their particular state. We can offer a free consultation to help you find an honorably discharged lawyer who supports Paul Ehline Ride to help you win your case against any liable parties.

Common Motorcycle Road Hazards

Here are some common motorcycle road hazards riders face, causing many crashes.

Potholes

The most common road hazards are uneven pavement, including potholes that can trap your front wheel and flip your bike. Unlike cars that drive on four wheels, motorcycles don’t have that balance since the vehicle has only two wheels. Any sudden disruptions in its movement can cause the motorcycle to lose balance and topple over, resulting in injuries to the motorcyclist.

Over time, weather and constant traffic cause road wear and tear. Moisture in the form of rainwater accumulating on the road and the changes in temperature throughout the day can cause cracks and potholes in asphalt roads. Poor road construction and negligent maintenance are also factors in potholes existing on roads.

A deep pothole is a road hazard for motorcyclists, especially if they’re unaware of the pothole and are riding at high speeds before hitting one.

Other Uneven Road Surfaces

In addition to potholes, cracks, bumps, and other uneven road surfaces present a significant challenge for motorcyclists. Poor construction standards, negligent road maintenance, and heavy traffic can cause uneven surfaces on an asphalt road.

There is also the concern of edge breaks when one traffic lane is higher or lower than the other. This is particularly dangerous if riders travel high speed before hitting the edge break.

Car drivers aren’t usually concerned about uneven surfaces, but whenever a motorcycle rider identifies an uneven road surface, they must slow down to maintain control.

Wet Surfaces

Wet surfaces could include all the liquids that pool on a road surface, such as oil, water, and paint, among many other types of liquids. Wet surfaces are a minor inconvenience for cars, but for motorcycles, they present a serious road hazard.

Motorcycle tires can’t grip wet surfaces, resulting in the motorcyclist losing control. Wet surfaces are the leading cause of single-vehicle accidents involving motorcycles. Wet or slick surfaces also hold the risk of hydroplaning. A layer of water builds between the motorcycle’s wheels and the road surface, leading to a loss of traction.

  • Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning is extremely dangerous when it starts to drizzle, and the rainwater mixes with the oil residue found on roadways. A car may be able to grip in such situations due to its four wheels, but motorcycles lose traction with their two wheels and increase the risk of a motorcycle accident.

If you’re not in a hurry, it is best to avoid wet surfaces and wait it out. But if you don’t have the time to wait, drive carefully when riding over a wet surface. Avoid braking instantly, as tires can lose traction and control of the bike. Brake gradually to slow down and ride around corners at low speeds to help balance the bike.

Ice and Snow

In most states, the cold season brings ice and snowfall. The freezing conditions can create a layer of ice on the road, which is one of the most serious hazards for motorcyclists. Often, motorcyclists avoid riding during the cold season, but if you’re the one to brave the weather, know the dangers of riding on icy roads.

Motorcycle riders have the responsibility and duty of care towards others. They must ride responsibly in such weather conditions by reducing their average speed and using extra caution. It is also important to note that no matter how carefully you ride your motorcycle, negligent maintenance and snow removal can further worsen the danger in such weather conditions, leading to serious accidents.

Gravel

Gravel is one of the road hazards motorcycle riders should be wary of avoiding. Unlike snow that occurs in the colder season, gravel is usually present at all times of the year, causing your motorcycle’s wheels to lose traction.

The key to riding over loose gravel is to reduce your speed, control your braking, and maintain even steering. Around curves, let go of the throttle and slowly apply the brakes. Consistent speed is important in maintaining balance over loose gravel.

Debris

Besides gravel, debris and other kinds of objects are in the middle of the road. You’ll see anything from garbage to vehicle components, rocks, leaves, tree branches, clothing, and other objects on the road, and these pose a serious threat to motorcyclists if they’re not paying attention.

It may take some time before authorities remove debris off the road, but until then, ride carefully. Pay attention to the surroundings and stay within the speed limits so that you have enough time to react and avoid any obstacles that may come your way.

