A quick dip into the case files at many a motorcycle accident compensation claims based upon an incident, which occurred while a rider was filtering through lanes of traffic.
The filtering manoeuvre is up there with bike riders “turning left” at T-junctions or “pulling out” to overtake and colliding with a vehicle driver “who didn’t see” the bike approaching. The action of filtering through traffic can be an edgy experience for both motorist and rider simply because it’s more likely that the motorist has spotted the bike drawing up alongside ( in slow lanes of traffic). Yet, the facts are that filtering or overtaking are actually not the chief cause of accidents and only account for 15 per cent in total.
Once again, it’s more likely that the motorcyclist has to take most of the responsibility for keeping his eye on everything that’s happening ahead, behind and across all lanes of traffic. This is because the car driver is more likely to be just watching out for other vehicles and not even expecting ( or really wanting to even see) a bike appearing in the rear or side mirrors, let alone filtering closely alongside.
Motorists become nervous, agitated and even annoyed when a motorbike is in close proximity. They assume that the bike rider is about to do something unexpected and illegal and will cause an accident any minute. As the thought crosses the anxious driver’s mind, they may, themselves, involuntarily react and perform a sudden erratic manoeuvre or try to pull away from the bike thinking their wing mirrors or doors are about to be scraped.
So despite the greater vulnerability to being on the receiving end of motorist negligence or reckless behaviour and thus 40 times more likely to suffering an horrific injury, it falls to the motorcyclist to give drivers ample space and ensure they do not panic, slow down, speed up or change direction. Unfortunately, it’s because motorcyclists are involved in more serious road accidents, that motorists mistakenly assume that bike riders obviously were the cause. Once again, nearly 4 in 10 of accidents are actually caused by disregard of the Highway Code or illegal road actions by the motorist.
Motorbike riders should ensure they slow down as much as possible and attempt to gain eye contact with the driver through their rear view or side mirrors and ensure that a manoeuvre they intend to make will be noticed.
The rising toll of bike casualties speaks for itself. In 2011, the number of riders reported as seriously injured rose by 10 per cent to more than five thousand and the total number of all reported motorcycle user casualties was also up by 8 per cent to more than 20,000. In 2012 more than 25,000 bikers were injured, of which, nearly 600 were fatal accidents.