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Rear-End Collisions Are Riskier for Motorcyclists — Here’s Why

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If you had to get into a car accident and you had a choice about what kind, you’d probably wish for a fender-bender. Many people think of rear-end car collisions as typically less severe than, for example, a head-on collision. There’s good reason to think so, too — as a driver, if you’re rear-ended, you’re as far away from the collision as you can be. Even if you’re the one rear-ending another person, you’re likely traveling at low speeds, probably stuck in traffic and inching forward a little at a time.

However, those assumptions of safety disappear if you’re a motorcyclist in a rear-end collision. Even a low-speed rear-end collision can result in disastrous consequences. Why are rear-end collisions so much riskier for motorcyclists, and what can riders do to protect themselves?

Motorcyclists Are Exposed

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Rear-end collisions have a reputation for being safer than others, but they can still result in serious injury even if you’re driving a car. In a serious rear-end car accident, your airbags may deploy. If you’re the one who has been hit, you may be pushed forward into a vehicle in front of you or into a lane of oncoming traffic.

But the risk for severe injury is even worse for motorcyclists. The big difference in general between getting into an accident in a car versus on a motorcycle is that motorcycles are much more exposed. The feeling of freedom they give to riders comes at the loss of safety features standard on cars, such as airbags and seat belts.

As a protective measure, motorcyclists should invest in gear that’s designed to protect riders in the event of an accident. Although you’re not required by law to wear a helmet in Indiana if you’re over 18 years old, we would still recommend you wear one to protect against a traumatic brain injury in the event of a rear-end collision.

Motorcyclists Are More Likely to Fall from or Fly off of Their Vehicle

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If you’re in a car, you typically have to be in an incredibly serious accident in order to be ejected from the vehicle itself. However, on a bike, it’s quite easy to fall from or fly off of your motorcycle.

In a rear-end collision, if the motorcyclist is hit from behind, such force could propel the motorcyclist upward before landing on the ground. On the other hand, if the motorcyclist hits the car in front of them, they could fly from their bike onto the car itself. Both scenarios increase the likelihood of serious injuries.

In such situations, you not only have to think about where the rider will land, but where the bike will land as well. Injuries are likely to occur if a motorcyclist hits the ground hard. However, if the motorcycle then falls on top of the rider, it could result in even more severe injuries.

Motorcyclists should invest in protective gloves that will decrease the likelihood of broken or shattered wrists if they throw their hands out in the event of a fall. They should also invest in jackets and pants that are meant to withstand a motorcycle accident to prevent road rash.

How to Avoid a Rear-End Collision

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All of the gear in the world can’t promise that you’ll walk away from a rear-end collision unscathed, so it’s best to avoid them if at all possible. Here are some tips for motorcyclists to avoid a rear-end collision:

  • Increase your following distance. Never tailgate another vehicle.
  • If a vehicle is tailgating you, switch lanes.
  • Don’t ride while drunk, distracted, or drowsy.
  • Ride in the best lane position.
  • Lane splitting is illegal in Indiana, so don’t try to drive down the centerline of a road just to pass someone.
  • Make sure your brake lights work. Pay attention the brake lights of the vehicle ahead of you. If they don’t appear to be working, slow down and increase your following distance, or switch to another lane.

Traffic safety doesn’t just depend on motorcyclists, however. Drivers of passenger vehicles need to take certain precautions to make sure their driving doesn’t endanger motorcyclists. Here are some tips for drivers to help avoid rear-end collisions with motorcyclists.

  • If you see or hear a motorcycle, keep an eye on where it is and when it’s likely to pass into one of your blind spots.
  • Don’t change lanes or turn without using your turn signal and giving those behind you ample time to react to your movements.
  • Don’t stop suddenly.
  • Increase your following distance and refrain from tailgating. If someone is tailgating you, switch lanes and let them pass you.
  • Respect a motorcycle’s right to space like you would any other, larger vehicle.

Help from an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a rear-end motorcycle accident, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.