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Road hazards are a risk to all motorists, but doubly so to motorcycle riders. Riding a motorcycle should be a fun, carefree experience, but motorcyclists experience many dangers on the road every day. Unlike a car, a motorcycle does not offer the protection of walls and a roof, so minor obstacles can quickly turn into life-threatening hazards. Learn about some of the most common road hazards that cause motorcycle accidents, and if you are involved in an accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at HawkLaw, P.A.

Common Road Hazards for Motorcyclists in South Carolina

man riding a motorcycle wearing protective gear

As a motorcyclist, hazards that present a minor threat to other motorists can raise the risk of catastrophic motorcycle accidents.

While riding your bike, you must be extra cautious of these hazards while navigating the roads:

  • Loose Gravel and Road Debris
  • Potholes
  • Edge Breaks
  • Road Joints
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Wildlife
  • Railroad crossings

Loose Gravel or Road Debris

Loose gravel, road debris, and other dangerous road conditions can present a real risk to bikers. Whether sand, dirt, or fallen tree branches, anything that is not usually supposed to be on the road can cause a motorcycle crash. Since you only have two tires, these rough roads might be a negligible risk to cars but can cause you to spin out quickly and suffer serious injuries.


Potholes can be devastating to motorcyclists. If you hit what in a larger vehicle would be called a “tire buster,” you can actually flip your bike and go over the handlebars. Such an accident can result in broken bones, head injuries, back and neck injuries, and even death.

Edge Breaks

Edge breaks are places where the road has weathered or worn irregularly. Often, they occur on the shoulder of the road, where the pavement does not have enough strength, or when precipitation and inclement weather conditions cause wear through the shoulders. They create the kind of uneven road that can cause a bike to lose traction and spin out, especially when swerving to avoid another obstacle.

Road Joints

Road joints or expansion joints are a normal part of constructing pavement, but they are places where the pavement slab is not continuous, enabling the road to expand, contract, and warp without crumbling. Because they allow for compression of this sort, they form sections of uneven road surfaces which can present a hazard that, at high speeds, can result in loss of control of your bike. The most common form of road joints you will likely encounter are bridge joints, found at the beginning and end of almost every bridge.

Slippery Surfaces

All sorts of conditions can cause slippery surfaces. Oil and chemical spills can cause slick surfaces but so can rain, ice, and other forms of inclement weather. If your tire tread is low, surfaces that otherwise might be stable can become quite slick. For example, hydroplaning can turn a solid road into an unmanageable slick surface when you are driving at high speeds in the rain.


Animals are a risk to every driver. You may be driving along any road — even a highway — and without notice, a deer, raccoon, or squirrel darts out in front of your bike. Swerving or brake slamming to miss these creatures can cause you to lose control in the blink of an eye.

Who Is Liable for Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Road Hazards?

motorcycle laying on the ground next to a helmet

Trying to work out who is responsible for a motorcycle accident caused by dangerous road conditions can be frustrating and scary. Several parties may be held accountable for road hazards, depending on the specifics of the accident. It will help to have a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer in your corner to assign liability for the injuries you suffer.

First, understand the meaning of liability. Assigning liability means you have to prove negligence on someone’s part. This means showing that they had a duty of care that they violated. This violation led directly or indirectly to the accident, and finally, you were hurt.

If you can prove that a city or state government should have done more to address the problem, they may be held liable. If you can prove that another driver caused the hazard, such as a dump truck or chemical truck in front of you spilling a hazard on the road, that driver may be responsible. A wide range of people could be liable if they are in a commercial vehicle.

These scenarios have one thing in common: they can get complicated in a legal sense. This is why it is essential to seek legal advice from a qualified South Carolina motorcycle accident attorney whenever you or a loved one is in a motorcycle accident caused by road hazards.

Why Are Other Drivers Considered a Hazard for Motorcyclists?

Other drivers may be among the greatest hazards faced by motorcyclists every day. This is because your vehicle is much smaller than theirs, and drivers may not see you due to the different heights. Common places for motorcycle crashes involve instances of cornering, passing another driver in their blind spot, and at intersections.

Distracted drivers are a problem across the board and doubly so for motorcycle riders. In fact, according to the CDC, nine people are killed every day across the united states in crashes caused by distracted drivers. That is an astonishing number of fatalities.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

man tightening the chin strap to his helmet

The basic tactics motorcyclists can employ to avoid accidents are the same as those observed by other vehicles. Do not tailgate, pay attention to traffic patterns, and use both brakes.

Do Not Tailgate

Always keep plenty of distance between you and a vehicle in front of you so that you can react to unforeseen situations. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least two seconds behind you and the vehicle in front of you.

Watch Traffic Patterns

If you can, stick to areas where traffic is light. Crowded lanes with high traffic give you less room to maneuver to avoid hazards.

Use Both Brakes

When applying your brakes, use both the front and the back brakes. This will more evenly slow your vehicle. In addition, apply the brakes gradually and consistently to avoid locking your wheels.

Involved in a Road Accident While out Riding?

If you are involved in a road accident while out riding, contact first responders to get medical attention, then contact your insurance company to file a report. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, contact the personal injury lawyers at HawkLaw.

A motorcycle crash attorney can help you to hold the responsible parties accountable and fight for fair compensation. We have decades of experience in personal injury law and motorcycle accidents. We are tenacious negotiators and litigators and believe in a fair, honest, and open attorney-client relationships. We have fought for many people like you, and HawkLaw Fights to Win.

Are You Prepared to Ride on Bad Roads?

You do not have to go alone if you have been in a motorcycle accident. If someone else caused your injuries, you deserve to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call HawkLaw at 1-888-HAWKLAW or use our online contact form to request a free consultation* with a member of our Client Engagement Team today.

John D. Hawkins

Founder and CEO

John Hawkins is the Founder and CEO of HawkLaw He has been licensed to practice law in South Carolina since his graduation with honors in 1994 from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he was on the Law Review and Order of Wig and Robe.

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