In 2009, there were 4,595 fatal crashes involving motorcycles across the United States, in which more than 84,000 people were injured. According to national statistics, motorcyclists are about twenty-six times more likely to die and five times more likely to be injured in an accident than someone riding in a passenger car. There are a number of issues motorcycle riders face on the road that do not apply to automobile drivers, including visual recognition and road hazards. Since motorcycles make a smaller visual target, they are much more likely to be obscured by other vehicles, and therefore, more likely to be involved in an accident. In addition, while road conditions may present a minor problem for automobiles, uneven pavement, potholes and wet road conditions can be a major hazard for motorcycle riders.
Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injury and even death, and can be caused by any number of factors, including defective design or manufacture of the motorcycle itself, and negligence on the part of another driver. In fact, in two-thirds of accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle rider’s right of way, thereby causing the accident. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, the negative consequences can significantly affect your life and well-being. Seeking proper medical care following a motorcycle accident is imperative; even if you don’t feel any serious pain, you may have actually suffered severe injuries which could become chronic conditions later in life, including whiplash and head trauma. The next step to take after being involved in a motorcycle accident is to consult a motorcycle accident attorney to discuss your legal options, as you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical bills.
Top-Ten Motorcycle Safety Tips
By taking extra measures to protect yourself and others while on the road, you may be able to prevent devastating injuries and even death. The following are the top ten motorcycle safety tips which can help motorcyclists avoid accidents and serious injuries.
1. Make eye contact: You should never assume other drivers can see you. Always try to make eye contact with drivers who may be about to pull out in front of you.
2. Read “vehicle language”: Watch drivers, cyclists and pedestrians carefully. Even when they do see you approaching, it is common for them to misjudge your speed and distance.
3. Watch out for left-turning vehicles at intersections: The most common type of motorcycle accident occurs when a motorcycle rider gets hit by an oncoming vehicle that is turning left. 70% of motorcycle-versus-vehicle collisions occur at intersections.
4. Check behind you when turning left from a highway: Always watch your mirrors and make sure you have plenty of space behind you in case drivers fail to slow down.
5. Be aware of hazardous road conditions: There are a number of potentially hazardous road conditions which can increase the likelihood of an accident occurring, including sand, gravel, wet roads, railroad tracks, gravel, highway sealant, potholes, and other road-surface dangers that may reduce your traction.
6. Drive carefully on curves: A large percentage of motorcycle accidents involve dangerous curves. Motorcycle riders may overshoot the road or cross the center line into oncoming traffic. Riders should keep an eye on the road ahead, slow down and choose the correct lane position before encountering a curve.
7. Wear a good helmet: It is estimated that helmets prevent head injuries in 67% of accidents and deaths in 29%. Pre-owned helmets may be damaged and therefore not up to current safety standards.
8. Wear protective clothing designed for motorcycle riders: Protective clothing not only keeps you warm and dry, but it can also provide some protection during an accident, shielding you from the weather and flying debris. You should never ride a motorcycle in lightweight pants or shorts.
9. Protect your eyes and face: When riding a motorcycle, wind blowing in your eyes can prevent you from spotting potential road hazards, and insects, debris and dust can hurt your face and eyes. Proper riding gear includes a full-face helmet with a built-in face shield.
10. Be visible: You should always wear bright reflective clothing and keep your headlight on when riding a motorcycle. Ride in the lane position where other drivers can easily see you and avoid the blind spots of all other vehicles.