What’s even more dangerous than debris on the road is falling objects. Certain streets and roads may have trees on the side, and branches can snap in windy conditions. Any branches snapping off and falling on the motorcyclist can cause injuries if the rider is not wearing any safety equipment such as a helmet.

Another dangerous situation on the road for motorcycle riders is a vehicle component or an object that falls from the vehicle in front of them. A direct hit can be deadly if you’re traveling at high speeds, and a sudden maneuver to avoid hitting the object can result in a crash with objects or cars on the side.

If you have no choice but to drive over debris, leaves, and other small objects, ensure that your bike is straight and avoid sudden braking or accelerating.

Railroad Crossings

Railroad crossings are a serious threat not only to motorcyclists but also to car drivers. Sometimes, cars with weak engines can stall at railroad crossings, resulting in a serious car accident. There are many recorded incidents such as this. For motorcycles, these crossings are dangerous as they could throw the motorcyclist from their bike.

These railroad crossings are hazardous when the tracks are wet or slippery. It can cause the wheels to lose traction, affecting the motorcycle’s balance and making it difficult for the rider to control the vehicle.

The best way to cross a railroad track while on a motorcycle and avoid an accident is by going straight over the tracks in a perpendicular line. Either cross at a constant speed or slow down and accelerate moderately.

Expansion Joints

An expansion joint helps connect one part of the road with the other or connects two bridges using a piece of metal. These joints allow concrete to expand without cracking.

Unfortunately, these joints can also lead to large gaps in the road, which can be a road hazard for motorcyclists, just like railroad crossings. Just as you would cross a railroad crossing in a straight line at a constant speed, you would have to cross these gaps similarly.

Animals

In the United States, an estimated one to two million accidents occur between vehicles and large animals such as deer and moose. These accidents result in 26,000 injuries and 200 deaths annually, with approximately $8 billion in property damage.

Typically, an animal might suddenly appear trying to cross the road, which does not allow the motorist or motorcyclist enough time to evade. In such situations, they swerve to avoid hitting the animal, resulting in severe accidents. Hitting an animal head-on in a car can hurt the animal and damage the front of the vehicle.

Still, if you’re on a motorcycle and collide with a large animal, you don’t just risk property damage but can also cause serious injuries to yourself. Depending on the size of the animal and the speed at which you hit the animal, you can have brain injuries, spinal injuries, bruises, lacerations, and even wrongful death.

If you identify an animal on the road from far away, slow down your motorcycle and check your mirrors and blind spot before maneuvering around the animal.

Traveling at speeds that allow you sufficient reaction time to avoid any animals, debris safely, or other objects on the road is critical.

Blind Spots

Motorcycles are small two-wheel vehicles that can make it difficult for other motorists to see, especially if the motorcycle is in a vehicle’s blind spot. Blind spots are areas around the vehicle that are not visible to a motorist, even if they were to use the side-view mirrors.

If you’re traveling next to a car in their blind spot, you may not be visible to the motorist, increasing the risk of an accident upon switching lanes or making a turn. If you find yourself in such a situation, coming to or egressing from a Paul Ehline Ride even, either speed up and go past the car or slow down and let them change lanes or make the turn.

Side Roads

There are too many side streets in the country, with vehicles coming in and going out onto the main road. Some drivers might not see you, while others may find themselves distracted. Always plan your reaction in such situations to increase your chances of avoiding a collision. Keep an eye out for vehicles on the side roads waiting to enter the road in front of you, and be ready to react.

Intersections

According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 50% of fatal accidents or injuries in the United States occur at intersections. An intersection can have all sorts of road hazards, including vehicles changing lanes when they’re not supposed to, debris and oil, uneven surfaces, and distracted drivers. Going through an intersection can be nerve-wracking, especially for inexperienced riders.

The first thing to do is not panic. Have a clear head, take a deep breath, and quickly look around to identify any incoming vehicles. Don’t let the overwhelming feelings take over; always stay calm and have a plan of action ready. Like how drivers practice defensive driving, motorcyclists should also learn and implement defensive driving while on the road, especially at an intersection.

