You love the feeling of the open road when you ride your motorcycle, but you’re not so thrilled by the open potholes, debris, and slick surfaces you regularly encounter. While cars and trucks can easily drive over or around these obstacles, motorcyclists must face them head-on—often with disastrous consequences. Along with many other things to be aware of for a safe trip on your bike, watch out for these common road hazards.
Small but Dangerous Road Hazards for Bikers
You know when you’re driving your car or pickup truck that you have to watch out for big obstacles—other cars, pedestrians, shredded truck tires, deer—and you watch for these things on your motorcycle as well. What you might not be as aware of, however, are the small but potentially very dangerous hazards you may encounter on your bike, such as the following:
- Debris in the road. Even small objects like branches, rocks, or roadkill can throw a motorcyclist when he is forced to ride over them. Don’t risk it—if you see it, avoid it, no matter how small it is.
- Rough pavement. Potholes, cracks, uneven resurfacing, and asphalt patches can cause a biker to lose his balance and crash. Often, when riders are forced to focus on avoiding a lot of rough pavement, they miss other hazards and end up in an accident caused by something else.
- Gravel. If you’ve ridden for more than a few days, you are well aware of the danger posed by loose gravel, especially when you are maneuvering through a turn or corner. As it is often distributed across the pavement, it can be very difficult to avoid. To prevent an accident, make sure you learn how to negotiate gravel.
- Edge breaks. When two highway lanes are different heights, the break between them can cause a biker to lose balance or control, especially when traveling at highway speeds. Be aware of edge breaks when making lane changes.
- Animals. While a car can drive over a small mammal and only feel a slight bump, hitting a cat, rabbit, or even a squirrel could cause a biker to be thrown from his bike. Also, swerving to avoid the animal could cause an accident as well. Large animals are obviously also a threat to bikers—a collision with a deer could be fatal.
- Expansion and bridge joints. Joints connect two sections of a road or a bridge together, allowing the road to expand without cracking. These joints can often be quite large and a front bike tire can easily get tracked in, throwing the rider off. These cannot be avoided, but a rider must be prepared for them and take them at a good angle to avoid and accident.
- Slick surfaces. Even cars have to be aware of snow and ice on the road, but motorcycles also have to be aware of leaves, crosswalk lines, oil or antifreeze, and trolley tracks, especially when these obstacles are wet. Painted surfaces become particularly slick and dangerous when wet and bikers have to be prepared to slow down when approaching crosswalks, lane markers, turn arrows, and stop lines in the rain.
- Railway tracks and crossings. This one may seem obvious, but many bikers think they can safely cross tracks if they have enough speed. Unfortunately, bike tires can get caught between tracks or slide out on the slick surface. Approach all track crossings with care.
- Puddles. Any body of standing water can be a hazard. A puddle could be concealing a deep pothole, which can do some serious harm, and motorcycle tires can easily hydroplane on wet surfaces.
Who’s to Blame When a Road Hazard Causes Your Accident?
Liability can be difficult to determine in road hazard motorcycle accidents. If a city or county agency knew of a pothole, pavement crack, standing water, or road debris and failed to correct it, they could be held liable for a resulting accident. When highway joints, railway crossings, and edge breaks cause an accident, it’s possible that the entity responsible for the design and maintenance of the road could be liable.
Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?
If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.
You can also order your FREE copy of our book, "KC Biker Bible."