May Is Motorcycle Awareness Month

Spring is upon us and we are seeing a lot more motorcyclists on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated May as motorcyclist awareness month and are encouraging all motorists to “share the road” with each other.In a press release the NHTSA pointed out that in2014, 4,586 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a decrease of 2.3 percent from 2013 (4,692). Those deaths account for 14 percent of the total highway fatalities that year. This decrease in motorcycle fatalities continues to break a tragic trend over the last 17 years, which saw only one other decline in 2009. Injured motorcyclists also decreased from 93,000 in 2013 to 88,000 in 2014.

To help spread safety awareness, the NHTSA provided some tips on sharing the road:

  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.
  • Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle—it may not be self-canceling and the motorcyclist may have forgotten to turn it off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.
  • Allow more follow distance – three or four seconds – when following a motorcycle; this gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Motorcycle riders may suddenly need to change speed or adjust lane position to avoid hazards such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
  • Always look for motorcycles by checking your mirrors and blind spots before switching to another lane of traffic.
  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. Share the road, but not the lane: a motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.
  • If you are turning at an intersection, and your view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed, wait until you can see around the obstruction, sufficiently scan for all roadway users (pedestrians and motorcyclists included), and proceed with caution. Slow your decision-making process down at intersections.
  • Road users should never drive, bike, or walk while distracted. Doing so can result in tragic consequences for all on the road, including motorcyclists.

The press release also provided safety tips for motorcyclists.

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. NHTSA estimates helmets saved the lives of 1,630 motorcyclists in 2014.
  • Never ride while impaired or distracted—it is not worth the risk of killing or injuring yourself or someone else. Plus, a DUI costs $10,000 on average, and can lead to jail time, loss of your driver’s license, and higher insurance rates.

Don’t drink and bike and always wear a helmet. This seems like obvious advice. But remember that riding a motorcycle can be a very dangerous way to drive and doing so without a helmet is an incredibly dangerous proposition. If you are on a motorcycle and you leave your head unprotected, you increase your odds for a brain injury tenfold. Further, you are increasing your odds of a fatality. According to the NHTSA’s data inn 2014, 41 percent of fatally injured motorcycle riders and 53 percent of fatally injured motorcycle passengers were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. And as stated above, helmets save thousands of lives every year.

Even though Illinois does not require helmet use, I cannot stress how important of a decision it is. I cannot stress how important it is for motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago motorcycle accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

GHSA Report Shows Motorcycle Deaths Down In 2009

I have written the past few weeks about motorcycle safety, proposed helmet legislation in Illinois and Illinois’ motorcycle awareness month. It appears the 2009 trend of fewer vehicular deaths also occurred with motorcycles. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), has preliminary data showing that in 2009, 38 states and the District of Columbia reported a drop in motorcyclist fatalities from 2008 and 12 states reported an increase. About half the state counts for 2009 are reported to be final or very close to final. The rest are preliminary to varying degrees, with some final except for December and others incomplete for two or three months. Judging from each state’s reported totals and completeness, it is expected that the final data will confirm a decrease for almost all the states currently reporting one. This means that motorcyclist fatalities will have decreased in about three-quarters of the states.

My initial thoughts were that the recession and economic downturn could be the reason for the decrease in motorcycle deaths. The GHSA reports agrees but also lists several other reasons reasons:

1) Reduced motorcycle travel due to the economic recession
2) Fewer beginning motorcyclists
3) State motorcycle safety programs
4) Other motorists awareness of motorcyclists
5) Warmer, drier weather in 2009

Regardless, it is good to see that the roads were safer for motorcyclists in 2009. We will see if this trend continues the next few years as the economy rebounds.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accidenttruck accident  or motorcycle accident , then call Chicago accident attorney  Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.BLGCHICAGO.com />