The Role of Hazardous Road Conditions in Motorcycle Accidents
While the average driver of an automobile may only think of road conditions in passing while traveling on highways and byways, it's a concern that looms far larger for motorcycle riders. Because of the exposed nature of riding a two-wheeled motorcycle and factors such as centrifugal force, road conditions are of critical important to riders. Not only do road conditions determine how the motorcycle handles at speed on the roadway, but it also plays a role in how attentive other drivers are to the riders who share the road with them.
Poorly paved roads can create a significant hazard for motorcyclists, as any deviation on the road surface can cause a rider to lose balance. Bumps in the roads, such as potholes, edge breaks between lanes, uneven concrete joints on bridges, or roads that are being resurfaced, are all examples of rough road surfaces that can lead to accidents if a rider encounters them unexpectedly and loses balance.
Gravel or Sand on the Roadway
Loose gravel and sand on a road
surface can spell danger for motorcycle riders, especially when it accumulates
in curves. Even a small patch of any loose substance on the asphalt can cause
the rear drive wheel of a motorcycle to slip, which is problematic for a
vehicle with only two wheels. If the gravel or sand is encountered while negotiating
a sharp turn, the effect of centrifugal force combined with the loose gravel
can result in the rear of the motorcycle slipping from beneath the rider,
causing it to "lay down."
Some stretches of road may feature low
spots where water can accumulate during even light to moderate rains. While
unexpected puddles can put a scare into the drivers of cars due to the
increased potential for sudden hydroplaning, for motorcycle riders a surprise
puddle can be extremely dangerous. That's why areas where water frequently
stands on the roadway should be clearly identified with signage, since forewarning
can help motorcyclists have a heightened awareness to the threat.
Aside from gravel and sand on the
roadway, there are other types of debris that can be extremely hazardous for
riders. Items such as fallen limbs, the remnants of blown-out tires, broken
bottles, and flotsam that fell off passing vehicles can all pose a significant
danger to motorcyclists if they unexpectedly encounter them. If a rider strikes
such debris, he or she could be ejected over the handlebars of the bike, or
balance could be lost.
Lack of Signage
Road conditions don't all pertain to the surface on which riders must travel. They are also impacted by the presence of proper signage that can help warn motorcyclists of potential known hazards or coach automobile drivers to be cautious while sharing the road with motorcyclists. Signs that warn of uneven roadways, bumpy segments of road, or potential puddling are all an important part of improving road conditions for riders and drivers alike.