The Scary Side of Motorcycle Accidents: The “Side Swipe”

Motorcycle accidents are a very common occurrence, and one of the most common types is the side swipe. This type of accident is often a result of drivers failing to notice our small vehicle size when changing lanes. It’s important to know how side swipe accidents happen so you can avoid them as much as possible.

How do Side Swipe Accidents Occur?

Side swipe accidents occur when two vehicles traveling side by side in the same or opposite direction collide. Usually, side swipes happen when one driver changes lanes and fails to notice another vehicle in their blind spot. These are also often called blind spot accidents. Side swipes are also likely when vehicles are traveling too close to one another, which is common for motorcyclists who lane split.

How are Side Swipes More Dangerous for Motorcycle Riders?

A side swipe accident can potentially happen with any two given vehicles on the road, and can result in heavy damages for whoever is involved. However, this type of accident, like most others, is especially dangerous for motorcyclists. In the event of a side swipe, car drivers are protected by their car doors and exterior. On the other hand, a motorcycle does not offer that same protection for riders. In the event of a side swipe, a motorcycle ride rider can get their foot or leg severely injured from being hit from the side.

Another factor which makes side swipe accidents far more dangerous to motorcycle riders is that we are riding on two wheels. Due to the two wheels of a motorcycle, a side swipe collision at a high speed will make it much more likely to lose control. In contrast, driving a car does not require any balance. A car is more sturdy and less likely to lose control after a side swipe from another car or a motorcycle.

How Can I Avoid Getting Side Swiped?

Most motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers’ failure to notice us on the road. Therefore, the best safety precaution to take while riding is to increase your visibility. A few things you can do to be more visible include:

  • Wear brightly colored clothing and gear
  • Use reflective tape for nighttime riding
  •  Use your horn to draw attention to yourself if a driver does not see you
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers when you can

Another important part of avoiding side swipes is to lane split carefully. When you are passing other cars, do so swiftly and avoid doing so at high speeds. Staying in between cars for too long is dangerous. Some drivers can be very inattentive and unpredictable, so don’t hang out next to their blind spots.

What do I do After a Side Swipe Accident?

Even if we take all the safety precautions possible, accidents can still happen. You never know when it may happen to you, so it is good to know what to do if it does. After an accident, the best steps to take include:

  • Call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed
  • Take photos at the scene if you are able to, this will likely help your claim later
  • Move your vehicle to a safe spot out of the road, but do not leave the accident scene
  • Do not admit fault or share information about your insurance policy limits
  • Exchange information with the other driver(s): names, contact information, insurance provider and policy number, driver’s license, vehicle registration
  • Obtain contact information from any witnesses
  • Open a claim with your insurance and with the other party’s, or obtain an attorney to open the claims for you