The weather is getting warmer and the roadways have been emptier than they normally are. This combination can make for a motorcyclist’s dream.
The National Safety Council has deemed the month of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This is the time to bring awareness to both motorcyclists and drivers alike to the special safety challenges faced by motorcycle riders.
Although riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, it also comes with some sobering statistics. Fatal accidents among motorcycle riders and passenger vehicles have more than doubled in the past 20 years. Since 2017, motorcycle accidents account for 14% of all traffic related deaths. Of these motorcycle death, older riders, age 50 and up, accounted for 36% of the deaths. What’s more, 91% percent of those who died in motorcycle accidents were male. And in a recent study, statistics showed that more motorcycle accidents occurred during the weekday versus the weekend. The study also released that accidents that occurred at night were more serious, and often fatal, than those accidents that occurred during the daytime.
One of the biggest challenges faced by motorcyclists on the road is making sure that other drivers in passenger vehicles see them. Motorcycles are relatively small compared to other passenger vehicles and therefore most drivers don’t see them on the road. The average vehicle has six blind spots – 2 in the front, 2 on the side, and 2 in the rear. If a car driver does not know to anticipate a motorcyclist’s movements, the motorcycle can easily fall into one of these blind spots making it essentially invisible to the other driver.
Another reason why car drivers have become less likely to see a motorcycle rider near them is due to distracted driving. Not only can a driver’s field of vision be obstructed by a blind spot, an inattentive driver will not see a motorcyclist if he or she is too busy looking at their cell phone. This is why it is so important to be aware, both a vehicle driver and motorcycle rider, before making any turns or lane changes when on the road. Not doing so could result in a fatal accident.
Motorcycle riders must also be sure to take steps to prevent being injured while riding. The most important step they can take is to always wear a helmet when riding. Although not all states have helmet laws, Georgia does and requires all persons riding a motorcycle to wear a helmet. An accident between a motorcycle and another vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries including a severe head injury that can result in permanent brain damage. Wearing a helmet is a rider’s first line of defense for preventing such a devastating injury.
A motorcycle rider should also make sure that he or she is aware of all the road rules and safety features on their motorcycle. A rider should always ride defensively and assume that the other driver does not see them. And it should go without saying that you should never ride a motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Doing so will only make an already dangerous activity even more so.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your legal rights to compensation for all your losses, including medical costs and lost income.