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Motorcycles and Road Debris

Road debris is much more dangerous for motorcycles than for cars and trucks. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents caused by debris on the road are more common than you would think, even though the number of motorcycle accidents in California has been dropping, despite nationwide increases. Keeping our roads clean has never been more important, as motorcycles are becoming increasingly popular with older adults, even as their popularity is decreasing among Millennials.

There are many types of road debris that can be hazardous for motorcyclists. Some may be the fault of Mother Nature, such as branches in the road after a storm. Some may be the fault of an individual, business, or public agency. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is helping raise awareness about debris in the road, no matter the cause, but there seem to be more accidents than ever.

Just what are the most common types of debris that cause motorcycle accidents?

Natural Debris

This type of road debris can include tree branches after a storm, sand and dirt in the road after a sandstorm, or gravel that has washed over the road after flooding. Even though debris such as this can’t be helped, many people or agencies are responsible for keeping the roads clean after a storm or other circumstance. If they have not followed their own policies and regulations for clearing the road of debris, they might be held liable.

Tire Fragments

Sometimes, a tire blowout is unavoidable, but clearing the tire remnants out of the road is vital to motorcycle safety. In fact, if there’s a blowout and the driver doesn’t clear the road of the debris or make sure someone is notified about the issue so it can be cleaned up professionally, the driver may be held liable. This is a bigger issue with large trucks and semis that often have blowouts due to mileage wear and the use of retread tires.

Accident Road Debris

Accidents on our roads are unavoidable, but they can also cause serious injuries to riders of motorcycles even if the rider wasn’t involved in the initial incident. Car parts, glass, oil and other things left behind after a motor vehicle accident are often not visible to even the most careful rider. Debris such as this can cause serious injury or even wrongful death, if it isn’t cleaned up properly. It is usually the responsibility of a public agency or even the city, county or state to make sure things like this are cleaned properly and pose no danger to motorcyclists and other drivers.

Road Construction

We’ve all seen a barrel or cone from a construction site tipped over into the middle of the road. The bright colors help drivers and drivers avoid them, but sometimes defensive driving just isn’t enough. Tools left behind on the road, materials left behind in the path of traffic or even unmarked or mismarked road hazards due to ongoing construction can all cause motorcycles to wreck. The company contracted to complete the construction is usually responsible for accidents caused by their lack of attention.

Lost Cargo

Whether the vehicle is a light passenger truck or a semi, the cargo they carry can be lost if not properly secured. Cargo that makes it onto the road can cause serious injury or wrongful death due to the negligence of the driver. Even those who pass by lost cargo without reporting it can be held liable for injuries sustained by a motorcyclist. If you aren’t sure how secure the cargo is in the back of the truck, be safe and not sorry, by securing it a different way or finding another way to haul it.

Liability for Road Debris Causing Damage to Motorcycles

As you’ve read, there are many types of road debris. While some are clearly accidents and could not have been avoided, some could have been avoided had drivers or public agencies taken care of the issue. The cause of the accident might be investigated to determine who, exactly, was at fault. The motorcyclist may have been driving recklessly or perhaps another driver was. If the investigation shows the accident was caused by road debris, it is important to find out who was responsible for it, so they can be held accountable.

Those who ride motorcycles should always wear a helmet to help prevent or lessen the severity of injuries sustained in an accident caused by road debris. In 2010, only 71 percent of motorcyclists wore helmets. As of 2017, that percentage has dropped. If you were in a motorcycle accident caused by road debris in Visalia, Fresno or Bakersfield, you can count on Maison Law Firm to act in your best interests. Located in Visalia, we know the issues riders in our area face. Call the Maison Law Firm to schedule a consultation.


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