Having an accident on a motorcycle is considerably scarier than doing so in a car, and of course having an accident in a car is no picnic either. Unless it’s a bumper car, in which case it can be a lot of fun.

The best thing you can possible do is avoid getting into an accident in the first place, so here I highlight some of the more common accidents motorcycle riders get involved in and how you might get out of trouble before it’s too late.

The T-Bone

One of the most common and also most horrifying accident is the T-Bone. You’re just riding down a straight piece of road, minding your own business when a car facing you turns across the road instead of waiting for you to pass.

You’re going too fast to brake in time and end up slamming into the car’s B-pillar. This is a bad situation and it usually happens because the car driver is impatient and thinks they can make it because they misjudge your speed and braking distance.

There is only one thing you can do about this and that is to assume that the driver of a car may turn in front of you and act accordingly. Slow down and look out for an escape path should the car decide to violate your right of way.

Check to see if the driver is actually looking at you or can even see you from their perspective.

Slippin’ Lowsides

This is what happens when you go into a corner blind without knowing what’s waiting. When race riders go full-tilt into a corner they are pretty sure that there’s no oil or gravel waiting for them to make the bike slide out from underneath them.

So, don’t go blindly into a corner at a speed and angle that fully commits you when you don’t know what’s waiting on the other side. Don’t ride at a pace that leaves you with no time to react.

Overcooking It

It’s related to the above and not an accident in itself, but when you go into a corner too hot you’re setting yourself up for serious trouble. All sorts of things can go wrong if you are in this situation. Counter-intuitively the best thing you can do is NOT slam on the brakes mid-corner, but try to ride the corner out and hope the bike is capable of what you are asking of it.

The Rear-Ender

So you are stopped at the lights like a regular law-abiding Joe when some guy in a car who was checking his text messages bang into the back of your bike. While probably not fatal most of the time, getting rear-ended by a car will mess up your bike and possible cause some nasty injuries.

The main way to avoid this is to move yourself out of the way of braking cars at traffic lights or stop signs. Pull over to the side of the lane and keep an eye on your mirrors to see if the car coming up behind you will stop in time. This way you can roll forward a bit if it looks like the car will come up short. It’s also better to have a stationary car behind you, obviously.

Locking Horns

If you give the front brake a big handful because you panicked and the wheel locks up – scary stuff. The bad news is at this point it is too late to do anything about it. The only way to avoid this situation is to learn how to brake with the front brake only. This is a pretty essential skill for any motorcyclist, so do your research and learn it.

The Doors

Ever see that gag in the movies where a guy is riding a bicycle and then someone opens their car door right in front of him? Well, imagine that happening on a motorcycle at speed and the picture isn’t quite as funny.

The solution? Don’t split the lane between parked cars and traffic. Actually, don’t split lanes at all, but I know most people aren’t going to listen to that advice. If you aren’t in the line of potentially open doors you can’t get into this situation.

Not The End

The most important thing you can do is to use your eyes, ears, and brain. Never ride above your ability or beyond the ability of your equipment. Take your environment into account; if it’s raining ride accordingly. Pay attention not only to what other road users are doing but also to what they might do. Motorcycle riding is not something you can do lazily. It means being engaged all the time, for your own safety and for that of others. This is also one of the reasons it’s such a thrilling hobby.

Be safe out there, people.