Did you know that May is Motorcycle Awareness Month? To help motorcyclists and motorists save lives, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched the new Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles campaign. This campaign is aimed at increasing awareness of motorcycles on the road and helping motorists understand motorcycle driving behaviors better. Through education and increasing awareness, the NHTSA hopes that motorists and motorcyclists can work together to reduce dangerous and fatal injury accidents.
Motorcyclists are at an increased risk on the roads. Every year, thousands of bikers lose their lives in accidents that could have been prevented. In 2015, motorcyclists accounted for nearly 14 percent of all fatalities – even though they represent just 3 percent of the registered vehicles on the road. Sadly, the number of motorcyclists killed just keeps increasing every year. In 2015, the NHTSA reported an 8 percent increase in the number of motorcycle fatalities from the year before.
Due to a motorcycle’s low profile, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a crash. They are also 5 times more likely to suffer injuries. That is because they do not have reinforced steel cages, seatbelts and airbags to protect them from the forces of the crash. There is very little between them and the harsh pavement below. As such, motorists need to take extra caution when driving on the road with motorcyclists. Even the smallest driver distraction could result in death for a motorcyclist.
What Do Motorists Need to Know?
The NHTSA wants motorists to understand how motorcyclists behave on the road. Operating a motorcycle is different from driving a car. Understanding these differences can help you keep motorcyclists around you safe from harm. What do you need to know?
- Motorcyclists do not always use their brakes. They often roll off the throttle or downshift. You may not always see brake lights.
- Motorcycles are hard to see. Keep alert at all times, especially at intersections.
- Motorcyclists can hide in your blind spots. Always check your mirrors before changing lanes.
- Motorcyclists weave so they’re easier to see
- Give motorcyclists space to ride. Give them a whole lane and do not crowd.
- Do not tailgate.
- Treat motorcycle turn signals with caution. They do not automatically cancel like car turn signals.
What Can Motorcyclists Do to Protect Themselves
Sharing the road means that both motorcyclists and motorists need to work together. Motorcyclists can increase their chances of survival by taking the following steps:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Wear appropriate shoes and clothing to prevent serious injury.
- Do not drive drunk.
- Use extra caution when approaching an intersection.
- Ride defensively.
- Dress in bright and reflective clothing to help others see you on the road.
- Ride on the left side of the road so drivers can see you better.
Raising Awareness Before They’re Drivers
A fun way to increase your own children’s awareness before they become motorists themselves can be played in the car on short or long road trips. It’s essentially the out of state license plate game modified for motorcycles!
Each player (anyone who isn’t driving) will keep their eyes peeled for motorcycles on the road. The first person to spot and claim a motorcycle by yelling out “Chopper” (or another word of your choosing) gets to add that bike to their score. Each motorcycle spotted is worth 1 point. The first player to 25 points wins the game.
It’s a great way to keep the kids occupied while also raising their awareness of motorcycles on the road.
Contact Our Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek legal help immediately. Insurance companies do not always treat motorcyclists fairly. As such, they may deny your claim or fight to reduce your payouts. It is important to understand how your injuries may adversely affect your entire life and your future before agreeing to any settlement.
At Bergeron Law, we know that motorcycle injuries can derail your life and result in serious and long-term impairment. That’s why we work tirelessly for all our injured clients and their families. Attorney Steve Bergeron is a powerful legal advocate for injured Virginia bikers and their families. Call Steve today at (703) 813-6460 or fill out the confidential contact form for a free initial consultation and review of your case.