Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating and creates a joyful sense of freedom for both rider and passenger. Some of our attorneys ride bikes and we understand how appealing it is. Yet it is also unduly dangerous on the U.S. highways because a motorcycle is relatively small and too often unnoticed by drivers of passenger cars, SUVs, or trucks. When a loved one has a motorcycle accident and seriously hurt, the familys emotional pain can be as severe, in its own way, as the physical pain of the rider.
As the weather improves and fuel prices soar, the popularity of riding motorcycles is on the rise. More and more, people of all ages and socio-economic status are choosing to get on the road on two wheels, regardless of gender. A survey of several motorcycle dealers reveals that sales of motorcycles have increased, and there doesn't seem to be a slow down in that industry though the national economy is sluggish at best.
Consumers are fed up with high gas prices and the low miles-per-gallon that their cars get, so they are choosing to ride their motorcycle to work, getting up to 65 miles to the gallon on a bike.
When the temperature rises, so does the number of motorcycles on the road, so the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the "Share the Road" safety campaign last month. Many states no longer require riders to wear safety helmets, and the number of fatalities has increased progressively each year. The statistics are staggering:
- 1 out of every 9 road fatalities in 2007 was a motorcycle rider, amounting to 11% of all road fatalities.
- 80% of motorcycle crashes injure or kill the rider, whereas 20% of motor vehicle crashes resulted in an injury to a driver or passenger.
- The number of fatalities has steadily increased each year.
Steps for Cycling Success
There are many safety precautions that riders can take to increase their safety while cycling and Motorcycles.org wants riders to follow five guidelines for safety on two-wheels:
- Take a motorcycle course and get a license.
- Wear protective gear — especially a DOT compliant helmet [Note: the Department of Transportation does not "approve" or endorse any helmets on the market, but the manufacturers self-certify when they follow the guidelines put out by the DOT.]
- Ride unimpaired, which means no alcohol or drugs while riding. Even some over-the-counter medicines can pose a problem for a rider.
- Ride within your limits — know your abilities and don't over extend yourself on a motorcycle.
- Continue your education as a rider through refresher courses.
Protection for Motorcycle Riders
As riders get on the road, they become vulnerable to weather conditions and other drivers. A minor annoyance in a car can become a life-threatening situation on a motorcycle. In 2006, almost 5,000 motorcycle riders died, and 55% of those deaths involved another vehicle. Cyclists need to protect themselves and seek out appropriate help when needed. Sadly, many passenger-vehicle drivers involved in an accident with a motorcycle say they never saw the motorcycle until the accident occurred, leaving no time to react.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, there is legal help available to you. Please search our directory to find an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in the area in which you live.