There are few times of year more perfect for a ride than a crisp autumn day. While fall is a beautiful season, it is also a season that brings additional road hazards for motorcycle riders. The more that motorcyclists become aware of the dangerous hazards that await them this upcoming season, the better they can take the necessary precautions to avoid them.
According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,014 motorcyclists who lost their lives in crashes during 2019. Although motorcycle accidents can happen at any moment, there are certain conditions during the fall season that motorcyclists should be aware of when riding. The weather and the wildlife (along with shorter days) can create some unique hazards.
How does rain make the roads more dangerous for motorcyclists?
St. Louis motorcyclists are more vulnerable to road hazards created by bad weather conditions than truck drivers and motor vehicle drivers are. Roads are most dangerous when they are wet. For motorcyclists, the slippery surfaces can make the possibility of a crash greater. In fact, the most dangerous time for motorcyclists to ride on the road is the first 30 minutes of a rainstorm. Because of the smaller and lighter size of the motorcycle, there is a greater chance that the motorcycle will slide easily on the road. This chance is definitely greater when the motorcyclist is turning.
How do fallen leaves make the roads more dangerous for motorcyclists?
Fallen leaves also contribute to making roads slippery. As the amount of leaves continues to increase on the ground, the roads begin to become slick. When motorcyclists drive through piles of leaves, they risk the chance of losing traction in their tires, which makes it even more difficult to stop. To avoid this issue, motorcyclists can practice precaution when driving around piles of leaves by reducing their speed.
How does frost and ice affect road conditions for motorcyclists?
While it is (hopefully) a bit too soon to worry about the possibility of snow, there are other conditions that occur during the fall that impact the road conditions for motorcyclists. One example would be frost and ice. Because the weather is transitioning during this season, there are days when the weather is warm and temperatures drop during the nighttime.
As a result, frost and ice can manifest on the roads during the early morning hours. In certain areas such as elevated surfaces and areas that are blocked from the sun, the collection of frost and ice can accumulate, especially ice. The most dangerous characteristic about ice is that it can form quickly on the roads for a number of reasons.
How are animals a challenge for motorcyclists during the fall season?
As mentioned in the survivor’s story, hotorcyclist. Hitting a deer in particular can produce very fatal injuries for a motorcyclist or their passengers. The most dangerous aspect of animals is that their unpredictable nature makes it difficult to anticipate and avoid hitting them. Animals are known to run in the road during the most sporadic of times; it makes it difficult for a motorcyclist to react in a timely manner to avoid hitting the animal, especially if the motorcyclist is speeding or at least maintaining a certain speed while driving.
Although motorcyclists should avoid being struck by all types of animals, deer in particular should be avoided. With the construction of homes and wooded areas being torn down as a result, many deer are being forced to more open areas, specifically the roads. Because fall is also a breeding season, the possibility of more deer popping up and actively moving around is greater.
Even though there is not a certain method to predict the occurrence of a deer accident, there are certain tips that motorcyclists can remember to avoid a deer accident. The first tip is that deer are more active during the early morning and evening hours, and the second tip is that deer travel in packs. To potentially avoid a deer accident, motorcyclists can reduce their speed during the active hours and keep in mind that if one deer is spotted, there are probably many more looming around.
Real stories from injured riders remind us all to be careful
The Skilled Motorcyclist Association Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders (SMARTER) is a nonprofit motorcycle association full of responsible riders who want to stress the importance of safety for motorcyclists everywhere. On the organization’s page, there is a section where survivors of motorcycle crashes can share their stories.
One couple who were brave enough to share their story with SMARTER mentioned how they collided with a deer while riding on the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, and how helmets essentially saved both of their lives. The husband and wife were headed to Canada when they collided with a deer. As a result, both the husband and wife had to be transported to the nearest trauma center, which was the Baraga Trauma Center at Baraga County Memorial Hospital.
While at the trauma center, the husband went into shock and both the husband and the wife had to be transferred to Marquette General. In addition to going to shock, the husband also suffered from a concussion, four broken ribs, and a collapsed lung. The wife suffered from a concussion, lost a tooth, and almost lost her hand all from the result of this accident. Thank goodness, both the husband and wife are still alive today and were happy to have had their helmets on.
At The Hayden Law Firm, we pride ourselves on always putting you, our client, first. Our attention to detail and methodical approach helps us get you results that can help you recover fully from your motorcycle accident and injuries. Please call our offices at 314.480.3100, or complete our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We proudly serve clients in St. Louis, and throughout Missouri and Illinois.
Attorney Amanda L. Hayden has dedicated her legal career to fearlessly advocating for clients and their families after their lives have been devastated by the careless and/or reckless conduct of others.
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