Motorcycle accidents happen, and when they happen they are usually a lot more serious than car accidents. Due to their very nature there are no “fender benders” with motorcycles, the bikes parts and the rider’s parts are all exposed. Add this to a bike’s inherent low speed instability and we find that things tend to get a lot more serious at a lot slower speeds.
Of course most motorcycle accidents are the fault of other road users….or are they? When I look back with honest eyes at the accidents I have had over the years on my bikes I can only think of two that were 100% the other guys fault.
The first was at night, it had been raining but now the rain had stopped and I was coming back from my local bar. In front of me a guy coming towards me in his car had stopped and was signaling to turn right, (I was in England so this makes sense!). I was nearly up to him when suddenly he turned across me; there was no way to stop and nowhere to go except into the side of the car. I left my bike on one side of the car and I flew over the top and landed in the road the other side, somehow avoiding any injury more than a few bruises and a bit of shock.
Anyway, words were exchanged and the police were called, he had been drinking and so it was a clear cut case, it was his fault both legally and in actuality.
The second time was much the same except this time I was overtaking a little sports car that decided to turn right without indicating. I was so lucky, I was wearing full steel toecap boots and as I bounced off the side of the car I took the metal fender right off with my foot. It tore the cap out of my boot but that toecap certainly saved me from losing half a foot and I ended up with nothing more than a broken ankle. Luckily, there were plenty of witnesses to the absence of indication from the guy and so again, another clear cut case.
However apart from those two I can honestly say I was in some part to blame in just about every other accident I have had, mostly because of trying to take corners far too fast or not anticipating road conditions. The last accident I had is a fine example of it being at least partly my fault.
Waiting at traffic lights behind a big white van, we pulled away, turned right and then a bicycle shot out from the footpath in front of the van. The van did an emergency stop and I tried to but there was no way I could stop. I tried to avoid the van but clipped it with an indicator. Unfortunately for me the indicators on my Speed triple are attached to the radiator and so the impact, although not breaking the indicator managed to crack the radiator. The accident happened at about 10mph and I suppose I could blame the cyclist but the reality is it was my fault, I was too close to the van, I should have been able to stop and there is no excuse for not being able to.
Other times I have been travelling to fast and so the other traffic did not anticipate my speed, or I was too fast and did not anticipate a car parked around the corner on the line I wanted to take, he should not have parked there but again, I should have been able to avoid him.
Take a look back at accidents and near misses that you have had, be honest with yourself about how much of the blame can really be aimed at the other person and try and learn from it. We only live once so let’s try and make it last as long as possible!