Motorcycle

The summer months pose an increased risk for motorcycle accidents over other times of the year. In 2020, there were 116 motorcyclist deaths in South Carolina, with most accidents occurring in summer and fall.

As with all vehicles, safety must be your top concern when riding a motorcycle. Understanding and using motorcycle hand signals goes a long way toward ensuring visibility on the road and keeping other drivers and riders aware of your intentions.

Familiarizing yourself with some of the more common hand signals for motorcyclists now, whether you’re operating a motorcycle or behind the wheel of a vehicle, may help prevent a collision in the future.

Signaling to Turn

Signaling your turns is vital to all road users’ safety, but especially motorcycle riders. All modern motorcycles come equipped with turn signals, but as a motorcycle rider, using hand signals as well can make your intentions more visible to other road users.

Before turning left, extend your left arm straight with the palm of your hand facing down. Before a right turn, extend your left hand and bend your arm 90 degrees at the elbow with your left hand raised and balled into a fist.

Whether turning right or left, broadcast your signal well in advance of your turn to give other motorists enough time to take notice and slow down.

Signaling for Hazards on the Road

With the summer season in South Carolina comes perils such as heavy thunderstorms. Severe winds may knock trees over onto the road and scatter branches. Additional hazards might include animals trying to cross the road, roadkill, loose gravel or sand, and spilled oil or puddled water, which can be especially harmful to motorcyclists.

Tipping off fellow drivers, motorcycle riders, and cyclists to hazards along the path ensures they can protect themselves. This practice also protects you by diverting attention back to your presence and the immediate stretch of road around and ahead of you.

To signal a hazard coming up on the left, aim your left hand down with your index finger sticking out as if you are pointing to something in the road. For hazards on the right, point with your right foot extended similarly to pointing with your index finger.

Signaling a Slow Down

Signaling a slow down can help motorcyclists avoid a rear-end accident with another vehicle. As a motorcyclist, you are the smallest object on the road and the least visible to traffic. Drivers behind you could have difficulty determining your speed or when you are slowing to a stop.

In a recent year, 7% of fatal motorcycle crashes occurred when riders were struck from the rear. By signaling a slow down, you create a more prominent profile for yourself and confirm that you are decelerating to drivers and other riders around you. Keep your left arm extended and face your palm downward to signal a slow down. Make a swinging motion with your arm, repeatedly extending it and bringing it back to your side.

All Drivers Should Know Motorcycle Hand Signs

As a motorcyclist, you can avoid many road dangers by remaining proactive, defensive, and using hand signals for communication. Drivers of trucks and passenger vehicles should also familiarize themselves with motorcycle hand signals. Knowing what a motorcycle hand signal means can help drivers avoid a collision with a motorcyclist and keep everyone safer when on the road.

However, despite doing your best to avoid risk, you may be a victim in a motorcycle accident caused by a careless driver. No amount of signaling can account for a distracted driver who is using their cell phone, facing away from the road to speak to a passenger, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Who can Help After a Serious Accident?

If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, contact the South Carolina motorcycle crash attorneys at Joye Law Firm as soon as possible. We can help you get back on your feet after an accident by filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company or taking them to court in a personal injury suit to get you the money you deserve.

Our law office has served South Carolinians for over 50 years, and our personal injury attorneys have a proven track record of compassion and fighting to get our clients what they deserve.

Contact the Joye Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation and learn your legal options regarding your motorcycle accident.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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