Construction Zones: Why They Are Dangerous for Motorcyclists
Construction workers are not the only ones in danger in road construction zones. These areas pose a real danger to motorcycle riders both from the conditions of the road and other drivers’ driving behaviors. Motorcyclists can suffer debilitating injuries or death in construction zone accidents. Fortunately, they may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries from the negligent driver and other liable parties, if any.
What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Construction Accidents?
Any construction zone is potentially dangerous, but the ones on the highway are especially deadly because of the high speeds vehicles are moving at. Some of the common dangers that construction zones pose for motorcycle riders include:
- Loose gravel and debris. Loose gravel and debris can make handling a motorcycle much more challenging. If motorcyclists are not especially attentive, they can lose control of their bike. Crashes can also occur when trying to navigate around gravel and debris often found in road construction zones.
- Poor road conditions and drop-offs. Unfinished paving and steel plates sometimes used to cover holes can make the roadway slippery. In addition, potholes, uneven pavement, or drop-offs on the edges of the pavement can be much more treacherous for a motorcycle to navigate than a passenger vehicle.
- Pooled water. Puddles of water can be common in construction zones and can hide other dangers such as potholes, manhole covers, and debris that can increase the likelihood of a motorcycle crash.
- Road barriers. Road barriers in construction work areas are designed to protect passenger vehicles, not motorcyclists. When motorcycle riders crash into road barriers during a crash, they can suffer serious injuries—such as amputations—especially when the barriers are made of wire.
- Tailgating. Impatient drivers who tailgate in construction zones are a special danger to motorcyclists who could be thrown off their bike in a rear-end collision when the tailgating vehicle has insufficient time to slow down or stop.
- Distracted driving. Drivers who have their minds and eyes on a cell phone, their GPS, or food and drink are a danger to all motorists—including motorcycle riders—in a road construction area.
- Speeding. A speeding driver in a construction zone can easily rear-end a motorcyclist and cause devastating injuries or death when he does not have sufficient time to react to the congestion and sudden stops common in work zones.
- Road shifts and merging lanes. Merging properly and following traffic shifts can become dangerous if other drivers are driving aggressively, such as by trying to cut off the motorcycle rider or following too closely behind him.
- Construction workers. Inexperienced road construction workers could be working too close to the temporary road where vehicles are traveling, or improperly directing traffic. This can cause a motorcyclist trying to avoid them to find himself in a crash.
- Improper road signs. Road construction workers and municipalities must put up sufficient signs warning motorcyclists and other motorists of upcoming construction zones, merging lanes, speed limits, and other dangers that road construction zones pose. When they fail to do so, an accident can be the result.
What Steps Should You Take After a Motorcycle Accident in a Construction Zone?
You could suffer catastrophic injuries—such as amputation, paralysis, burns, internal organ damage, and traumatic brain injury—in a motorcycle accident in a road construction zone. If possible, you want to take steps that will help improve your right to compensation and the strength of your claim. Here are a few steps you should take at the accident scene and soon afterwards:
- Seek prompt medical care. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you want to see a doctor soon after your wreck to discover hidden injuries and ones that take time for symptoms to emerge.
- Contact the police and obtain a copy of the police report. You will need the police report when you file a claim for compensation. The report could also contain important information regarding your crash, such as contact information, cause of the accident, and whether the negligent driver was issued a citation.
- Obtain contact information for the negligent driver, the construction workers and their employer, and witnesses.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. If possible you should also take pictures of any damage to other vehicles, your bike, and your injuries.
- Save your clothes. You may need them at your trial.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the negligent driver’s insurance company. You are not required to give a statement to the negligent driver’s insurance company, and you could say something inadvertently that could hurt your case.
- Do not sign a medical release or any other documents without first having an attorney review them. You could be giving up important rights, including your right to pursue your claim for compensation.
- Retain an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can guide you through the process of filing a claim so you do not make a mistake. He can also investigate your claim, identify all liable parties, and negotiate your settlement.
If you or a family member were injured in a motorcycle accident, start an online chat to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.