Play the “What If…” game. If you’re at an intersection, think, “if a car stops immediately as the traffic light changes to red, what will I do?” The important thing is to be mentally prepared and ready to tackle any situation.

For example, when a motorcyclist does not expect a vehicle in front of them to stop, but they do, the rider might slam on the brakes immediately. This is a wrong move as it can cause your motorcycle to lose traction and skid. Motorcyclists should practice proper emergency braking to help them avoid such situations. Defensive driving and proper emergency braking can improve your chances of survival on the road.

Nature

We’ve gone over how ice, muddy oil, and snowy conditions affect riding a motorcycle, but the weather is not only limited to that. By illustration, strong winds pushing against a motorcycle can throw the rider off balance depending on the force.

Heavy downpours from poor weather conditions can reduce visibility on the road and make it difficult for motorcyclists to see any obstacles, standing water pools from a rainstorm, or objects on the road to avoid.

Assigning Liability for Motorcycle Road Hazard Accidents

To recover compensation, you must prove the defendant was at fault for causing your injuries while riding a motorcycle. Depending on how you got involved in an accident, one or multiple parties may be liable (Example: The city could be responsible for slipper crosswalk lines, trolley tracks, slippery anti-freeze oil, etc.). Injured victims can pursue legal action against the country, city, public agency, or state regarding potholes and other types of road hazards. Regarding collisions with another vehicle, riders can hold the other vehicle’s driver responsible for the damage.

However, identifying who is liable for the accident is not so simple. Many public and private agencies are involved in road hazard motorcycle accidents. Still, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you identify the liable party or parties during a free case evaluation. Maybe your motorcycle accident could warrant legal action against two parties rather than one.

Who Caused Your Motorcycle Accident?

A maintenance company may have neglected a part of a road. If so, this may have resulted in a pothole that led to your motorcycle accident. It could also be a public agency that did not carry out its responsibility to remove obstacles from the road to prevent accidents. Maybe your motorcycle accident occurred because of a combination of a major hazard and inclement weather. You could also have been hurt due to a manufacturer’s defect in your motorcycle.

Important for Motorcycle Riders to Know

Did you lose control after your tire got stuck in railway tracks? Did your wheel get trapped in open bridge joints, or did your tires slide out due to slippery surfaces, or road debris, even though you ride defensively? Other vehicles are far safer than motorcycles, especially cars with a 4-point roll cage and sheet metal bodies. Perhaps you over-relied on your front brake, thinking your reduced speed would not cause you to lose control? If so, you may be partially liable, too, governed under California pure comparative negligence law.

Motorcycle Crash Hazard Attorney for Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles

A gifted, experienced car accident attorney can help identify the relevant parties and evaluate their shortcomings and how they led to motorcycle accidents and associated injuries. Discover more during a risk-free, cost-free legal consultation if other drivers or road workers created hazards for motorcyclists and ignored these problems motorcycle riders face.

Depending on your state, you might be eligible for compensation if you suffered injuries from motorcycle accidents or a related nexus due to a road hazard. Contact Paul Ehline Ride, and we may be able to place you with a military veteran lawyer you can trust at no charge. Many lawyers will offer you or your wounded brothers and loved ones a free case evaluation with our experienced and trusted motorcycle accident personal injury attorney. Let us know?

Our Trusted Supporters
Taran Tactical Innovations
USMC Bagpiper
As seen in Leatherneck, Magazine of Marines

Your Name Here

Marine Corps League, Orange County, CA

Follow Us

Resources

General Stuff

Address

Paul Ehline Ehline Memorial Ride
3838 W Carson St.
Torrance, CA 90503
Phone : (310) 622-8719

info@paulehlineride.org

© paulehlineride.org. All rights reserved.

Donations submitted through donation forms on PaulEhlineRide.Org are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by U.S. and state laws. These will be in U.S. Federal Reserve Notes. Paul Ehline Memorial Ride™ is a U.S. nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable Section 501(c)(19) organization that benefits US Armed Forces veterans under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. (Tax identification number 85-4040563.)