9 Common Road Hazards That Can Cause Motorcycle Crashes

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on January 9, 2017

. Updated on March 23, 2022


motorcycles on country roadOne of the reasons riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car is that debris and other road hazards that have little effect on cars are a serious threat to motorcycle riders’ safety. Something as simple as wet pavement or an uneven roadway could cause a motorcycle accident resulting in severe injuries or death.

These are nine of the most common road hazards motorcyclists need to be aware of:

  • Rough roadways – Poor maintenance, construction projects and roadway resurfacing can cause rough, bumpy patches in the road that increase the risk of a motorcycle crash.
  • Gravel – This is one of the most dangerous surfaces for motorcycles, particularly when making turns.
  • Edge breaks between lanes – Edge breaks occur when two lanes are different heights. As with many other hazards, this is particularly dangerous at high speed.
  • Expansion joints and open bridge joints – Expansion joints connect sections of a road together, while bridge joints connect sections of a bridge. These joints allow concrete to expand without cracking. However, these joints can create significant gaps in the road.
  • Slippery surfaces – Leaves, roadway paint, train tracks, crosswalk lines and oil can make the road slippery, causing motorcycles to slide.
  • Snow, ice and standing water – These conditions can cause hydroplaning, which can cause riders to lose control of their bikes.
  • Road debris – Rocks, tree branches, boxes, tools and parts of tire threads are all examples of debris that can cause motorcycle crashes.
  • Railroad crossings – The wheels on motorcycles can get caught in railway tracks. Also, metal or wood in between tracks can become slippery when it gets wet.
  • Strong wind – This can throw riders off balance.

How to Safely Navigate Road Hazards

Preparing for road hazards can go a long way toward helping you avoid a crash the next time you ride your motorcycle. There are several things you can do to be ready for road hazards:

  • Travel in light traffic – This will provide more room to maneuver if you need to avoid a hazard.
  • Do not make sudden moves – This is particularly important on slippery surfaces, as it could cause you to lose balance.
  • Use both brakes – Take care to apply the front brake slowly and consistently so you do not lock the wheel. Do the same with your rear brakes.
  • Practice good posture – Grip the handlebars firmly, plant your feet firmly on the pegs, and keep your shoulders and arms flexible. This will help you maintain balance and control.
  • Avoid tailgating – You should travel at least two seconds behind other vehicles.
  • Slow down – This is particularly important when you are about to travel over debris or an uneven surface.
  • Plan how to traverse hazards – Before you ride, decide how you would deal with a variety of obstacles. For example, you could plan to move to the shoulder to avoid a large patch of gravel.

Liability in Road Hazard Accidents

Various parties could be held liable for a motorcycle accident caused by a road hazard, including states, counties, cities or public agencies that maintain the roadway.

Private individuals or businesses could also be held liable. For instance, if an object fell off a car and caused an accident, the driver could be held liable. If a tree fell off a landscaper’s truck, the company could be held liable.

However, several factors are involved in assigning liability, such as the kind of hazard, why it was in the road, whether or not it should have or could have been removed, the motorcyclist’s actions, and the actions of other drivers.

The South Bend motorcycle accident lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak understand the complexities of these cases.

We know how to investigate these situations to build a strong case that gives you a chance to obtain fair compensation. We have obtained multiple settlements for victims of motorcycle crashes.

Founding partner Daniel H. Pfeifer is on the Board of Governors for the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. He has also been admitted to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group composed of less than one percent of U.S. trial lawyers.

Contact our personal injury lawyers today by calling (844) 678-1800.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases