Partner at Charbonnet Law Firm LLC

Practice Areas: Personal Injury Claims

Operating a motorcycle takes a much more unique combination of physical and mental skills than driving a four-wheel automobile. These motorcycles are not only less visible and less stable than other motor vehicles, but due to their nature, they are far less crashworthy. Consequently, motorcyclists are more vulnerable to deadly and horrific collisions.

Even though some motorcycle accidents can be linked to a motorcyclist’s unsafe driving, most motorcycle crashes are often due to another driver’s negligent driving. However, that does not mean there is nothing you can do to avoid these crashes. For instance, knowing the types of motorcycle accidents that can result in New Orleans can help ensure you take steps to prevent these potential crashes from happening and ultimately help keep you safe on the road.

Common Types of New Orleans Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents can result from numerous scenarios. However, in New Orleans, the most common types of motorcycle collisions usually result from the following:

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is when a bicycle or a motorcycle rides between rows or lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic moving in the same direction. Typically, because motorcycles take up less space on the road than other vehicles, motorcyclists often feel that this should not be an issue. In truth, they think it can be an ideal way to avoid traffic jams and get to their destination more quickly. Unfortunately, not only is lane splitting illegal in Louisiana, but it can also be hazardous. Motor vehicle drivers do not expect motorcycles to drive in between them, and because of the confinement, it makes it extremely difficult for a motorcyclist to take evasive action in an emergency.

How To Avoid These Issues

Yes, it may seem like the perfect plan to ride through traffic, but it is not the right answer. Because of Louisiana’s laws regarding lane splitting, the best thing you can do is to wait patiently with the other cars around you and travel at the same speed as they are. Additionally, do not use lane splitting to avoid potential hazards. Instead, give other motor vehicles enough time to maneuver safely around these obstacles.

Merging and Unsafe Lane Changes

As a motorcyclist, if you are merging into nearby traffic lanes, this process can increase your collision risk. Even if a driver is paying attention, they may not notice the presence of a smaller motorcycle merging into traffic. This situation may become even more grave if a motorcyclist decides to change lanes in heavy traffic since many riders do not have much time to look over into the lane they are merging into. In addition, a motorist may also have trouble placing the speed and location of a motorcycle, especially when these motorcycles are traveling at higher rates than the surrounding traffic.

How To Avoid These Issues

To avoid lane change crashes, motorcyclists can take numerous actions that can help keep them safe, including:

  • Not traveling directly next to other motor vehicles
  • Always paying attention to flashing turn signals- this can help you recognize that a driver is ready to change lanes
  • Recognizing drifting or driver behavior that can indicate a possible lane change (a driver looking over their shoulder)
  • Making sure to be aware of situations that can increase a lane change, such as an upcoming freeway exit

Left- Turning Vehicles

Left-turning accidents are some of the most deadly types of crashes. Even if a motorist is watching out for other cars before making a left turn, they may not notice a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction or moving across the intersection, especially since motorcycles are smaller and harder to see. Consequently, a driver may make a left-hand turn without even realizing that the motorcycle is right there.

How To Avoid These Issues

When you are riding a motorcycle, you must take protective measures that will allow you to stay especially alert in these left-turn situations:

  • Pay attention to vehicles waiting in intersections or that are signaling an intent to turn
  • If you notice a car getting ready to turn left, consider waiting to get through an intersection until you know the automobile will stop
  • In certain circumstances, consider yielding the right of way to protect your safety and prevent a crash
  • Try to reduce your speed at intersections
  • If you notice a traffic gap, be aware of where cars may enter
  • Wear bright colors and check that your headlights are operational- this can help other motorists be able to see you on the road

Stops That Happen Suddenly

Yes, motorcycles may have the ability to turn and stop faster than other larger motor vehicles. However, this does not ring true to the cars driving behind a motorcycle. If a vehicle follows too closely behind a motorcycle, it increases the chances of a rear-end crash, especially if the motorcycle has to make a sudden or emergency stop.

How To Avoid These Issues

Even though you cannot always stop another motorist from driving too closely behind you, there are things you can do to stay safe.

  • Do not speed or try to drive faster to get away from the motorist behind you
  • Slow down so that your rate of speed gives the car behind you more time to respond
  • Always pay attention to the location of the vehicle behind you, if the vehicle behind you is too close, make sure you slow down but not abruptly

Head-On Collisions

When a head-on collision occurs, motorcycle riders can suffer severe and deadly injuries. This is because head-on collisions combine the rate of speed of both drivers involved in the crash, which means that the force applied to the motorcycle and the rider is significantly greater. Typically, these head-on collisions occur because a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are distracted, they are trying to pass another vehicle in an unsafe way, or there are bad weather conditions causing low visibility.

How To Avoid These Issues

As a motorcycle rider, the best way to avoid a head-on collision is to always pay careful attention to the road and other drivers on the road. In fact, the National Safety Council indicates that the following defensive driving techniques can significantly help a motorcyclist avoid these horrifying collisions:

  • Always be aware of the road in front of you, the other vehicles on the road, and your surroundings
  • Always maneuver to the right if any oncoming vehicles cross the centerline or get near it
  • Always reduce your speed for greater control in response to upcoming threats
  • Always steer off the road to avoid an oncoming vehicle

If An Accident Occurs, Get The Legal Help You Need

Sometimes no matter how many protective actions you take, motorcycle crashes can still occur. However, when they do. You need to make sure you get experienced legal help that you can count on. When you contact the Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC or call our office at (504) 294-5118, our lawyers can ensure that we do everything we can to go after the compensation you are entitled to and fight for the justice you deserve.



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