We are now in that wonderful time of year when we can officially put away the snowblower and take out the lawnmower. As the weather shifts from snowy to sunny in central Pennsylvania, you should expect to see more motorcycle riders on the roads.
Heading out for a motorcycle ride is always a fun way to spend a warm sunny day — until an unforeseen hazard blindsides you while cruising down Interstate 83 (I-83).
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, it is important to remain aware of the dangers lurking not only during this month but year-round. This annual awareness holiday occurs at a particularly crucial time to shed light on the importance of taking the proper precautions, as both the motorcycle rider and the driver of a passenger vehicle, to keep our cyclists safe and avoid turning an enjoyable Sunday ride into a tragedy.
Despite only accounting for “3% of all registered vehicles and only .6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S.,” according to the National Safety Council (NSC), “motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2017.”
Since motorcyclists have virtually no protection other than a helmet, it’s critical to know the dangers and common causes of motorcycle accidents. In addition to other careless motorists on the road, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s Motorcycle Research Group’s safety study encourages drivers to learn about other factors that increase the risk of crashes.
Personal Behavior & Factors that Cause Accidents
- Drug and alcohol influence
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Lane splitting (lane sharing or lane filtering)
- Inexperience and inattention
- Mechanical problems
Seasonal Weather Impacts on Crashes
- Weather and precipitation
- Standing or flowing water
- Leaves or grass clippings
- Low-hanging branches or vegetation view obstruction
- Roadway conditions (slick pavement)
Top Roadway Features & Hazards Associated with Accidents
- Pavement defects (uneven, grooved, resurfaced, and potholes, etc.)
- Road debris (gravel, sand)
- Dangerous bridge joints and railroad tracks
- Animal crossings
- Missing or hidden traffic signs
- Poorly lit roads and intersection
- Poorly marked curves or merging areas
- Traffic density
- Hidden driveways
- Insufficient shoulders
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. And while most bikers will agree that almost nothing compares to the liberating thrill of riding a motorcycle, it’s important to keep this statistic as well as how to avoid becoming one — in mind.
Help proactively protect yourself, whether you are the motorcycle rider or the driver of a passenger vehicle with these important things you can do to stay vigilant on the road.
5 Tips for a Driver of Passenger Vehicles
- Be mindful of motorcycles. They are easy to miss if you are not paying attention given their size. Knowing where a motorcycle is in relation to your vehicle is key in being able to react accordingly. Take an extra moment to check your car’s blind spot.
- Keep a safe distance. Don’t tailgate a motorcycle. Make sure you leave enough space between your vehicle and the motorcycle which will allow you to steer or brake to avoid hazards.
- Understand lane shifting. Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
- Avoid road rage. Even if a motorcycle cuts you off, don’t react by driving aggressively or honking. Adding stress and fear to an already dangerous situation can have devastating consequences.
- Share the road. Every vehicle, regardless of size or wheel count, deserves to be safely operated on the road. Show every driver, trucker, and motorcyclist the respect you want to be shown.
5 Tips for a Motorcycle Rider
- Be visible. Wear bright clothing and a light-colored helmet to help motorists see you. Use your headlight during the day and night, and avoid riding in a car’s blind spot.
- Gear up every ride. Wear proper riding gear from head to toe. Remember that helmets save lives and choosing the right one matters. Choose a new, not used, full-face coverage helmet with a DOT sticker for the best protection. Suit up with a jacket, pants, gloves, and boots that are made for riding which include protective armor and provide additional comfort.
- Before you ride, check over your bike. Make a habit of doing a pre-ride check, which includes looking over your tires and wheels, checking fluids, cables, your bike’s chassis, lights and electronics, and the stands. Use the T-CLOCS inspection checklist to help you.
- Be observant and watch for road hazards. Stay at a safe distance and drive defensively because it will help you anticipate traffic problems and road hazards.
- Don’t be careless. Obey traffic rules, use your signals and drive the speed limit. Don’t weave in and out of lanes and most importantly never drink and ride. As reported by RideApart, According to the 1981 Hurt Report—the largest study ever conducted on motorcycle accident causation—alcohol is a factor in 50 percent of all bike wrecks.
A motorcycle crash can happen in the blink of an eye, and sustaining an injury can be a life-altering event.
Together, we can help stop motor vehicle accidents, not just motorcycle accidents by following proper road and safety procedures. It’s important as a driver to be safe on the road, especially when faced with potential hazards alongside you. Be safe out there and keep others safe at the same time, if we all abide we will all arrive alive!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Metzger Wickersham.
Our legal counsel will be there for you every step of the way. Let us handle the insurance companies while you concentrate on healing from your injuries. From recovering medical costs, lost income, property damage, and more — we’ll be your trusted partner throughout the process.
Call (888) 286-2850 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.