Motorcyclists have the same rights as all other types of vehicles on the road, but their size contributes to many accidents and injuries by other motorists. Drivers in passenger vehicles and large trucks are often oblivious to motorcyclists in adjacent lanes, especially when traveling at high speeds on freeways and at night.

Safety studies by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that drivers most commonly watch out for other passenger vehicles on the road, because they are the main mode of transportation encountered. In most American cities, motorcycles are clearly outnumbered by passenger cars, SUVs, trucks and tractor trailers. According to studies, many drivers just don’t think to watch out for smaller vehicles and motorcyclists that are often hidden behind larger vehicles and trucks on the road.

In many traffic accidents, an Oregon personal injury lawyer sees serious accidents caused by negligent drivers who fail to yield to oncoming motorcycles in traffic. Drivers often state that they failed to see the motorcyclist approaching, or they were unable to accurately perceive the motorcycle’s distance. In some cases, negligent motorcycle drivers tend to weave in-and-out of traffic or change lanes suddenly putting other drivers around them at risk of injury. Some motorcyclists take the liberty to make sudden lane changes, ride to close to cars, and dart quickly through traffic since they are on smaller vehicles that are easy to maneuver. Unfortunately, these risky actions contribute to thousands of motorcycle fatalities each year.

Although accidents between motorcycles and other vehicles do occur, there are steps that bikers and motorists can take to minimize their risk of accidents and injuries. Safety experts with the NHTSA indicate that motorists must be more aware of motorcycles on the road. They should make it a habit to look carefully for nearby motorcycles before pulling out into traffic and changing lanes at fast speeds. Bikers are advised to increase their visibility to motorists by wearing reflective clothing or bright colors. If traveling at night, reflective clothing, bike reflectors, and proper headlights and taillights are essential for rider safety.

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