The weather is slowly but surely beginning to warm up. While much of the country and the rest of the world are limited on what activities they can do because of the current global COVID-19 outbreak, the warm weather often allows people more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Even though many governments and healthcare organizations urge residents to remain home and only leave their homes for essential errands and work, there are still several activities that people can engage in that are safe that follow social distancing and other hygienic practices. As the weather warms up, you can expect to see more and more motorcycles on the road, as well.
While people can ride a motorcycle during the winter months, it’s not near as comfortable or fun for the rider as it is during the spring and summer. After all, who wants to cut through harsh, cold air at high speeds? With more motorcycles expected to hit the roads in the coming weeks and months, it’s essential that other drivers, especially those in large trucks, know how to share the roads with these small vehicles. When they don’t, disasters can happen.
The Green Law Firm has experience handling cases involving motorcycle accidents. Because of the size and lack of protection motorcycles have, these accidents are often dangerous. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, give our office a call today.
Motorcycle Accidents by the Numbers
Motorcycles are much smaller than all other cars. They offer little protection compared to regular passenger vehicles, so it comes as no surprise to hear that accidents involving motorcycles are dangerous and often fatal. Some motorcycle accident statistics to be aware of include:
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,985 motorcyclists lost their lives in accidents in 2018.
- In 2016, 28% of motorcyclists killed were under the influence of alcohol.
- The use of the Department of Transportation (DOT)-compliant motorcycle helmets rose to 71% in 2018.
- 29% of riders involved in fatal motorcycle accidents in 2017 were driving without a valid motorcycle license.
- 32% of all motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents in 2017 were speeding.
- Motorcycle fatalities account for 14% of all traffic fatalities while only making up 3% of all registered vehicles.
- Motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than those in a traditional passenger vehicle.
As you can see, the numbers above highlight how dangerous riding a motorcycle can be. While we at The Green Law Firm are not implying that people should not ride these vehicles, we are encouraging other drivers on the road to practice useful safety precautions when sharing the road with motorcycles. We want everyone to enjoy the open road while ensuring the safety of themselves and others.
At The Green Law Firm, we want to see everyone safe and healthy. That starts with educating drivers about safety habits to practice while driving. When it comes to sharing the road with motorcycles, other drivers must be incredibly vigilant and careful, as these vehicles are much smaller and harder to see than traditional passenger vehicles. To better protect all drivers, especially motorcyclists, we have provided some useful tips drivers should use when sharing the road with motorcycles:
Always Check Your Blind Spots
No matter the vehicle you are in, you will likely have at least one blind spot. Because motorcycles are so small, they can easily be hidden by these blind spots. When merging and changing lanes, take your time. Don’t just whip into a new lane. A motorcycle could be in your blind spot without you knowing. Use your side-view and rear-view mirrors to help you make sure that there is no sign of a motorcycle or any other vehicle before you switch lanes.
Be Careful When Passing
If the road permits it, it is perfectly legal to pass a motorcycle the same way you would any other vehicle. However, always remember that motorcycles are significantly smaller than passenger cars. When you increase in speed as you go to pass, you create a strong gust of wind. This gust of wind may cause a motorcyclist to lose control and may blow them off the road. Always signal when you go to pass and make sure you are several car lengths away before you return to the lane.
Let Them Have the Whole Lane
Yes, motorcycles are much smaller than all other vehicles on the road, but they are still vehicles. They still require the same level of respect as others, which means allowing them to have a whole lane. Just because they are smaller does not mean they do not need the entire space. If you must pass them, use another lane.
No matter what vehicle you are driving, signals are one of the most important parts of driving. After all, they are responsible for letting other drivers know what your next move will be, allowing them to react accordingly. They should be a priority for all drivers. If you see a motorcycle with an activated turn signal, briefly wait to see what they do. Allow time to pass to ensure they are turning or not. The same goes for regular cars. Utilize your turns signals to let motorcyclists and other drivers know what your next move will be.
Give Them Space
Whenever motorcycles slow down, they often let off on the throttle or downshift instead of outright braking, so you may not see a brake light that would let you know they are slowing down to make a turn or stop. Make sure you keep plenty of space between you and a motorcycle, providing about three or four seconds of following time. By giving them space, you allow motorcyclists and yourself room to maneuver safely.
As the weather starts to warm up, more and more motorcyclists will take to the road. It is vital to the safety of everyone on the road to practice safe driving techniques to safely share the roads with motorcycles. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident or a car accident of any kind, give The Green Law Firm a call today.