May is Motorcycle Awareness Month
Motorcycle crashes involving another motor vehicle account for nearly half of all motorcyclist fatalities in the United States. “Share the Road” is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration campaign to reduce motorcycle collisions and save lives. Over time, we have made progress with an overall decline in deaths involving motorcycles; yet almost 5,000 bikers are killed on the road every year.
Most motorcycle riders who are involved in an accident are injured, and at least half of those injuries are life-threatening. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the NHTSA launched a campaign called “Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles” aimed at helping other motorists understand typical driving behaviors for motorcycles as well as ways to safely share the road with them.
The Statistics on Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists are significantly over-represented in traffic crashes. They make up approximately 15% of all traffic fatalities, yet account for just 3% of registered vehicles on the road! It’s true that motorcycles account for only a small percentage so it should come as no surprise to know their mortality rate is high when compared with other types of transportation like cars or buses which see significantly lower rates.
The tragedy doesn’t stop there though; according to data from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), in the past 10 years, motorcyclist deaths have increased by over 11 percent.
Motorcyclists are at a much higher risk of dying in crashes than car drivers. In fact, motorcyclists die 27 times more often and 5x as many injured per mile traveled compared to people that travel by passenger vehicle! And the smallest lapse can result in death for an unsuspecting motorcycle rider who may not be visible to you or I.
“Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles” introduces motorists to the ins and outs of safely driving around motorcycles. With knowledge of what drivers can do for motorcyclists, you’ll be able to keep roads safe as we all move down the road together! For example, when you see a biker weaving within a lane, this is to avoid getting caught in the blind spot of the cars around them.
As the weather warms up, it’s only natural we should start seeing more motorcyclists on NY roads. But now is not just a good time to remind drivers that they need to be aware of their surroundings and focus attention away from cell phones or other distractions but also when winter comes again, too! Remember that if you are operating any type of vehicle — whether motorcycle (or car/truck) alike — then YOU have an obligation as well as responsibility for ALL motorists including motorcyclists.
Motorcycle safety tips are an important part of well-rounded driving education. When you’re on the road, it’s essential to be aware and observant so that you can anticipate dangerous conditions as they arise, before taking any defensive measures.
Safety Tips for Drivers
The NHTSA tells us that 42% of fatal motorcycle crashes occur at an intersection when the car making a left turn doesn’t see the oncoming motorcycle that is going straight, passing or overtaking a vehicle and turns in front of them.
To avoid a collision with a motorcycle in an intersection, slow down and pay close attention to anything that may be obstructing your view of the bike such as trees and parked vehicles.
A lot of the area surrounding your car is hidden in your “blind spots”. Knowing where these spots are can help reduce your odds of colliding with a motorcyclist, particularly when changing lanes.
Take extra care to compensate for the lack of vision in those hidden areas, especially on hills and curved roadways.
The most important thing to remember when driving is that motorcycles are hard to see. They’re not as wide and they have a small profile, making them harder to see because of other vehicles or changes in light/weather conditions. When you can’t recognize an approaching motorcycle before it gets too close, this could be potentially dangerous because at that point there won’t be enough time left to avoid any potential collisions.
Keep an eye out for motorcycles in bad weather, heavy traffic, or along a winding road. Check twice before changing lanes and turning to avoid accidents!
Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders
If you have a motorcycle, keep these important safety tips in the back of your mind:
A bike ride should be fun and exciting, but it can also have its risks. If you want to ride a motorcycle for the first time in your life or if you just got one with no previous experience, get proper training before going on any road trips. Riding a bike requires different skills and knowledge than driving a car.
Before your trip:
- Check tire pressures and tire tread depth.
- Check headlights and turn signals are working.
- Check for oil or gas leaks.
- Any cargo you are carrying is well secured.
Helmets and Clothing
Never wear a helmet that does not have the DOT safety symbol on it. You should always cover your arms and legs with heavy material such as leather or heavy denim, as well as gloves for better grip and protection of your hands. Bright or reflective clothing will also help to make you more visible to other drivers.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a motorcycle accident because of the negligence of others, contact the experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Stuart M. Kerner P.C. We offer free motorcycle accident consultations.