Decreased visibility motorcycle accidents are one of the primary types of motorcycle collisions, and occur when drivers of automobiles are unable to see a motorcyclist due to the much smaller size of their vehicles.
In some cases the automobile driver may turn directly in front of an oncoming motorcyclist, or may change lanes or back out of a parking space or driveway without seeing the cyclist.
A full 42 percent of all two-vehicle motorcycle fatalities involve a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle is going straight (and has the right-of-way).
Other times, a driver may open their vehicle door without properly looking, causing the motorcyclist to slam into the door.
Overall, motorcyclists are thirty-five times more likely to experience a fatal accident on the roadways than those in a passenger vehicle.
Between 4,000 and 5,000 motorcyclists are killed each year in highway accidents, with another 100,000 sustaining serious injury.
Other factors involved in motorcycle accidents include inclement weather, speeding, inexperienced motorcyclists, roadway defects or distracted driving by the motorcyclist or vehicle driver.
How Motorcyclists Can Improve Visibility
Because motorcyclists are already at a disadvantage as far as size and visibility, there are a number of things motorcyclists can do to protect themselves against decreased visibility motorcycle accidents, such as:
- Ride a brightly-colored motorcycle. This one thing can exponentially increase the chances you will be noticed, even if only out of the corner of the driver’s eye. Even a fraction of a second in reaction time can make the difference between living and dying.
- Wear high visibility safety gear.
- Use reflective tape to increase the visibility of your motorcycle. Putting reflective tape on any piece of the motorcycle which extends out from a light source can really help you be seen when riding at night. Some bikers apply reflective tape all the way around the wheel rims.
- Avoid the blind spots of other drivers. While you can’t avoid blinds spots altogether, pass cars and trucks quickly, then position yourself within the lane where you can best be seen.
- Tapping your brakes essentially turns the brake lights into a giant blinker, hopefully getting the attention of drivers around you.
- Ride with your high beams on. While you may annoy a few drivers, that annoyance is a small price to pay for your life.
- Use your horn when necessary—a quick double-tap on the horn can remind a distracted driver of your presence.