This past May, we celebrated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in California, but this is really a topic that is applicable all year round. In 2013, about 14 percent of all vehicle fatalities were motorcyclists, which made them 16 times more likely to die while out on the road. Although motorcyclists only account for about three percent of drivers, it’s important to respect motorcyclists and share the road with them.
Of course, motorcyclists also have an obligation to drive safely and wear protective gear. After all, there are quite a lot of them in California. According to the latest numbers, there are about 830,000 motorcyclists registered in California, the most of any state in the country. In 2013, number showed that there were 485 motorcyclists killed in accidents on Californian roads and 13,143 were injured. To keep motorcyclists safe while on the road, there needs to be a joint effort between vehicle drivers and motorcyclists that promotes safe driving for everyone.
It is important that drivers remember to always share the road with motorcyclists. These cyclists have the exact say rights to the road as any other car and truck. As motorcycles are smaller and less noticeable than cars at times, it is very easy for them to move into another car’s blind spot. If a driver doesn’t see the cyclist, there’s a good chance the driver will hit the cyclist if the driver tries to make a turn or change lanes.
While drivers need to be more aware of their blind spots, motorcyclists need to be aware of them as well. When passing for example, motorcyclists should not linger along the sides of the car as this is a common area for blind spots. Quickly passing another car will better a cyclist’s chances for being seen by the driver.
Drivers should also be aware of how closely they’re following a motorcyclist. In the case that a motorcyclist needs to stop suddenly, a car could rear-end the motorcyclist and seriously injure him or her. When following a cyclist, cars should remain at least a car length and a half behind to allow for more room to stop.
All motorcyclists need to be wearing protective head gear when riding their bikes. A helmet can save a cyclist’s life if he or she is thrown from the bike and lands on the head. Helmets save thousands of lives each year, and they can affect auto accident lawsuits. If a motorcyclist is injured in an accident and was not wearing a helmet, the cyclist may not receive a large award for injuries. The courts may rule that the motorcyclist shared some responsibility for the injury by not wearing a helmet. To lessen the chances of injuries, all bikers should be wearing a DOT-compliant helmet.
Excessive speed can also play a large factor in motorcycle injuries. Bikers and cars that speed are at a greater risk for causing an accident, and as bikers have less protection, they will be more likely to be injured.
California police officers are also stepping up the “Click It or Ticket” campaign to encourage all drivers to wear seatbelts. Seatbelts are to cars as helmets are to motorcyclists. Both protect drivers and passengers from serious injuries. Just be wearing one, you can potentially save your own life or even someone else’s.
Road safety is a big responsibility for all drivers, whether they’re in a car or on a bike. Both types of drivers need to respect one another and share the road. If everyone is cautious and drives defensively, we may see a lower rate of motorcycle accidents and fatalities in the coming years.
Moseley Collins is a personal injury attorney serving those badly hurt throughout Northern California. There is absolutely NO FEE to discuss your case and there is absolutely no fee unless we win and get you the money you are entitled to. We are on your side and know what to do to get you compensation and justice.
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