The dangers of following too close while riding a motorcycle

Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez at Sturgis 2015
Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez at Sturgis 2015

I have been a personal injury attorney for almost 20 years. I have been riding motorcycles over 40 years. The one thing I can say for certain is that a motorcycle with 2 wheels, has much less traction than a car with 4 wheels.

Further, a motorcycle wheel has much less traction than a car wheel, because the motorcycle wheel is rounded, whereas a car tire l is flatter and has more area of rubber on the pavement.

With that being said, it’s very important for motorcycle riders to not tailgate, and to keep a safe distance and speed from the car in front of them, so they can stop in case the car comes to a sudden and unexpected stop.

I know of many instances where individual riders, groups of riders, and even motorcycle clubs have had mass accidents, because the people in the front are tailgating or riding to close to the cars in front, the car suddenly braked, causing a chain reaction crash.

I just gave a consultation to a gentleman who in his mind thought he was not at fault, when he had to lay his motorcycle down on a freeway on-ramp because the car in front of him came to a sudden stop.

Apparently there was a crosswalk on the on-ramp, and a pedestrian was within 20 feet of the crosswalk when the car stopped. In the biker’s mind, the car should not have stopped for the pedestrian. It never occurred to him that he should have kept a safe distance from the car in front of him so that in case the car stopped he could stop.

I had to tell him that it was he, the motorcycle rider, that was at fault in that instance.

Not only do motorcycles take more time to stop in an emergency situation than a car because of less traction area on the pavement, but the consequences of crashing can be catastrophic to motorcycle riders.

Basically it’s not worth your life. I know guys who tailgate when they ride. It drives me crazy to ride with these guys, and I absolutely will not stay with them, I will stay back so that in case the cars brake they’re going to eat the back of the car not me.

Ensure that you keep a safe distance and speed from the car in front of you, and anticipate that the car may slow down or suddenly stop. If you ride with this in mind you will be a safer motorcycle rider.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © February 2, 2016

12 Responses to The dangers of following too close while riding a motorcycle

  1. I totally agree with your opinion. Keeping a safe distance when riding is a fatal thing, but sadly not much bikers aware of this. The safe distance to me is around 30 feet between vehicles when we’re riding fast. It could help a lot.

  2. The problem is nobody remembers to keep a safe distance when they are in hurry, all they want is just how to get the destination as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I just don’t get it why some riders find it so hard to keep safe following distance.You need to be aware of vehicles around you and stay focused on the road.But don’t forget about the drivers behind you.You should make sure to keep safe distance between you and the vehicle behind you.It’s better to be safe than sorry.Keep Distance and Drive safe.

  4. Fault or no fault, I think as a rider, it is in my best interest to make sure that I am not putting myself in any danger. It’s tough enough with stupid drivers. We should do our best to stay safe on the road.

  5. I didn’t know that a motorcycle takes more time to stop than a car because of the traction area. I have an old motorcycle that I’ve been fixing up and I have been hoping to get out on it soon and this is the kind of information I need to know! I’ll be sure to follow further behind cars than I usually do once I get my bike fixed up. Thanks for the tip!

  6. I totally agree with you on this issues. It is really dangerous to ride closely to not only car but also a bike . Please don’t put yourself and other’s lives in danger. Please keep a safe distance while riding. I have my own experience, so trust me.

  7. My friend recently bought a motorcycle and I am a little concerned for her safety. Thanks for the information provided about the danger of following too close on a motorcycle. I did not know that this way of transportation took more time to stop than a car. Another thing to consider would simply be to slow down and practice caution at all times.

  8. I totally agree with your opinion. Keeping a safe distance when riding is a fatal thing, but sadly not much bikers aware of this. And due to that the accidents take place. We need to be accurate and careful while driving.

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The Biker Law Blog is published by California Motorcycle Accident Attorney & Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.

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