May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

 In Personal Injury

How to Prevent a Motorcycle AccidentAccording to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), motorcycle-related deaths have increased by 55% since 2000.  As such, this month is a very important month for motorcycle operators. Simply put, this month is a reminder to all that motorcycles have the same privileges on our roads as any motor vehicle. The primary goal of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is to encourage motorists to be mindful of motorcyclists while simultaneously encouraging motorcycle safety.  Sadly, as a personal injury attorney I see countless motorcycle accidents.  Unfortunately, the majority of the motorcycle accident victims I represent did nothing to cause or contribute to the accident.  They were the victims of drivers that negligently operated a motor vehicle. For example, motorcycles are simply not seen, or their right-of-way is violated.

Unfortunately, despite all the care and precautions a motorcycle operator exercises, accidents will still occur. In my experience as a personal injury attorney, I have seen accidents that even the most experienced motorcycle operator could not avoid. Nevertheless, a motorcycle driver can take certain precautions to minimize the probability of an accident.

Here are a few tips motorcycle operators can follow to avoid collisions:

  • Make sure your motorcycle has anti-lock brakes (ABS):  ABS brakes operate by preventing the tires from locking up during heavy breaking. As you can imagine, a skidding tire will lose traction with the road.  As such, the ABS system will automatically vary the amount of pressure to the brake. The result is quicker stopping and increased control over the motorcycle. This feature is extremely important if a vehicle fails to yield to a motorcyclist’s right-of-way thus causing the need for sudden deceleration. According to a recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 36% of motorcycle fatalities occur due to motor vehicle drivers making a left-hand turn in a motorcycle’s path. 
  • Wear a helmet: According to the CDC, helmets are estimated to prevent 37% of crash deaths among motorcycle riders and 41% of crash deaths for motorcycle passengers. Make certain to purchase a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet.
  • Avoid operating a motorcycle you cannot handle: Avoid a motorcycle that feels too heavy. In addition, make sure both of your feet reach the ground flat while seated on the motorcycle.
  • Make sure the weather is on your side: As you can imagine, driving a motorcycle can be very dangerous. Quite frankly, motor vehicle operators already have a difficult time seeing motorcycles.  Poor weather only makes it worse. In addition, the motorcycle operator is exposed to the elements and may also have visibility problems. As such, always make sure you check the weather before operating your motorcycle.
  • Expect the unexpected: As previously mentioned, the majority of the accident victims I represent were injured due to the negligence of others.  As such, it is extremely important to constantly expect the unexpected. Treat every vehicle around you as a potential threat.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to first make sure everyone involved is okay. If not, call 911 immediately. Then call a local personal attorney you trust to make sure anyone hurt can preserve their rights and ensure their medical bills and lost wages are taken care of. Be safe out there!

Image courtesy of by luigi diamanti.

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