Motorcyclists are likely to be the first to say that accidents, injuries and fatalities can happen while riding on the road at any time – whatever the weather. Equally, as motorcycle accident claims can often show, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the first signs of autumn are also likely to alert motorbike riders to the added impact of seasonal weather upon road surfaces.
The problems of the British road surface have been not infrequently been pointed out here at Your Legal Friend blog. Highway authorities can appear to be forever treating an incurable pothole pandemic, which inevitably, rips open tarmac, disgorges aggregate and crumples gently shaped camber.
The significant risk to those on two wheels caused by cracked and uneven road surfaces are often compounded by oil and diesel spillage, the scattered remnants of blown out tyre treads and vehicle body parts from previous accidents. Motorcycle riders also often refer to the raised smooth paint profiles of road markings as creating an additional tyre-slip hazard.
Rain-soaked road surface...
Undoubtedly, the biggest tyre-slip hazard is a rain-soaked road surface, an almost permanent condition from autumn to the following spring. Once the trees begin to shed their leaves, adding to the accretion of stone aggregate, oil spills and the various birds and small creatures, the motorbike rider is confronted with a deadly assault course of slime and mulch every time he or she heads out on UK winter roads.
Rainwater collects in every slight depression in the road surface as well as the more obvious open sores of pothole and fissure. Fallen branches and leaves pile up along kerbside and around bends in the road, forcing motorbike riders to weave in and out more than usual to avoid the deadly obstacles and prevent tyre-slip.
Wide sweeps of the road...
Motorcyclists are forced to be more vigilant in reading the road for both surface hazards and other road users. Unfortunately, the motorist only tends to see the rider making wide sweeps of the road to avoid losing control while taking preventative manoeuvres. This can trigger an unnecessary response from the motorist, such as trying to change lane, braking harshly or gesturing at the rider trying only to avoid the deadly cocktails of leaves, oils and rainwater that appear at every turn.
Twice the number of motorcyclists will probably be involved in a fatal or serious accident as a result of oil/diesel on the road than when ice is present, according to The Department of Transport (DfT). So while the failure of motorists to look properly continues to be the most common and frequent cause of all collisions (by around 50 per cent), as reported by the DfT, the main reason why motorcyclists are most likely to crash is because of a ‘loss of control’ of their bike.
Motorists need to be aware that motorcyclists are only trying to stay upright on treacherous autumn roads...