Now that it’s summer and people are out more, it is a good time for all motorists to review proper safety precautions for driving on or near motorcycles. Despite making up only 3% of vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found motorcycles to be involved in 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2015. The data from NHTSA showed that for each vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and five times more likely to be injured. Motorcycle safety also is an issue of increasing concern, as fatalities involving drivers and motorcyclists increased 131% from 1998 to 2008, according to NSC. This inspired NHTSA to launch the Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles Campaign last May, to help motorists understand standard motorcycle driving behaviors and to learn how to drive safely around motorcycles on our roadways.
Safety Tips for Drivers:
- Slow down. Take your time to assess your surroundings, particularly at intersections, when entering a roadway from a parking lot or driveway or turning left.
- If you are someone who feels anxious or rushed when driving, start building your schedule to allow you extra time for travel.
- Many motorcyclists are hit when making left hand turns. In fact, most crashes occur when a driver fails to see a motorcyclist and turns left in front of a motorcycle. Make sure when turning left that motorcyclists have enough time and space to clear the roadway before you start making the turn.
- Always double-check your blind spots when switching lanes—many people do not see motorcyclists in their blind spots and accidentally sideswipe them when changing lanes or entering/exiting roadways.
- Always give motorcycles the full width of their lane, and never try to share a lane with a motorcycle.
- Leave a lot of space between you and motorcycles. Make sure to give yourself enough space to come to a complete stop without colliding with the motorcycle. Remember, rear-ending a motorcycle is far more dangerous than rear-ending a passenger vehicle, and can be fatal for the motorcyclist. It is also important to note that a motorcycle’s brake lights do not always turn on when the motorcycle decreases speed like a car’s would, so it is especially important to keep a solid cushion of space between you.
- Tell your motorcycle-riding friends and family to wear helmets even if the law does not require them to. In fact, Missouri legislators recently voted to repeal Missouri’s helmet law.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:
- Wear a helmet. The NHTSA data estimated 740 lives could have been saved in 2015 if all the motorcyclists involved in accidents had been wearing helmets, so wear a helmet, even if the law does not require it.
- Use your best judgment about when it is safe to ride and avoid riding in unsafe weather conditions or in poor visibility or when you are not feeling your best.
- Be aware of where you are in relation to driver’s blind spots and position yourself so that you can be seen when possible. Use additional caution when you know you are not visible to a driver.
- Use turn signals for every lane change.
- Minimize lane changes to whenever necessary. Reducing the number of times you have to change lanes also reduces your risk.
Talk to an Experienced Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle or car accident due to another driver’s negligence, bringing a lawsuit can be one way to seek justice and financial retribution. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your unique circumstances and determine whether a lawsuit is the best option for you. If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, call Aaron House at 816-875-4260 for a free consultation today.
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