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Motorcycle riders brake more than they swerve

dreamstime_m_14542986.jpgYou're riding a motorcycle, a vehicle known for its agility, when there's suddenly an obstacle in the way. Perhaps it's another accident, a car that pulled out in front of you, or an animal in the road. Are you better off to slam on the brakes and hope you stop before you hit it, or should you use that agility to swerve around it?

What you do depends on the situation. Swerving may avoid the accident entirely, but there are other clear dangers, such as accidentally swerving into oncoming traffic and creating a head-on collision at 60 MPH to avoid a rear-end crash at 30 MPH.

That being said, studies have looked at accidents to see what bikers tend to do. More often than not, they hit the brakes.

For example, one study found that 31 percent of motorcycle riders did nothing to avoid the wreck, perhaps indicating that it all happened faster than they could react. More were able to hit the brakes, at 36 percent. However, a mere 17 percent tried to swerve and avoid the crash.

Another study reported similar findings, saying that 37 percent of bikers did not take any evasive action, 39 percent hit the brakes, and just 21 percent tried to swerve.

Moreover, many people took poor evasive action, no matter what they chose. One study indicated that half of the riders did not execute their maneuvers properly, while a full 36 percent attempted evasive action that was not actually right for the situation at hand.

As this shows, it can be hard to decide on the proper course of action in a split second. Regardless, if another driver causes a sudden crash, motorcycle riders need to know if they have a right to compensation.

Source: MSF USA, "Do I Brake or do I Swerve?," Stein Husher, accessed July 12, 2017

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