Hitting a Fixed Object on Your Motorcycle
Over 4500 people are killed each year on motorcycles and thousands are injured. While most of these accidents involve another vehicle, about 25% of fatal motorcycle accidents are sole vehicle accidents with most of these involving a fixed object.
Fixed objects can be traffic cones, debris on the road, tools or other objects thrown from cars or having fallen off trucks. It can be a car door that suddenly opens into the path of an oncoming motorcycle or any other items on the road because of poor road maintenance that leaves clutter or debris on the road.
While a passenger vehicle may only experience property damage to its tires, bumper or undercarriage, a motorcyclist risks serious injury when the bike strikes a fixed object since the front brake can lock up when you brake, causing the loss of traction and destabilizing the bike. In some cases, you have no time to brake at all and face likely ejection from your bike while traveling at a high rate of speed.
Insurance companies will usually place you at fault for any property damage occurring when you hit a fixed object in the roadway unless you can persuade your insurer that it was thrown at you. But in many cases, the reason for the fixed object can be traced to a third party. For instance, a motorist who suddenly sees a fixed object in their lane of traffic may swerve to avoid it and enter the adjoining lane where you are riding. Your only possible reaction may be to swerve and enter the shoulder or off of it and into loose sand or dirt where you may lose control.
Vehicles parked illegally on the side of the road present hazards since they may be partially on the road. A road construction crew may have left tools or debris on the roadway without posting a warning. Contractors with pickup trucks may have tools and other equipment that was not securely tied down and fell off onto the road. In some cases, the equipment can be traced to the company. If the hazard was present because of poor road maintenance, then the municipality or state responsible for maintaining the road may be at fault.
In any case, be aware that you will encounter fixed objects on the road and be on the lookout for them so that you have time to avoid them.