The Legal Examiner Affiliate Network The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner search instagram avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner
Skip to main content
motorbikes on a forest road riding.

Partner with Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp Personal Injury Law Firm

Even though motorcycles accounted for just 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States in 2021, they made up 3% of all occupant personal injuries, 17% of all occupant deaths, and 14% of all vehicle deaths. One major reason for this is that riding a motorcycle comes with some unique risks. For example, roadway debris and other hazards that have little to no effect on passenger vehicles pose a major threat to any cycle rider’s safety. Something as seemingly insignificant as a gravel road or wet asphalt can lead to a motorcycle accident resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. Unfortunately, even when riders exercise due care and follow the rules of the road, they are still vulnerable to serious accidents. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another person’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other damages arising from your injuries. Contact the experienced Virginia Beach motorcycle accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule your free consultation. 

In the meantime, the most common road hazards that lead to motorcycle accidents in Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas are:

Train Crossings

Motorcycle tires are narrow and can easily become wedged in the tracks of a train crossing; a situation which often results in the rider being ejected from their bike. Train crossings are even more hazardous when the wood between the tracks is slippery or wet since the bike’s wheels can lose traction, making it difficult for a motorcyclist to maintain control.

To reduce the odds of a railroad crossing accident, motorcyclists should cross perpendicular to the tracks, accelerating moderately as they do so. Speed will lift the front of the motorcycle and help prevent the front wheel from being “grabbed” by the tracks. 

Expansion Joints

Expansion joints are metal pieces that connect sections of the road and allow the asphalt to expand without cracking. Unfortunately, expansion joints often create gaps in the roadway that, similar to train crossings, can grab a motorcycle’s wheel. 

When approaching an expansion joint, avoid making any substantial changes in your direction or speed while riding over it. The motorcycle should travel in a straight line until it has cleared the joint.

Edge Breaks

An edge break occurs when one lane of traffic sits lower or higher than the one next to it. These breaks are especially hazardous on highways and interstates because motorcyclists are traveling at very high speeds.

Riders should always exercise caution when riding near an edge break and reduce their speed if they must pass over them.

Wet Road Surfaces

Motorcycles are extremely susceptible to hydroplaning on wet roadways. Although hydroplaning can happen on any wet road surface, the risk is greatest during light rain because it mixes with oil and other residues on the asphalt. While it is certainly possible for a car or truck to hydroplane, the risk is greater for motorcyclists because they only have two tires making contact with the road to begin with.  

Riders should apply the brakes slowly and cautiously when driving over a newly wettened road surface as an abrupt reduction of the bike’s speed could result in a loss of traction and control of the motorcycle. If the wet roadway is on a turn, riders should decelerate as they enter and slowly speed up to balance the bike. 

Gravel Roads

Gravel roadways can cause a motorcycle’s wheels to lose their traction, which in turn can cause the motorcycle to slide out from underneath the rider. Gravel is especially hazardous on turns because riders must shift their body weight in order to successfully navigate the curve.

When traveling over gravel, riders should minimize leaning as much as possible, and avoid swerving, accelerating, and sudden braking. To come to a safe stop, the brakes should be gradually applied. 

Roadway Debris

Roadway debris can be anything from naturally occurring tree branches and rocks to shredded tires, garbage, furniture, and tools that have fallen off other vehicles. Not only is driving over these objects dangerous, but items could also potentially strike riders and cause severe injuries

Paying attention to your surroundings can help ensure that you notice roadway debris in time to safely avoid it and prevent an accident or major injury. Motorcyclists should maneuver cautiously around debris only when it is safe to do so. 

Who is Liable for a Road Hazard Accident?

Numerous parties could be held responsible for a motorcycle accident caused by a roadway hazard, including the city, state, or public agency responsible for roadway maintenance.  

A business or private party could also be held responsible. For example, if an item fell off a truck in Virginia Beach and caused a crash, the driver can be held liable. If a tree trunk fell off a truck owned by a Norfolk, Virginia landscape company, the company can be held liable.

There are multiple factors involved in assigning liability for a road hazard accident, such as the type of hazard, the reason it was on the roadway, whether or not it could or should have been cleared, the actions of the motorcyclist, and the actions of any other drivers involved in the incident. A skilled Virginia Beach motorcycle accident lawyer can help you identify all liable parties. 

Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

If you or a family member or friend sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by a road hazard, or if a loved one suffered a preventable wrongful death while cycling, reach out to the knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. Our firm has more than seven combined decades of experience helping motorcycle crash victims attain successful results for their injury claims, such as the $1.85 million wrongful death settlement we won for the family of a motorcyclist who died when he was hit by a truck driver. To schedule a free consultation concerning your motorcycle accident, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our online contact form. To better serve our clients, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, and Portsmouth. 


Comments for this article are closed.