Riding a motorcycle isn’t just more dangerous than driving a car because of the lack of protection in a crash. Even minor road hazards or obstacles like gravel, railroad crossings, or bridge expansion joints can cause a serious motorcycle accident. These road hazards are even more dangerous for inexperienced riders who may not know how to cross them safely.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash caused by a roadway hazard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, you may be entitled to compensation. State or municipal governments are usually responsible for maintaining roadways and may be held accountable when defects in the road cause injuries. An Oklahoma City motorcycle accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers has represented injured motorcyclists in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, since 2009. Contact our law office online or call us at (405) 497-0480 to schedule a free consultation today. We’re ready to put our 95 years of combined experience to work for you. Call today to set up a free case review.
How Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help if You’ve Been Hurt in an OKC Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle crash has left you injured, you may feel unsure where to turn or if you even have options for seeking compensation. Many motorcyclists mistakenly believe they have no avenue to recover compensation after a single-vehicle accident, especially without collision coverage.
If your accident was caused by a road danger like a pothole, debris, or a poorly maintained railroad crossing, you may be entitled to compensation from the municipality, state, or company responsible for its maintenance. These cases can be complicated, but an experienced Oklahoma City motorcycle accident attorney can help.
Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers has more than 95 years of combined experience representing injured motorcyclists like you. We have recovered in excess of $100 million on behalf of our clients in OKC, and we are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve.
When you hire our personal injury law firm to represent you, you can depend on us to:
- Perform an investigation into your accident and establish causation
- Identify all parties who may be liable for your injuries
- Handle your insurance claim and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Accurately value your case and the full extent of your damages
- Protect your best interests
- Take your case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer. We will help you explore your legal options and how we can help.
How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Road Hazards?
Hazards on the road are likely to lead to single-vehicle motorcycle crashes. In 2020, 600 (48.7%) of the 1,231 motorcycle accidents in Oklahoma were single-vehicle accidents. In almost 36% of these crashes, “no improper action by the driver” was selected on the crash report, meaning the rider was not at fault. Many of these accidents involved road hazards.
It’s believed that road surface conditions like potholes and gravel contribute to around 10% of fatal motorcycle accidents.
There’s no way to know how many motorcycle accidents actually happen due to road hazards, however. Single-vehicle motorcycle accidents are underreported. When a motorcyclist isn’t injured, they aren’t likely to report the crash for fear their insurance rates will go up. Many cyclists do not carry optional collision insurance coverage, which can be very expensive.
Common Road Dangers for Motorcyclists in Oklahoma City
Below are the most common road hazards in Oklahoma City that motorcyclists should watch for. The danger these hazards and road defects pose is especially great for inexperienced riders and when weather conditions obscure hazards and make the road slicker.
When a car hits a pothole, it may cause damage to the car. A motorcycle hitting a sudden dip in the road, on the other hand, can be deadly. The sharp edge of a pothole can bend a wheel rim, while the steep drop can push the tire sideways or even flip the bike.
Even a small pothole can cause a cyclist to lose control of the bike or be thrown from the motorcycle.
Gravel or Sand
Fine roadway debris like sand or gravel can be difficult to see until it’s too late. Loose, uneven road surfaces are one of the greatest threats to motorcyclists. Along with traction issues, gravel and loose rocks can spit out from the tire and make the bike slide or tip. Accelerating, slowing down, touching the brakes, or shifting your weight can have unpredictable effects and cause you to lose control of the bike suddenly.
The best way to handle gravel and other uneven road surfaces is to maintain smooth speed and steering. If you need to brake on sand or gravel, do it while you are sitting straight up, not turning or leaning.
Wet or Slick Surfaces
Wet, oily, or slick surfaces are just as dangerous for motorcyclists as gravel. When the road becomes slick, traction is dramatically reduced. This makes it challenging to maneuver or brake safely. Abrupt braking, acceleration, or turning can quickly cause you to lose control of the bike.
If the road is slick or wet, avoid sudden movements or braking. Avoid the center of the lane, especially after it rains, as this is the slickest part of the road and accumulates oil from cars.
Small, ordinary debris and objects on the road that do not warrant much attention from most motorists can be very dangerous to motorcyclists. Small debris can cause a bike to fishtail or lose control, while large objects may cause a motorcycle to flip or capsize.
Common types of roadway debris that can cause a motorcycle accident include:
- Tree branches
- Leaves, especially wet leaves
- Loose hay
- Scrap metal
- Lost cargo
- Tire treads
While riding, it’s important to remain vigilant and watch for debris on the road.
One of the greatest dangers and trickiest road hazards to master as a motorcyclist is crossing railroad tracks. A railroad crossing poses several dangers for motorcyclists.
The wide flange gap between the rail and roadbed can trap a tire. The height difference between the rail and roadbed can be hard to overcome. You will also likely deal with poor traction, especially if the rail is oily or wet.
These tips can help you safely and confidently cross railroad tracks on your bike:
- Make sure your tires are pointed in the same direction of travel – do not try to turn while crossing
- Cross from a perpendicular angle in a straight line that’s 45 degrees or greater
- You may need to swerve in your lane to get the correct angle and straighten your front tire before crossing
- Maintain your speed or slow down first, then speed up as you cross to maintain your steering authority
- Weight the pegs by lifting off your seat slightly
- Keep the tires away from V and X grooves where rails cross or join
- Assume aprons next to the rails are slippery and conserve traction
Crossing railroad tracks can be intimidating and takes practice to do well, but approaching from the correct angle and riding straight without turning is key to preventing a capsize.
Expansion joints are metal connecting sections of a road or parts of a bridge, allowing the concrete of the roadway or bridge to expand and contract. Sometimes, an expansion joint creates a large gap that can catch the tire of a motorcycle.
When crossing an expansion joint, avoid turning, leaning, or changing speed. Keep your wheels in a straight line perpendicular to the joint until you’re completely over it.
Uneven Surfaces and Edge Breaks
An edge break refers to two lanes of traffic with different heights, often during road construction. When a motorcycle’s tire strikes an uneven surface, it can pull to the left or right and cause the cyclist to lose control. This is especially dangerous at highway speeds.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Oklahoma City Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Learning to maneuver a motorcycle safely and handle different weather conditions, turns, and traffic scenarios takes time and skill. No matter how much experience you have, a road hazard can quickly turn a relaxing ride into a horrific experience.
If you have been hurt in a crash caused by a road hazard or defect, an Oklahoma City motorcycle accident lawyer can help you explore your legal options for recovering the compensation you need.
Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers is ready to put more than 95 years of combined experience to work on your behalf. Contact our law office today by calling at (405) 497-0480 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.