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What’s at the Intersection Between Fun and Safety?

iStock_000003222033XSmall.jpgAs we noted in a recent post, bike rider safety in intersections cannot be underestimated. Often car or other motor vehicle drivers are responsible for the accidents that happen in intersections. I see this in my practice as a Gwinnett County motorcycle accident lawyer.

As you all know, you cannot be sure that someone else on the road sees you. Experts say that you must never count on another driver seeing you, even if you have made eye contact with them. The Georgia Motorcycle Operators’ Manual is a great source of information for all riders, new and experienced.

Sometimes, as we know even from driving a car, another driver can look right at us and still take the right of way, even though it might belong to us. That is even more important when it comes to drivers failing to see motorcyclists. It is very important to make sure that when other vehicles enter your path, you are checking constantly to stay out of the way and avoid trouble for yourself.

The best ways to get seen at intersections for example, is to keep your headlight on and stay in a lane that gives you the best visibility to see oncoming traffic. If you can leave some space around your bike and other vehicles, that makes it more likely that you will be able to take evasive action.

Specifically, when you get close to the intersection, make sure that you cover the clutch lever and brakes which will give you greater reaction time. Slow down as you approach and avoid any major speed changes. In blind intersections, it is important to make sure that you move into the lane in such a way as to get into the other drivers’ field of vision. It is really important to make that happen as quickly as you can. It is most vital that you are able to see and be seen to the greatest extent possible.

So, when you are entering to a stop, do so. But then pull up and do that again, a bit short of where the cross-traffic will meet your lane. If you lean your body in from that position, you will be able to look around all potential obstacles like buildings, trees, parked cars and any other potential object that is in your line of sight. Keep your forearm wheel out of the cross lane of traffic.

Here is some information that is specifically for Atlanta riders. Did you know that the most dangerous intersection in Fulton County is at 14th Street and Peachtree Street? Another statistic which local riders should pay attention to: nearly 40 percent of Fulton County motorcycle crashes happened there in 2009.

As noted last year by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, other intersections in Fulton and Dekalb that had multiple motorcycle crashes in 2009 include: Barge Road and Campbelltown Roads; Camp Creek Parkway and Welcome All Road; 10th St. and Piedmont Avenue; Bolton Road and Marietta Road; Buford Highway and Peachtree Street; Delmar Lane and Delmoor Court; Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway and Eugenia Avenue. The AJC also notes that riders must be especially careful between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday evenings in August. These are all statistically the most dangerous times for bike riders.

For more information on the importance of intersection safety, check out the Federal Highway Administration’s “Detecting Motorcyclists and Bicyclists at Intersections.”

Charles Scholle is a Gwinnett County motorcycle injury and accident lawyer, providing free consultations to evaluate any motorcycle accident matter. Please contact our law firm at any time to talk with us.

Our law practice focuses on helping clients recover from catastrophic injuries due to motorcycle, car and truck accidents. We have offices in several locations around the Atlanta area, including Buckhead, Decatur and the Perimeter and serve clients throughout Georgia.