Small Motorcycles, Big Cities: Riding in an Urban Area
December 24, 2013
With the congestion on many of our highways and limited parking in metropolitan areas, some big city commuters may want to start considering trading in their four-wheeled vehicle for a two-wheeled one.
There are several key advantages to riding a motorcycle in a big city, but there are also plenty of risks due to all the other drivers on the roads – most of them in larger vehicles. First, though, let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
Why Ride a Motorcycle to Work?
More parking options Studies suggest that up to 30% of city traffic may be caused by drivers circling the block searching for parking, and drivers spend between 6-14 minutes looking for parking on average. Motorcycle riders are often able to fit into smaller parking spots, and some lots even have specially designated motorcycle parking areas, resulting in less wasted time.
Gas mileage Larger bikes get around 30 miles per gallon, which is nice, but many of the smaller, most fuel-efficient bikes can get upwards of 90.If you dread filling up your gas tank every week, a motorcycle may help reduce stress.
No problem keeping up with traffic Commuting by bicycle is a great, environmentally-friendly form of transportation, but some big cities just aren’t that bike-friendly, and trying to share the road with cars that whiz by can be terrifying.
Motorcycles, on the other hand, have no problem keeping up with cars, and if you’re in California you can potentially save time by following the state’s safe lane-splitting guidelines.
Dangers of Riding a Motorcycle to Work
Of course, there are still risk factors that urban motorcycle riders need to keep in mind.
High speeds The faster you’re going, the more likely it is that there will be serious consequences if you get into an accident. This holds true for people in any type of vehicle, but motorcycles are especially at risk because they don’t have any doors, seatbelts, or airbags.
Drivers who don’t look During rush hour, the roads are full of stressed out drivers who are just trying to get to their destination as quickly as possible. This means that drivers are less likely to check for smaller vehicles when changing lanes, and motorcycles need to beware of being cut off or hit at an intersection.
Distracted drivers At any given time during the day, roughly 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices that take their attention off the road. Motorcyclists have the most to lose from these drivers since they are smaller and less protectedthan people in regular cars.
Staying Safe on Your Commute
If you do ride a motorcycle in a big city, there are certain precautions you need to take. You should always wear a helmet, of course, and reflective clothing if you’re riding when it’s dark. You also need to leave plenty of following room so that you can brake or take evasive action if necessary, and pay particular attention to cars when changing lanes or going through an intersection.
Unfortunately, there are situations where a motorcyclist does everything in their power to be safe, but a reckless driver still causes an accident. If this happens to you, you need to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in order to get the compensation you deserve and show drivers that they need to be aware of motorcycle riders.
About the Author:
Lawlor Winston White & Murphy. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”