Every time a person drives on the roadways, they are likely to see motorcyclists. Therefore, they must learn how to properly share the roads and do their best to keep motorcycle operators safe and harm-free.
This means that distracted driving should be avoided at all times during your drive. While anyone can become a victim of severe injuries caused by distracted driving, the truth is that motorcycle riders are especially vulnerable to catastrophic injuries due to their lack of protection in a motorcycle accident.
What does the data say about distracted driving and motorcycle operators?
According to a recent study published by ScienceDirect, motorcycle operators are at high risk of a multi-vehicle accident or collision when drivers are distracted. The study also showed that texting and handheld device bans did not have much effect on distracted driving causing motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, regardless of these bans, motor vehicle drivers are still choosing to get behind the wheel and text, email, post on social media, and more.
Why are motorcycle riders vulnerable to accidents involving distracted drivers?
Even though any driver or passenger in any type of vehicle can experience a serious accident and severe injuries due to distracted drivers, they are protected by seat belts, a hard outer shield, and air bags. These three elements in automobiles and trucks were created to keep drivers and passengers in place and protected when an accident occurs. As a result, many people are able to walk away with minor and non-threatening injuries after being involved in an accident.
However, motorcycle riders do not have seat belts, air bags, or an outer shield to keep them in place when an accident occurs. Therefore, when they are involved in a sudden and unexpected accident with a distracted driver, they are likely to be thrown from their bikes, hit the pavement, collide with other vehicles or objects, and strike their head or other body parts on the concrete. As a result, they frequently suffer more severe injuries than those who are in passenger vehicles.
How exactly does distracted driving lead to motorcycle accidents?
It is important to know and understand how distracted driving can lead to motorcycle accidents. Here are several examples of ways that this senseless behavior often causes accidents with motorcyclists:
- When a driver is too busy looking at their phone, radio, or a passenger, they may begin to veer into another lane. This can cause them to sideswipe a motorcycle rider or hit them head on.
- If a driver is reaching for an object on the floorboard, talking on the phone, and messing with their air conditioner controls, they may not realize that the motorcycle ahead of them is stopping. As a result, they may rear-end the motorcyclist, causing them to be ejected from their bike.
- When a driver is doing their makeup, brushing their hair, or dealing with their child in the backseat, it is common for them not to notice that a motorcycle in front of them is using a turn signal to alert them that they are planning to make a turn. While most people would slow down and give the motorcyclist room to turn, the automobile driver is not paying attention, leading to them not having enough time or space to slow down for the motorcyclist to successfully turn.
- A driver may be scrolling on social media or watching a video on their phone while backing out of a parking space. Since they are not paying attention to or listening to their surroundings, they may back into a motorcyclist.
Are there ways to tell if a a driver may be distracted?
There are usually ways to tell that an automobile driver is driving distracted. However, as a motorcyclist, it may be difficult for you to pay attention to the roads and look out for distracted driving clues. If you are able to do so, it may be a good idea to know and be aware of certain driving behaviors that may indicate that a driver is distracted, such as:
- You see a driver looking down at their lap, holding up their phone, wearing headphones, or talking.
- The driver continuously hits their brakes.
- The driver fails to go when a traffic light turns green or when they have the right of way at an intersection or stop sign.
- They are constantly weaving between lanes.
- You may notice the driver going off the side of the road or crossing the centerline frequently.
There are numerous reasons why distracted driving is dangerous. It should be taken very seriously. If you believe distracted driving contributed to your motorcycle accident, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Vancouver, WA motorcycle accident lawyers at Philbrook Law at your earliest convenience.
Does Vancouver, WA have a distracted driving ban or law?
According to the Revised Code of Washington 46.61.672, anyone who uses an electronic device while driving in the state of Washington is disobeying the law. If a driver is caught using an electronic device while behind the wheel, they will likely be given a citation and required to pay a fine.
The Washington State Patrol website explains that the entire state of Washington passed legislation in 2017 called the “Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act.” As a result of this Act, more law enforcement and troopers are paying attention and looking to find and hold distracted drivers accountable. The only time you can use an electronic device in the state is if you are calling 9-1-1.
At Philbrook Law Office, we believe that motorcycle riders deserve the same type of respect and rights as any other drivers. Our motorcycle accident attorneys are ready and available to assist you with the ins and outs of a motorcycle accident claim as well as ensure that responsible parties are held accountable. To schedule your free consultation in Battle Ground or Vancouver, WA, please call our office or fill out our contact form today. We proudly serve clients in Oregon as well.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.