May is recognized as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. During this month, states across the nation build awareness with their motorcycle safety campaigns. You’ll hear messages such as “Look twice for motorcycles” or “Watch for motorcycles.” While having a month dedicated to motorcycle safety may seem like a lot of time, it is absolutely critical that a sense of awareness for motorcycle riders be created and firmly implanted in the minds of drivers, both old and new, even before they get on the roadway.
More Education is the Key
Motorcycle safety is a topic that must be addressed much like drunk driving. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives states funding to conduct DUI checkpoints and special patrols that help create awareness and enhance education efforts in communities across the nation. Similar initiatives for motorcycle safety campaigns will certainly have a cumulative effect in terms of preventing motorcycle accidents. This is also a topic that should be incorporated into teen driving and driver’s education programs everywhere similar to the emphasis given to covering the dangers of drunk driving and distracted driving.
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Occur?
A majority of motorcycle accidents occur when a vehicle makes a left turn ahead of an oncoming rider. Studies show that brain miscalculations regarding the size of a vehicle often cause motorcycle collisions with other automobiles. The human mind generally has a natural tendency to equate a vehicle that is smaller in size with being farther away. So, this is a reminder for drivers of cars and other larger vehicles to always be mindful about sharing the road with motorcycles. When you are getting ready to make a left turn, remember to look carefully for motorcycles before turning, making a lane change or exiting a driveway.
What Can Motorcyclists Do?
Motorcyclists would be well advised to seek formal training such as motorcycle courses that are available for every level of rider. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is usually a good place to start for beginners and others looking to take such courses. Never ride a motorcycle when you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Make sure your motorcycle is in good condition. If any component or part of your motorcycle is under a recall notice or malfunctioning, make the repairs right away.
Since motorcyclists have little in terms of safety features protecting them, it is critical to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, 42 percent of motorcyclists who were fatally injured were not wearing a helmet. Helmets saved more than 1,500 riders’ lives, but about 700 more lives may have been saved, had all riders been wearing helmets in 2010. Statistics also show that states with a universal helmet law save eight times more riders’ lives per 100,000 motorcycle registrations each year compared to states that do not have a helmet law.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please contact an experienced Rhode Island motorcycle accident lawyer to better understand your legal rights and options. You may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering.