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.

IDOT Launches”Gear Up – Ride Smart” Campaign To Promote Motorcycle Safety

Despite this recent cold
weather, Spring is here and many around Chicago and the state of Illinois are
breaking out their motorcycles in order to finally enjoy some fresh air. There
will be many more motorcycles on the road and with that, comes the potential
for an increase in motorcycle accidents and car crashes. In an attempt to
combat this, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has launched
“Gear Up – Ride Smart” campaign to promote motorcycle safety.
 They are partnering with the Illinois
State Police (ISP), Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) and A Brotherhood
Aimed towards Education (ABATE). The campaign promotes safe motorcycle riding
through continued training and use of proper gear and reminds all motorcyclists
to get licensed, get proper training, and keep motorcycle equipment well
maintained. “Gear Up – Ride Smart” also warns against riding after drinking.

Motorcycles
represent 3 percent of total vehicle registrations, yet motorcycle fatalities
account for more than 15 percent of all vehicle fatalities. Statistics show
that about half of motorcycle rider deaths occur in crashes involving only the
motorcycle, and approximately 40 percent of those fatalities involve motorcycle
operators who rode after drinking.

“Motorcyclists
are at an increased risk of injury or death when involved in a crash,” said
Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “When alcohol is added, the
results often are horrendous. Illinois has embraced ‘Driving Zero Fatalities to
a Reality’ and wants all travelers on Illinois roadways to be safe. That’s why
we encourage all motorcycle riders to get prepared early in the spring season
by taking a training or refresher course on motorcycle safety, and to always
wear the proper gear and never ride impaired.”

This
is a great campaign and both motorcycle riders and regular drivers need to be
aware of their surroundings and share the road. Everyone has the right to be
out there and the roads and we need to respect each other, especially when the
weather warms up and there is more traffic. 

If
you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago motorcycle accident or
Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for
a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384. 

Trauma Mama Offers Tips For Motorcycle Safety

The Sun-Times recently introduced Chicago to Teresa McClellend, the “trauma mama”, a registered nurse and avid biker.  McClellend suffered a serious motorcycle accident back in 2006 that changed her life forever and provided the motivation to begin teaching classes on motorcycle safety. That accident was an eye-opener for me. I was riding back from the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run when someone in a car threw out a Gatorade bottle. . . . I was going at a decent speed, . . . and my steering locked. Never in a million years did I think I would go down, but I did.  I realized how ill-prepared motorcyclists are for accidents — including me at that time — and I realized how important it was that the riders with me knew what to do. If my injuries had been life-threatening”  

McClellend described what her safety class is offering, “”I am trying to train bikers how to handle that golden hour between the accident and when the emergency response team arrives: How to secure the scene. Control traffic. When and how to move the injured. When and how to move the motorcycle. The important information for a 911 dispatcher: Was the rider helmeted, . . . possible injuries . . . should an ambulance, Jaws of Life or medivac [helicopter ambulance] be sent… I’m adamant that bikers take a safety course, and I encourage everyone to have CPR training and take an accident management class. We can decrease the statistics of motorcycle accidents, serious injuries and deaths with education and training. Students who increase their awareness tend to ride a little bit safer instead of dogging it down the street or highway,”

This is a must attend event for motorcyle riders, or at the very least, new riders. It’s all about protecting themselves and others on the road.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago motorcycle accident  or Chicago car 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

FMCSA Issues Motorcycle Safety Tips

As I mentioned before, May is motorcycle awareness month in Illinois. To follow up with my recent posts, I found some safety tips recently issued by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is was created in 2000 by the federal government to promote commercial vehicle safety on the highways. Below are the safety tips:

WATCH THE NO-ZONES
Never hang out in a truck’s blind spot or “No-Zone.” Trucks have large No-Zones on both sides, the front and behind the truck. Truck drivers cannot see you when you ride in these blind spots, which allows for a greater chance of a crash. The front blind spot is particularly dangerous if you need to stop quickly. Because of their lightweight and braking system, motorcycles can stop much faster than trucks. A truck may not be able to stop as quickly as you do, so you need to take special precautions to avoid crashes before they happen.

ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET
Make sure to always wear a helmet. Beware of helmets that do not meet U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. Check for the DOT label inside your helmet. Helmets are the most important piece of equipment you can wear when riding your motorcycle. A helmet could be your only source of protection in a serious crash.

DRIVE TO SURVIVE
Motorcycles are the smallest vehicles on the road. Unfortunately they provide virtually no protection in a crash. Other drivers may not see you on your motorcycle, so you must be aware of everything on the road. Be extra cautious, paying attention to the signals and brake lights of other vehicles, especially trucks. However, you still need to be prepared in the event their signals or lights don’t work. Ride with caution and drive defensively. Even though your motorcycle may be small, you must adhere to the laws of the road. Never ride in between lanes in traffic or share a lane with another vehicle. Don’t instigate aggressive driving with other motorists; you will only increase your chance of a car crash .

CHECK YOURSELF AND YOUR BIKE
Conduct a safety inspection of your motorcycle before each ride, and wear protective clothing including gloves, boots and a jacket. Proper maintenance and protective clothing will help reduce your chance of an crash or the severity of injury if you are involved in a crash, especially with a large truck or bus.

WATCH YOUR SPEED
Of all vehicles, motorcycles accelerate the fastest, while trucks and buses are the slowest. Please watch your speed around trucks, especially in bad weather or at night. Colliding with the back of a truck will end your riding days.

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

IDOT Launches “Start Seeing Motorcycles” Campaign

I wrote the other day about the importance of wearing motorcycle helmets in the prevention of brain injuries . Illinois Governor Quinn announced that May is motorcycle awareness month and IDOT has jumped on board with their new campaign, called “start seeing motorcycles.”

IDOT is offering free courses for beginning and intermediate riders to reduce the severity and frequency of motorcycle crashes. In 2009, IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety trained 16,701 students in its Cycle Rider Safety Training Program (CRSTP), which is marking its 34th year in operation. For additional information on course locations and schedules, go to www.startseeingmotorcyles.org

“When you ride, be aware of your surroundings, others may not see you. Whenever there is a motor vehicle versus a motorcycle accident, most of the time the operator’s comment is, ‘I did not see the bike” said Larry Kolling, Gold Wing Road Riders Association’s IL District Motorist Awareness Coordinator.

“The Illinois State Police is committed to sustaining the downward trend of traffic crash fatalities in Illinois, and ensuring the safety of motorcyclists,” said Acting Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken. “Troopers throughout the state will continue to monitor speed limits, check license endorsements, and enforce “Fatal Five” moving violations.”

IDOT issued the following safety tips in promotion of their new campaign.

  • Although Illinois does not mandate wearing a motorcycle helmet, use of approved helmets, protective body wear, boots and gloves is strongly recommended.
     
  • Improve your visibility by wearing brightly colored clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night.
     
  • Don’t ride beyond 80% of your riding capabilities. To do so leaves no margin for the unexpected.
     
  • Don’t become fixed on what’s just beyond your front tire. Be aware of what’s ahead. Safe riders remain aware of developing situations 12-16 seconds ahead. This includes other vehicles, potholes, roadway obstructions, and other potential hazards. This allows time to plan and react in a controlled manner.
     
  • In the event emergency braking is required, remember motorcycles have far better stopping capabilities than cars and trucks. As you’re avoiding the hazard, scan for a safe escape route while watching for vehicles approaching from behind.
     
  • Before proceeding through an intersection, check left, check front, check right, and check left again. Checking left first is important because this is the first lane you cross. Continue to scan in the intersection in a clockwise pattern, checking traffic approaching in front, in case that vehicle turns left in front of you. 77% of motorcycle crashes  involving another vehicle happen in this manner.
     
  • Don’t drink and ride. Alcohol slows reactions and impairs function.
  • It is good to see Illinois promote motorcycle safety. We will see if the state pushes forward with the helmet legislation.

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