When you think about the risks that motorcycle riders face on roads and highways around Virginia, what comes to mind?  Probably dangerous drivers – those car and truck drivers who don’t seem to pay attention to what they are doing, putting other road users at risk of an accident.  Some riders are also very aware of how their own behavior – speeding, passing too close to other vehicles, driving while intoxicated – can cause a crash and put their lives at risk.


In some cases, the actual road surface causes problems for bikers.  Even the most proficient riders can be taken by surprise by an unexpected road hazard, on either an unfamiliar road or a well-traveled route.  Road hazards like bridge joints, loose gravel, open trenches and milled pavement can all destabilize a rider and lead to accidents, injuries, and even death.


Virginia motorcycle road hazards


These three types of road hazards can cause motorcycle riders to have an accident if they aren’t careful.  Bikers should be alert for signs warning that these hazards are nearby, so they can proceed slowly and alertly with caution.

  • Expansion joints: These are the joints that connect two sections of road together, or sections of road to a bridge.  They allow the road surface to expand and contract as necessary with temperature fluctuations without cracking.  However, some expansion joints are pronounced enough that they can cause motorcycle riders to become unseated or lose control and crash.  Some joints can also cause a biker to lose traction in bad weather, so be extra vigilant when riding during storms or rain showers.
  • Open bridge joints:  Some joints that are used to hold sections of a bridge together are quite wide.  These open joints are not a problem for cars or trucks, but if they’re large enough they can cause a motorcycle rider to lose control.  VDOT workers should place signs near open bridge joints that are big enough to cause problems for bikers; i.e. joints that are parallel or no more than 30 degrees from parallel to the traffic lane and at least 1.5 inches wide.
  • Rough or bumpy roads, uneven lanes: Motorcycle riders can sometimes encounter lanes that are rougher than normal due to construction work or road resurfacing efforts, i.e. gravel or milled pavement.  VDOT will typically place warning signs on stretches of bumpy or uneven roads to warn motorcycle riders to be cautious.


Need help after a serious motorcycle accident?  Regardless of the cause, the lawyers Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas can help you.  Please contact one of their Northern Virginia offices to discuss your case for no cost or obligation with an experienced motorcycle injury attorney.




Warrenton Office

98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 11

Warrenton, VA 20186

Toll Free: 888.907.2631

Local: 540.349.2631


Culpeper Office

209 N. West Street

Culpeper, VA 22701

Toll Free: 800.741.1012

Local: 540.825.6046

Andrew Thomas
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Civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

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