Intersections or Curves?
Reginald Lane, NC-E Chapter Educator
If you were asked, “Where do most motorcycle accidents occur?” what would your response be? Maybe you had a near miss in one or both of these locations and the answers to this question might be different depending on the individual. Well, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), intersections and curves are the locations where most motorcycle accidents occur, with intersections having the greatest potential.
The reason they happen at intersections may be more obvious than you think. This is the area where traffic crosses paths and the likelihood of a conflict is greater. One location to pay close attention to is the vehicle that is trying to make a left turn across your lane of travel. This vehicle thinks it can make the turn before you arrive at the location of the turn and most times they are wrong. What should we do to reduce a possible conflict from happening in this location, you ask?
- Scanning in all directions for possible hazards that may cross your path.
- Possibly slow when getting close to the intersection.
- Cover the controls (clutch and foot over rear brake)
The curve is where motorcyclists have single vehicle accidents. Yes, only you are involved in the accident. They simply just run off the road. Sounds unbelievable, but when you tend to stare at an object that is located off the road, you go that direction until you run out of road. This is called "Target Fixation.” There is a saying we use in the Basic rider course, “Where you look is where you go.”
I tell riders it is a positive and a negative. If you want to negotiate a curve correctly, look as far as you can through the curve to the end (positive). If you look at a pothole or debris in the road, you will hit it (negative). Merely look to the side of it and you will miss it.
So in the future beware of these two locations and use active scanning when negotiating either one.