According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on 2014 fatal crash data.” The organization urges drivers to be mindful that they’re sharing the road, and that goes for both motorcyclists and drivers of other types of automobiles. Being mindful means being visible as motorcyclists, wearing DOT-compliant helmets, and choosing not to drive under the influence of any type of drug or alcohol. This is especially important as nearly half of all motorcycle deaths that occured in 2014 involved single-vehicle crashes in which the motorcycle rider was impaired by alcohol.
Another study showed that two-thirds of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle occur because the driver failed to honor the motorcycle’s right of way. This usually happens in intersections; however, speeding doesn’t always play a role. The same study stated that speed was on average just 29.8 miles per hour – in which case the motorcyclist has less than two seconds to avoid a collision. The failure of other drivers to see and recognize motorcycles in traffic is also a very common cause of motorcycle accidents.
It suffices to say that most motorcycle accidents result in injury; 96% in fact. Of those injuries, 45% are deemed serious.
There are several precautions you can take to help avoid an accident as you enjoy riding your motorcycle. Here are some things to think about:
Are you properly licensed? Driving a motorcycle isn’t like driving a car. Be sure you’ve taken the appropriate steps to learn how to drive your motorcycle safely and get the right license.
Have you practiced riding? Remember when you learned how to drive in an empty parking school or mall parking lot? You can do the same thing with your motorcycle. Taking some time to practice in an enclosed, safe area is always a good idea.
Is your motorcycle safe? Always check things like brakes, tires, headlights, signals, and any leaks before every ride.
Are you wearing the right gear? The most important thing on your body you want to protect while riding a motorcycle is your brain. As you shop for a helmet, look for the DOT symbol on the back so you know it meets the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.
Do you feel up to it? Drugs, alcohol, some medications, and fatigue are all factors that can impair your judgement and alertness. Other factors such as experiencing anger or sadness may hinder your ability to ride responsibly. If you’re not physically, mentally, or emotionally ready to ride, then it’s a good idea to sit it out.
If you suffered a personal injury while riding your motorcycle, I can help you fight for fair and just compensation. I am experienced in representing riders in both multiple-vehicle accidents as well as single-vehicle accidents. Whether your accident was brought on by a roadway defect or another driver, I am here to help. Contact me today.