Despite national campaigns that urge other drivers to see motorcyclists and to share the roadway, thousands of motorcycle accidents are reported all over the country, including here in California, every year. It would seem to many of our more frequent readers here in Los Angeles that the list of things that could be potentially dangerous to motorcyclists just keeps growing, now consisting of everything from distracted drivers to large commercial vehicles.
But even though other drivers are a major cause of crashes with motorcycles in California and other states, there are other hazards on our roadways that can be equally as dangerous as other drivers and they are things like roadway design and maintenance.
Here in California, traffic engineers are supposed to design roadways that keep public safety in mind. Unfortunately, engineers don’t always take into consideration the needs of two-wheeled vehicles like motorcycles. This can lead to designs that, while safe for vehicles with four or more wheels, are not particularly safe for motorcycles, oftentimes resulting in serious or fatal crashes.
Poor roadway maintenance is another thing that can lead to possible crashes as well. Things like loose gravel, potholes or even road debris might not be an issue for the driver of a car or larger vehicle because they are more stable and are not affected that often by these road hazards. But for motorcyclists it’s different. Even a small pothole could cause a rider to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a catastrophic crash depending on the physics of the accident.
Though society tends to focus its attention on educating drivers about the importance of seeing motorcyclists, state officials and traffic engineers need to be just as observant of the fact that motorcyclists share our roadways too. This means making safer road designs that keep motorcycles in mind and to quickly fix road hazards that could be potentially deadly to a motorcyclist.