As the weather warms up, you will notice the massive amount of motorcycles cruising the streets. Bikes can be a lot of fun but there are also significant risks. In fact, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured. Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles offer little protection or safety features, like airbags. When an accident occurs, riders can easily be thrown from their bike, causing traumatic head and neck injuries, catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death, as a result of hitting their head on the pavement.
This May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with Sheeley Law to remind all motorists to Share the Road to help keep motorcyclists safe. Please see below for FACTS and TIPS to keep you and those you share the road with safe:
Know the Facts
Research and state-level data consistently identifies motorists as being at-fault in more than half of all multi-vehicle motorcycle-involved collisions.
NHTSA-funded research has shown that people behind the wheels of passenger vehicles are distracted more than 50 percent of the time. It is essential that vehicle drivers pay complete attention on the roads: Even the smallest momentary lapse in a vehicle driver’s awareness can result in the death of an unseen motorcyclist.
Improper use of a vehicle’s rear-view and side-view mirrors contributes to collisions, particularly with smaller vehicles like motorcycles. With roughly 40 percent of a vehicle’s outer perimeter zones hidden by blind spots, improper adjustment, or lack of use of one’s side-view mirrors can have dire consequences for motorcyclists.
Tips for Vehicle Drivers
Because vehicle drivers control a much larger machine, it is imperative that they keep close watch for motorcyclists who may be riding nearby. Drivers may follow these tips to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:
Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has the same rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
Always use a turn signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and the motorcyclist could have forgotten to turn it off. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
Always allow more follow distance—three to four seconds—when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
Never drive distracted or impaired.
Tips for Motorcyclists
At the same time, motorcyclists must take extra precautions to guard against drivers who may not see them. Motorcyclists may follow these tips to prevent a fatal crash with a vehicle:
Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
Never ride distracted or impaired.
We at Sheeley Law encourage you to have fun but ride with caution this summer. If you or a loved one are injured in a motorcycle accident, you need strong results-oriented representation. Insurance companies often try to place blame on the motorcyclist and accident victims fail to obtain the compensation they deserve.
Attorney Ann Sheeley has represented hundreds of motorcycle accident victims in her more than 25 years of experience. She has a proven track record of helping her clients obtain maximum compensation for their injuries, losses and pain and suffering. For more information or a free consultation, contact Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney Ann Sheeley at 401-619-5555.