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What Risks Do New Motorcyclists Face on Oklahoma’s Roads?

Riding a motorcycle can be fun, financially savvy, and incredibly dangerous. Riders with decades of experience under their belts still have enormous risks every time they head out, whether they’re traveling to the corner store or across the country. New riders face even greater risks, as there’s no substitute for experience and years of honing your skills.

At a bare minimum, new riders should take safety courses and ride with more experienced riders for weeks, if not months, before venturing out on their own. They should also stick to roads with lower speed limits, lower traffic volumes, and few curves and elevation changes to get more acquainted with their bikes and the demands of riding.

But no matter how many precautions they take, all new riders will eventually be tested and put in harm’s way. These are the most common risks that new riders face in the Sooner State.

Distracted Drivers

Motorcyclists have a lot of challenges to overcome on the road, but their biggest obstacle is simply getting other drivers to see them. Unfortunately, this issue is made worse when drivers aren’t looking at the road or their surroundings and are instead looking at their phones.

New riders should always assume that drivers don’t see them while also doing everything in their power to make themselves more visible. That means wearing bright riding gear, avoiding nighttime and inclement weather rides, and turning on their lights—even during the day.

Left-Turning Vehicles

When it comes to drivers not seeing motorcyclists, the greatest risk in this scenario is when drivers turn left in front of them. This risk is especially pronounced when drivers are crossing medians, when they don’t have left-turn arrows, and when their visibility of oncoming traffic is limited.

New motorcyclists should be extremely cautious when approaching intersections or when they see vehicles waiting to turn or with their turn signals on. It’s common for new riders to assume that the people in those vehicles see them and are waiting for them to pass, but that’s not always the case, and sometimes drivers turn directly into the paths of riders.

Disrespectful or Aggressive Drivers

Sometimes, drivers are well aware of the presence of motorcyclists, but they still put them at risk anyway because of their negligent driving habits. Drivers who don’t respect motorcyclists or know about the dangers they face may follow them too closely, cut them off, or even drift into their lanes, forcing them to make quick evasive maneuvers.

Inexperienced riders are particularly at risk due to these negligent behaviors, as they may not have the skill and experience to avoid a crash or to maintain control over their bikes. The best way for new riders to avoid accidents in these situations is to avoid erratic drivers by changing lanes when necessary or by slowing down and allowing them to pass.

Road Hazards

Some accidents aren’t caused by other drivers at all and are instead caused by things that go “bump” in the road. Oil slicks, loose gravel, fallen tree limbs, and potholes may be nothing more than minor annoyances to drivers, especially those in big pickup trucks and SUVs, but they can be deadly to motorcyclists.

In addition to always being on the lookout for inattentive and distracted drivers, new riders must also constantly scan the road ahead for hazards. In some cases, avoiding those hazards requires evasive maneuvers, which can be dangerous at high speeds. That’s why it’s important for new riders to slow down and take their time.

Their Own Inexperience

The safest riders are those who can accelerate, brake, shift gears, turn, and scan for dangers automatically, but without taking their safety for granted. Unfortunately, new riders often need to devote serious brainpower and mental processing to simply keeping their bikes upright, let alone being keenly aware of the risks surrounding them.

Riders who devote hours upon hours to mastering the fundamentals before they hit the highway or challenging rural roads are much better equipped than even more experienced riders who still struggle with the basics. It can take anywhere from six months to one year of frequent riding to develop the skills, intuition, and experience to handle yourself properly on Oklahoma’s roads.

When Injured Riders Need Our Help, We’re Just a Phone Call Away

Whether they’ve been riding for their entire adult lives or they just bought their first bike a week ago, we know that motorcyclists face serious risks. The problem is only getting worse, as more and more drivers are becoming distracted with every passing year. And when those distracted and inattentive drivers cause crashes, it’s our job to help the riders get compensation.

If you or someone you love was injured by a negligent driver, we want to help you get the money you’re owed. Contact the Oklahoma motorcycle accident lawyers at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers today. Our consultations are free, and you owe us nothing unless we get money for you.