By David Peel
6Most motorcyclists are safe and defensive drivers.
Even though we have all seen the idiots on Germantown Road kick up a wheelie in traffic or pass us on 240 at 100 mph, they are really the exceptions. (Sadly, they often take themselves out early in life).
Perhaps ironically, the one causing motorcycle crashes is usually the driver of the car, not the motorcycle!
This is due in large part, to one fact: car and truck drivers often fail to recognize even the existence of the motorcycle. By far, the most common accident we see in my law office is a car or truck pulling out to turn left and the cyclist has nowhere to go.
The driver of the car invariably says, “I looked, but I never saw him.” That is often truthful, even if they looked right at them. Drivers of other vehicles do not see the bikes due in part to their subconscious habit of looking for a much-wider car, not a comparatively-narrow bike.
Motorcycles have long been required to have a headlight that is always on while it is running. However, the single headlight just does not stand out like two lights on a wider car do. In fact, it has been reported that almost 80 percent of a motorcyclist impacts with other vehicles involve front-end first impacts. Many of these are broad side impacts to a car, truck or a truck pulling a trailer, who pull out in front of the bikes.
For larger trucks and trailers, totaling over 10,000 lbs., Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Standards apply. The Commercial Driver’s License Manual states in 2.7.7 “Before you start across a road, make sure you can get all the way across before traffic reaches you.”
This is only possible if the driver actually sees the cyclist to begin with. Those of us who regularly represent injured motorcyclists, know that car and truck drivers often appear to look directly at the motorcyclist, but then still turn left, as if they are invisible.
So, how to do we make sure we keep our neighboring motorcyclists safer?
You have heard it before: “Look Twice…Save a Life.”
Look–don’t glance—look left, then right, then look left again, before pulling out.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
By David Peel