As spring turns to summer, you’re likely to hear the road’s siren call. There’s no better time to get out on your bike than right now. And because May is Motorcycle Awareness Month, there is also a no better time to think about how to stay safer out there.
At Arash Law in California, we take motorcycle safety very seriously, and it is for this reason that we have paired with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind every motorist to learn to Share the Road more safely with motorcyclists in our midst.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, consult with an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney today.
Motorcycle Awareness: The Statistics
When it comes to traffic accidents and traffic fatalities, motorcyclists are overrepresented in the statistics:
- Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists, are 27 times more likely to be killed in traffic accidents than the occupants of other vehicles are.
- Motorcyclists are five times more likely to be injured in traffic accidents than the occupants of other vehicles are.
These sobering statistics highlight how important it is for all motorists to be on the lookout for motorcyclists on our roads. Even a momentary lapse of attention on the part of a motorist can be deadly for a nearby motorcyclist.
Share the Road
Motorcycles obviously have a much smaller profile than do other vehicles on the road, and that’s where the Share the Road campaign comes in. At Arash Law, our personal injury attorneys are committed to raising awareness about this important topic. Seeing motorcycles on the road takes extra effort, but that extra effort could save a life. When you get behind the wheel of your car, make seeing motorcycles a priority.
Get Up to Speed
Motorists and Motorcyclists don’t have identical driving experiences. It is for this very reason that NHTSA created their Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles campaign. This campaign is intended to help motorists better understand common behaviors exhibited by motorcyclists – while highlighting simple safety maneuvers. The fact is that nothing but a cyclists’ gear comes between him or her and the impact of a traffic accident.
When it comes to motorcycle accidents, statistics confirm that the other motorist is often at fault:
- In more than half of motorcycle accidents that involve other vehicles, the motorist – not the motorcyclist – is at fault.
- Again, and this bears repeating, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die and 5 times more likely to be injured in traffic accidents than are occupants of other vehicles.
- NHTSA research finds that those behind the wheel drive with some level of distraction more than half the time.
- Failure to properly implement the use of a vehicle’s rearview and side-view mirrors often contributes to motorcycle accidents. The fact is that our cars have significant blind spots along every side, and failing to train safety mirrors on these areas – or failing to look altogether – can be deadly for motorcyclists.
Suffice to say that learning to see the motorcycles all around you can help save lives.
Crunching the Motorcycle Accident Numbers
In 2016, motorcyclist fatalities rose by 5 percent over the numbers in 2015. The more startling fact, however, is that motorcyclist traffic deaths accounted for a full 14 percent of traffic fatalities in 2016. Tragically, motorcyclist fatalities rose in number throughout the period from 2014 to 2016.
2019’s Share the Road Campaign
This year, NHTSA’s Share the Road campaign is all about helping to ensure that every motorist on the road becomes better acquainted with standard motorcycle driving practices and learns how to share the road with them more safely. When motorists make it a point to watch for motorcyclists in their midst, it helps save lives.
The fact is that motorcycles, because of their smaller size and lower visibility, are at much greater risk of going unseen on our roadways and of being involved in accidents in the process.
Further, when motorists become more aware of standard motorcycle practices, including downshifting and weaving they become better able to anticipate bikers’ movements on the road and become better able to share the road with them safely.
Safety Tips for Motorists
There are things every motorist can do to help keep motorcyclists on our highways and byways safer:
- Adhere to the speed limit, and slow down when necessary. Remain aware of the traffic all around you, and don’t rush through intersections or when entering the flow of traffic from a parking lot, driveway, or alley. Always allow yourself the time you need to check for and see motorcycles before changing lanes, making turns, and engaging in any other driving maneuver.
- When making left turns, don’t cut off motorcyclists driving toward you from the opposite direction. Take the time to look out for these much smaller vehicles and to allow them ample time to pass safely.
- Allow motorcycles space on the road; don’t follow too closely and always allow three to four seconds of stopping distance between you and a motorcycle in front of you. Remember, too, that when a motorcycle is decelerating, his or her brake lights won’t necessarily be engaged.
- Pay close attention to the blind spots around your vehicle, and adjust and use your safety mirrors accordingly.
- Although motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles on the road, they should still be afforded every right that other cars are, including allowing them the entire width of their lane.
- Engage your turn signal every time you intend to change lanes, make a turn, or merge into traffic.
- Remember that a motorcyclist’s turn signals may not be self-canceling, and therefore, don’t rely completely on his or her blinkers. Be sure of the biker’s intentions before proceeding accordingly.
- Never drive while distracted, exhausted, or impaired.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
If you ride, it’s imperative that you make safety your top priority on every single trip. When you head out on your motorcycle, you are incredibly vulnerable to the traffic all around you, so know the safety rules of the road and follow them:
- Always wear protective outer gear and a safety helmet that is DOT-compliant.
- Increase your visibility by wearing brightly colored clothing and clothing with reflective tape.
- Have the appropriate licensure and training necessary in your state, and obey every traffic law.
- Always use your turn signals – or hand signals – to let other drivers know when you intend to change lanes, make a turn, or merge into traffic.
- Always ride in the middle of your lane so that other drivers have a better chance of seeing you.
- Never ride while distracted, exhausted, or impaired.
The beautiful month of May is upon us, and there is no better time for motorcyclists to recommit to riding safely and for all other motorists to recommit to Sharing the Road safely.
Motorcyclists Are at Great Risk on Our Roadways, Know The Facts:
- With thousands of deaths each year, motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic accidents and fatalities.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists accounted for nearly 14 percent of all traffic deaths in 2015, while motorcycles make up just 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States.
- In 2015, 4,976 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes – an 8 percent jump from the 4,594 killed in 2014. And more than 88,000 motorcyclists were hurt in motor vehicle crashes.
- Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are approximately 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured.
- Even the smallest momentary lapse in a vehicle driver’s awareness can result in the death of an unseen motorcyclist.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, Consult with a Knowledgeable California Personal Injury Attorney Today
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. And the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Arash Law in California are proud to have partnered with NHTSA’s Share the Road campaign to help make our roadways safer for motorcyclists who travel them. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, our experienced legal team has the experience, skill, and commitment to help. We’re available 24/7, so please don’t hesitate to call our office at (888) 488-1391 today.
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