With warm weather here to stay and despite rising fuel costs, the National Safety Council (NSC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) predict summer 2018 will be one of the busiest travel seasons on record.
The vast majority of vehicles on the road are not motorcycles, but cars, vans and trucks. As drivers, many people don’t take the time to consider sharing the road with motorcycles. For this reason, and because so many will be sharing the road this time of year, the NHTSA established May as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The main goal of this awareness campaign is to educate both riders and drivers to make them more mindful of each other while on the road.
Some facts to consider:
According to the NSC’s Injury Facts® 2017, 4,976 motorcycle riders and passengers died in crashes in 2016, and nonfatal injuries totaled 88,000 that year. It also found that fatalities among motorcycle riders and passengers increased nearly 3% from 2006, driven largely by an 8% increase in 2015.
- Motorcycles make up 3% of all registered vehicles and only .7% of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S.
- Motorcyclists accounted for 13% of all traffic fatalities in 2016.
- 26% of riders who died in a motorcycle crash in 2016 were alcohol-impaired.
- 91% of riders who died in a motorcycle crash in 2016 were male.
Training and Proper Equipment Can Save Your Life
A DOT-approved helmet is the single most important equipment every biker should own. In 2016, there were 1,876 motorcycle fatalities due to riders not wearing helmets. According to the Injury Facts 2017 findings, helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries for operators and 41% for passengers.
The NHTSA offers the following recommendations regarding helmets:
- A full-coverage helmet offers the most protection.
- Look for the DOT sticker that guarantees the helmet meets legal safety standards.
- Never buy a used helmet; helmets are useless after they’ve been involved in a crash.
In addition to wearing a helmet, the NHTSA also recommends the following:
- New riders should take a motorcycle safety course, and experienced riders should take refresher courses after being off their bikes for a while.
- Obey traffic signals, signs, speed limits, and lane markings.
- Remember that riding with a passenger requires considerably more skill.
- Drive defensively, especially at intersections, where half of all collisions occur.
- Watch for hazards such as potholes, manhole covers, oil slicks, puddles, debris, railroad tracks and gravel.
- Assume you are invisible to other motorists and position yourself to be seen.
- Use headlights day and night.
- Be courteous. Don’t weave in and out of lanes or ride on the shoulder or between lanes.
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing that is durable and boots that cover the ankles.
- Wear goggles, glasses or use a face shield that is ventilated to prevent fogging, and make sure it’s clear if riding at night.
Stay Alcohol and Drug Free
Alcohol and drugs (including certain prescription medications) negatively affect a person’s judgment, coordination, balance, throttle control, and the ability to shift gears. These substances also impair alertness and reduce reaction time. Even when you’re fully alert, it’s impossible to predict what other vehicles or pedestrians are going to do. This is why it is so important to remain alcohol and drug free when you get on your motorcycle or behind the wheel of any motor vehicle. Don’t drink and drive!
Tips for Drivers
Motorists still have a major responsibility when it comes to keeping motorcyclists safe on the road. If all drivers use safe driving practices, we can help significantly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on our nation’s streets.
It’s especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists, including things such as size and visibility, as well as motorcycle riding practices such as downshifting and weaving to know how to anticipate and respond to them. By raising the awareness of all motorists, both drivers and riders will be safer when sharing the road.
Here are some important tips for drivers:
- Drivers should allow greater following distance behind a motorcycle.
- Drivers should use extra caution when approaching and navigating intersections. Most crashes occur when a driver fails to see a motorcyclist and turns left in front of a motorcycle.
- Drivers should never try to share a lane with a motorcycle. Always give a motorcycle the full lane width.
- Drivers should always visually check for motorcyclists in blind spots before changing lanes in traffic.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, the team at GreeningLaw P.C. is here to help. We understand that recovering from such events – especially if they involve a hospital stay – can be both stressful and costly. That’s why GreeningLaw P.C. offers a free consultation, and because our lawyers only work on a contingency basis, you only have to pay attorney fees if you are compensated for your case.
Contact us today to book a free consultation and let one of the most trusted law firms in the state handle your case so you can focus on what matters most to you.
We fight the legal battle so you have time for healing and renewal.
- On The Road. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/motorcycle-safety
- (2018, February 08). Motorcycle Safety. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety
- National Safety Council Injury Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nsc.org/membership/members-resources/injury-facts