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Street Dangers For Motorcyclists And Bicyclists

For many people, riding on two wheels is infinitely preferable to riding on four. Increasing numbers of motorcycle enthusiasts and cyclists have taken to Portland’s streets and highways, and while the feel of the sun on your shoulders and the wind in your hair is an appealing aspect of riding, neither form of travel offers much protection in the event of accidents and injuries. Motorcycle and bicycling accidents often occur as the result of reckless behaviors on the part of other drivers, such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence. At the same time, road defects can and do play an important role in overall rider safety.

Road Defects That Can Lead To Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), road improvement projects tend to seek ways to make the roads safer for motor vehicle drivers, while often overlooking the needs of motorcycle riders and bicyclists. In light of the number of motorcycle and bicycle accidents that occur each year in the United States and the serious, often life threatening injuries that can result from these accidents, the NHTSA has teamed up with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to offer recommendations on how our roads can be made safer for all drivers. Poor roadway design, construction, and maintenance are often a contributing factor in motorcycle and biking accidents, as is the presence of obstacles in the roadway. According to research conducted by the NHTSA and the MSF, common types of road defects that can lead to an increase in accidents and injuries include the following:

  • Design elements incorporated into roadways, such as speed bumps and pavement ridges;
  • Asphalt sealants and crack repair materials, which can result in slick surfaces and reduced traction for motorcycle and bike riders;
  • Metal road surface components, such as in road lighting and speed detectors, which offer no traction and are often difficult to see;
  • Roadside barriers, such as islands and wire rope guardrails, which can be a life threatening hazard in the event of an accident;
  • Unpaved sections of roadways that are currently under construction, which can make steering and control of a motorcycle or bike difficult;
  • Potholes, gravel, and other obstacles, which often catch riders by surprise and cause them to lose control of their bikes.

Protecting Yourself Against Road Defects and Obstacles

While there may not be much you can do to prevent road hazards and defects from occurring, there are steps motorcyclists and bicycle riders can take to protect themselves when encountering these conditions. The American Association Of Retired People (AARP) recommends the following:  

  • Be aware of the types of hazards that can cause accidents, and keep an eye out for these conditions when out riding;
  • If you encounter speed bumps or ridges in the roadway, keep a tight grip on your steering wheel, stay straight, and rise up off your seat a bit to better absorb any bumps;
  • For wet or slick conditions, slow down gradually, maintain your grip on the wheel, and avoid slamming on your brakes, which could cause you to skid;
  • If you encounter a pothole or other obstacle, slow down and survey the traffic both in front, behind, and beside you before swerving into another lane. If you must go over an obstacle, do so slowly, use both your front and back brakes, and maintain a tight grip on the wheel.

Reach Out to a Portland Injury Lawyer for Help

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a motorcycle or bicycle accident, contact our experienced Portland personal injury attorney today. At the Johnston Law Firm, we can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable for the injuries you have suffered, and assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover. We serve Portland and the surrounding areas; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.