May: National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month April 24, 2020
As the warm weather comes rolling in, this May marks National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Nearly 5,200 motorcycle riders and passengers die in crashes each year – and the number of fatalities has been steadily increasing since the late 90s. All motorists have a responsibility to do their parts to keep motorcyclists safe on American roadways, so we have compiled some useful tips for preventing tragic accidents from the National Safety Council (NSC) below.
Risk Factors For Getting Into An Accident
According to the NSC, the number of fatalities involving motorcycle passengers and operators has almost doubled since 1997. Despite the fact that motorcycles represent only 3% of all registered motor vehicles in the United States, they account for 14% of the total annual fatalities. Certain risk factors can increase a person’s chances for a motorcycle crash, such as gender. More than 90% of riders who die in motorcycle crashes are male. Another major risk factor is driving impaired; approximately 28% of riders killed in motorcycle crashes are alcohol-impaired at the time of the incident. Other well-documented risk factors for motorcycle crashes include:
- Colliding with fixed objects, such as telephone poles, guardrails, abutments (the substructures at the ends of bridges or dams), or tree signposts,
- Riders over 50-years-old are more likely to be involved in a crash than younger passengers and drivers are,
- Left turns. Nearly half of all motorcycle crashes that involve coming into contact with another vehicle happen when the other vehicle is making a left turn,
- Speeding is a factor in somewhere between 30-40% of all fatal motorcycle crashes and:
- Car collisions. Approximately half of all motorcycle crashes involve the motorcyclist colliding with a motor vehicle.
Motorcycles are by far in the minority on the road, which can create major hazards for riders. All too often motor vehicle, bus, and truck drivers fail to notice motorcyclists altogether. In fact, the NSC reports that in accidents where a motorcycle collides with another vehicle it is usually results from the non-motorcycle operator violating the motorcyclist’s right of way. In other cases a driver may be distracted, fail to anticipate the motorcyclist’s movements, or has a view that is obstructed by blind spots or another vehicle. The NSC says that one of the most effective ways to limit preventable and tragic accidents is to improve motor vehicle driver education programs so that they directly address these issues. It is also important even for longtime motorcycle riders to commit to staying on top of learning new skills and rules in order to safely navigate the road.
National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Tips For Riders
The Census Bureau estimates that more than 126 million households own a motorcycle. Although motorcycle accidents happen, there are certain precautionary measures that riders can take to limit their chances for sustaining life-threatening injuries. Here are some examples of the NSC’s safety tips:
- Always wear a full-coverage, Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet. Full coverage helmets protect the wearer’s head and neck and they also have chin bars, which protect the chin and jaw area. To ensure that the helmet complies with the DOT’s standards, simply look for a DOT guarantee sticker on the product,
- All new riders should take a motorcycle safety course and experienced riders should take a refresher course after not riding for awhile,
- Be aware that riding with a passenger takes much more skill than riding without one,
- Never drink and drive,
- Always drive defensively – but be especially sure to drive defensively at intersections,
- Always use headlights,
- Do not speed,
- Keep an eye out for hazards such as oil slicks, potholes, railroad tracks, gravel, etc., and:
- Wear goggles or a ventilated face shield to prevent fogging as well as wearing reflective and/or bright clothing
What To Do If You Were In A Motorcycle Accident
Injuries from a motorcycle accident can be severe and victims often face an array of physical and emotional trauma. Additionally, medical costs can pile up if the injured party requires surgery, physical therapy, and other types of long-term medical treatment. An experienced and qualified attorney can help motorcycle accident victims navigate their lost wages, hospital costs, medical bills, prescription costs and more as they fight to recover from their accident. If you would like to learn more, please contact a representative at our firm who can help online now.
If you would like to learn more about National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, you can visit https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/motorcycle-safety.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Motorcycle Accident Victims
With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading Galfand Berger serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation with our legal team, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.