Riding in city traffic isn’t nearly the same as cruising on the open road. There are dangers everywhere—cars, commercial trucks, pedestrians. It can be a stressful nightmare and, unfortunately, riding in traffic dramatically increases your risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles or San Jose. But you can avoid the majority of these accidents by reading the signals all around you and learning what to do (and what not to do). Below are a few tips pro riders use every day to stay safe on the road.

It normally takes new riders years to really understand these pro tips but if you read on you’ll get benefit of the experience without having to live through a devastating motorcycle accident, which we as Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco motorcycle accident attorneys see all to often.

  • Watch Drivers and the Car

Rookie riders almost always watch the cars around them—which is something you should be doing. But if you watch the drivers as well you can learn to read their body language and even predict what they may or may not do. The first rule is that drivers will almost always move their heads in the direct they intend to turn the car. If you see that head move, the car will likely follow. Secondly, if a driver looks distracted (reading text messages, stuffing a burger in their face, yelling at the kids in the back seat) they probably aren’t looking out for you. Let them pass by or cautiously pass them so you’re not in their line of fire.

  • Use Your Mirrors (But Don’t Trust Them 100%)

Mirrors are great for keeping what’s behind and beside you in your field of view but motorcycle mirrors are small. That means they’re not likely giving you the complete picture. Always keep your head on a swivel because what’s lurking in your blind spot could be a killer.

  • Your Brakes are Your Lifeline

The brakes are one of the most important safety features on your bike. It’s worth the time and money to upgrade or buy the best braking components you can afford. If your hand is too far away or your foot’s not on the pedal your reaction time could cost you your life regardless of how well your brakes work. Always hover over your brakes so you can slow or stop in an instant if a car cuts you off on the highway.

  • Be Aware of Your Position

Speaking of highways, it’s never a good idea to ride between another motor vehicle and an exit ramp (or right turn). If you’re alongside the vehicle you might not see their turn signal (if they use it) and they might not see you. That’s a recipe for disaster that could leave you in the hospital or worse. Always be aware of where your bike is and where it will be in the next second or two to avoid crashes before they happen.

  • Stay Visible

Far too many at-fault drivers tell police investigators that they never even saw the rider they struck. To avoid potentially deadly motorcycle accidents in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose, make sure everyone can see you. That means upgrading or at least maintaining the lighting on your motorcycle, wearing bright (possibly reflective) clothing and (when possible) avoiding rides during dangerous periods like dawn and sundown when ambient lighting can play tricks on people’s eyes.

  • Don’t Be the Meat in a Bike Sandwich

Try not to ride immediately behind the car in front of you in high traffic conditions. If the car ahead stops quickly you could end up in the trunk or sandwiched between the bumper and the hood of the car behind you. Whenever possible ride slightly to the left or right so you can quickly escape becoming a bike sandwich by simply turning the handlebars and leaning a bit.

Use Your Brain to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

Automobile operators are at fault in the majority of two-vehicle motorcycle accidents in Oakland. That means that in order to avoid these types of crashes you have to be smarter than the drivers around you. While it takes years of riding experience to hone the skills you need to feel completely safe in traffic, these few quick tips will help you get closer to that goal. The overall theme is, of course, to always ride smartly. Keep your eyes open and your mind active. If you can anticipate what drivers around you are going to do and have an updated “escape route” in mind, you can avoid collisions and save yourself a lot of pain and agony.

If you are involved in a crash, the San Francisco and Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers may be able to help get your life back on track. Call (415) 413-0033 today or submit you case online.

Accident Client

“Last March, my partner was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. During this difficult time of healing, we knew that bills were going to pile up and his was going to be a long process. After looking at multiple law firms, we knew that Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers was going to be the best place to work with. Lauren and her team were patient, supportive and caring during his difficult time. His schedule was always busy with work and doctor appointments that his main source of communication was through email. Lauren and her team made it to where he didn’t have to worry about anything but just sending over the paper work he got from the hospital, and other bill collectors involving his incident and they worried about the rest.

Because of all their help my partner Aaron, was able to heal with less worries on his shoulders. By end of December, everything was settled and we were pleased with the results. I’d like to give a huge thank you to Lauren & the Sally Morin team. If you’re looking for a law firm for your incident, I’d definitely look at this law firm.”

We're here to help with your Personal Injury claim

Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including pedestrian and car accidents that involve speeding. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of San Jose and all of California. Contact us today for a
free online case evaluation.


It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible