Five Ways to Respect Motorcycles on the Road
It is so important that you understand a basic fact – passenger cars have been found to be the primary cause of most motorcycle accidents. It is true. Despite the image of a reckless, loud motorcyclist weaving through traffic, it is more often the carelessness of the passenger vehicle driver who is to blame, and often with devastating consequences.
Let’s look at the facts:
- Two-thirds of motorcycle accidents involved another vehicle on the road which violated the motorcyclist’s right of way.
- Motorcyclists account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide. In 2016, motorcyclist fatalities occurred 28 times more often than passenger car fatalities when accounting for vehicle miles traveled, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration.
- Riding a motorcycle means you have six times the fatality rate than for passenger car occupants.
- In Alabama in 2017, there were 79 motorcyclist fatalities (with hundreds more seriously injured), according to the state Department of Transportation.
Most of the riders who were killed or injured were ages 45 to 49, and the second largest age group was 30-34.
What You Can Do To Avoid Motorcycle Crashes
- Pay Attention – The most common thing that law enforcement hears when responding to a motorcycle accident in Alabama is, “I didn’t see the motorcyclist.” This may be due to a number of factors.
A bike can hide in the blind spot of the car. Always assume there may be a smaller vehicle behind you or passing you and be mindful that it might be a motorcycle. Pay attention, no texting while driving, looking at the phone or adjusting a screen.
And be aware – about 70 % of motorcycle/vehicle accidents occur at intersections.
- Don’t Drive Drunk – According to federal statistics, 21 percent of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had a driver who was chemically impaired. That is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
- Share the Road with Motorcycles – Motorists may think the road belongs to them, but that is false. Our roadways are meant to be shared with pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles and be mindful not to open a car door into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
- Look for Bikers – Assume there is a motorcycle there. Is your radio up loud so you can’t hear a motorcycle? Turn it down. Look in your rear view mirror and drive defensively. Left hand turns in front of a motorcyclist account for 42% of all collisions between a motorcycle and a car.
- Road Conditions – The condition of a roadway can play a large role in a motorcycle accident. When highway construction is incomplete or there are potholes in a road, this is an example of negligence on the part of the county or state. If there is debris on the road that’s fallen from a truck, that vehicle operator can be found negligent.
Rider Safety to Avoid Motorcycle Collisions
Use Your Helmet – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmet use saved 1,772 lives of motorcyclists in 2015.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets reduce the risk of head injuries in a motorcycle crash by 69 percent and deaths by 37 percent.
Alabama has a universal helmet law requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. It’s also recommended to wear leather or heavy denim along with boots and gloves to protect your body in a crash.
Speed – Speed was reported to be a primary factor in motorcycle fatalities in Alabama and several other states. It is typically the younger age groups involved in speed-related crashes.
Anti-Lock Braking Systems – This is one of the most impactful motorcycle safety features. An antilock braking system reduces the risk of a motorcycle crash because it prevents the wheels from locking up and throwing off the rider. The rate of fatal crashes is reported to be 31 percent lower for motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes.
Contact an Experienced Alabama and Florida Motorcycle Attorney
Motorcycle accidents can result in permanent, catastrophic injuries including brain and spinal cord injuries. When we look at all of the facts, the car operator is more often the at-fault party in this type of accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, we at Smith & McGhee encourage you to contact our Dothan, Alabama office immediately at 334-377-1674 so we can review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options.