All the April showers have brought May flowers, and it’s time to get outside and check 'em out! For many motorcycle riders, this means getting out the two wheels and taking to the road. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has dubbed May “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month,” encouraging both auto drivers and motorcyclists to take extra care on the roads.
As the weather turns warmer, more riders take to the road, increasing the potential for fatal collisions; 62% of motorcycle fatalities occur between May and September.
Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents & Car Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the DOT, reminds us of the following statistics:
- Motorcyclists are at a 30 times higher risk of death in a crash compared to the occupants of cars.
- Motorcyclists are also 5 times more likely to be injured in a crash.
- 88,000 motorcyclists were injured and nearly 4,700 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2013 (the last year for which complete statistics are available).
A majority of motorcycle accidents happen when an automobile driver fails to detect and recognize the motorcyclist. The DOT encourages both motorcyclists and drivers to take additional precautions to drive safely and share the road. You should be familiar with the rules of the road for motorcyclists, whether you're a driver or a rider; click the link to see the laws that govern motorcycling in New Jersey.
The NHTSA suggests that automobile drivers follow these safety guidelines:
- Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
- Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these tips from the NHTSA:
- Wear long pants, closed toed shoes and protective gear.
- Wear a DOT-compliant helmet - this can reduce the likelihood of motorcycle fatalities by 37%.
- Obey all traffic laws and be properly trained and licensed.
- Use hand and turn signals for every lane change or turn.
- Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
- Keep your lights on at all times.
- Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers – no “lane splitting” (riding between lanes of traffic), even where legal.
- Never ride distracted or impaired.
If you are injured in a motorcycle or car accident despite your best safety efforts, the New Jersey attorneys at The Mark Law Firm can help evaluate your personal injury lawsuit! Learn from our expert Basking Ridge accident lawyer and download our FREE guide to what to do after being in an accident by clicking the link below, and contact us to schedule a FREE personal injury consultation with one of our experienced Basking Ridge, Oradell and Newark personal injury attorneys.