Why you should always check blind spots for motorcyclists

Motorcycle in traffic in town

Whilst motorcycling is undoubtedly a great way to travel, there are some added dangers that do not apply to other road users.

A government report by Department of Transport released last year revealed that there was 349 fatalities involving motorcyclists in 2017, a rise of 9% on the previous year.

That accounts for 19% of all road deaths in the United Kingdom

The responsibility for keeping motorcyclists safe lies not only with the motorcyclist, but all road users.

One of the most common reasons for accidents involving motorcyclists is that the offending driver simply didn’t check blind spots, and therefore failed to see the motorcyclist, which is particularly common on junctions or roundabouts.

Understanding how to negotiate roundabouts and junctions can be a challenge for any driver and the challenge can be even more difficult when travelling in a foreign country.

The Highlands are lucky enough to welcome hundreds of thousands of tourists hoping to explore the scenic North every year. Many of these tourists rent vehicles, or bring their own as a cheaper alternative to public transport. This can throw up its own issues, such as unfamiliar roads and travelling on the opposite side of the road.

David McGowan, our motorcycle expert in Inverness, acted for Mr M, a 20-year-old motorcyclist who was involved in a very serious accident whilst making his way across the Longman Roundabout in Inverness.

Mr M was enjoying a ride on a summer evening when a foreign driver switched lanes incorrectly, colliding with his bike and throwing him from his motorcycle.

The presumption made by the Police Officer was that the foreign driver did not check his mirrors before attempting to change lanes.

Mr M was rushed to hospital where he underwent extensive treatment for fractures to his left wrist and left knee. These injuries have had a profound effect on his life as he can no longer pursue his lifelong ambition of working offshore.

“When the accident took place I wasn't long into starting my engineer apprenticeship and my future goal was to pursue a career in the oil and gas sector. Unfortunately, due to the extent of my injuries this was no longer possible. I've had to compromise and now work in a lighter industry.

“Before the accident, I also lived a very outdoor life but this was turned upside down by what happened. I now do what I can to live the way I did before but this proves difficult. It saddens me deeply that I'll never be the same again.” 

Our Inverness office were able to successfully settle his case for £325,000 to account for his future loss of earnings from the accident.

“It was my first personal injury claim process that I had ever been through and it was made painless by David McGowan and his team.

“When I wasn't mobile David came out to my house as and when required, I was kept informed with any progressions with the case and anytime I had questions he was always at the end of the phone.

“I was very impressed with Digby Brown’s service and care in Inverness.”

Cases like this are all too common across Scotland. There are lessons to be learned for all road users about the importance of carefully checking mirrors when at junctions and roundabouts as motorcyclists may not be as clearly visible as a car.

Motorcyclists can also try and help fellow road users as much as possible. Our Motorcycle team at Digby Brown have provided some useful tips for motorcyclists handling roundabout and junctions.