Avoiding a Motorbike Accident

Many riders worry about being rear-ended but studies show that prior to a crash, 90% of threats (both from other vehicles and the environment) are in front of the motorcyclist. Another statistic states that 75% of accident hazards are within 45 degrees either side of straight ahead. The main message there for bikers is to pay close attention to what is going on in front of you at all times.

Being seen is another crucial factor as is obvious from the high figures of drivers violating bikers’ right of way. It is most important to make sure that the frontal surfaces of both yourself and the bike are clearly visible. This can be done by keeping headlights on all the time (which is shown to significantly reduce accidents) and wearing a high visibility jacket.

As regards the way you ride your bike, assume you are invisible to other motorists. Don’t ride in a driver’s blind spot and place emphasis on defensive driving – anticipate that you will not be seen. Be especially careful at intersections as they are particularly dangerous for motorbikes.

There are three key tips for keeping safe:

  1. Ride at the appropriate speed for the conditions;
  2. Don’t overtake near a junction or entrance;
  3. Slow down on bends.

The majority of accidents happen in urban or suburban areas so be particularly careful there. However as regards bend accidents, there are five times as many of those in rural areas as there are in non-rural areas. If you are in a rural area pay particular attention to bends if you are on a sports bike or are between 26 and 40, these riders make up the majority of rural bend accidents.

When it’s raining, some riders find that they get better traction by driving in the tracks of cars in front of them. However, it’s important to remember to not follow too closely. Painted lines and metal surfaces (such as manholes) will offer less traction. USA research suggests that if you are riding in the rain you should pull over and wait for it to stop – however we know that this is not practical for Irish bikers. The next best advice is to remember that conditions are most dangerous during the first few minutes of rainfall due to oil and other car droppings on the roadway. If possible, sit out the beginning of a shower. Remember also that driving through water can affect your brakes.

If you are caught in a dangerous situation, remember that the typical accident allows you less than two seconds to complete all collision avoidance action. MAIDS, a European study, showed that bikers generally do a poor job when they have to stop or turn in a moment of panic. Of those riders who attempted some avoidance manoeuvre before the crash, one third lost control of the bike as a result. Often, accident avoidance scenarios involve skills that are beyond those of the typical biker. The main message is to avoid an accident – position yourself so that traffic can see you, use your headlights and wear a high-visibility jacket.



For any kind of motorbike query don’t hesitate to call us on 045 431542 for an opinion of your case. You can also email us at info@motorbikelaw.ie or use our “Evaluation of your Case” link at the top of this page and we’ll get back to you.*


* In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.