With summer just around the corner and temperatures heating up around the country, more bikers are sharing the roads with motorists. Accordingly, the month of May has been designated National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – a time when the National Safety Council reminds motorcycle riders and motorists to do their part and share the road responsibly.
It probably comes as no surprise that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in an accident and are 6 times as likely to be harmed compared to motor vehicle occupants.
To improve safety for all road users, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges all drivers to be alert for motorcyclists, and cautions motorcyclists to wear DOT-compliant helmets, make themselves more visible and stay sober.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
According to statement issued by the NHTSA, “When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way.” Traffic officials list four common reasons why car drivers violate a motorcycle’s right of way:
- Distracted driving, such a texting, eating or talking on the cell phone
- Motorcyclists were in the driver’s “blind spot” or hidden from view
- Vehicle drivers do not “see” motorcycles because of their smaller size
- Drivers frequently aren’t able to anticipate a motorcyclist’s movements
Since two-wheeled vehicles are more difficult to see on the road, vehicle drivers are urged to exercise extreme caution when at intersections or before changing lanes or making a left-hand turn. Motorcycle riders should be afforded the same basic rights as any vehicle on the highway.
Motorcycle fatalities in Suffolk County
According to New York Department of Motor Vehicle figures, 148 motorcyclists died in 2014, and 123 of those deaths occurred in Suffolk County – making it one of the most dangerous places to ride in the state. In fact, statistics from the AAA show that Suffolk County accounts for roughly 95 percent of all the fatal motorcycle crashes in New York State. In Long Island, many of these fatal motorcycle accidents were caused by a negligent motorist who turned directly in front of the biker, who could not brake in time to avoid the collision.
Safety tips for motorcyclists
Motorcyclists can take some steps to help avoid life-threatening accidents by:
- Taking annual defensive driving classes
- Wearing bright, reflective clothing to make themselves more visible
- Using a DOT compliant safety helmet, gloves, goggles and protective clothing
- Exercising extra caution at intersections
- Obeying posted speed limits and road rules
- Riding sober at all times
- Using hand signals when turning
- Practice defensive driving techniques and knowing how to handle your bike in adverse weather conditions
- Using headlights during the day to increase visibility
- Investing in good, anti-lock brakes
New York motorcycle accident lawyers
The law firm of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye has a long track record of successfully handling motorcycle accident claims in Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. If you or someone you love were hurt because of a negligent driver, it’s important to protect your rights to just compensation.
To speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Long Island, you can schedule a free case review by calling today.
Additional “Motorcycle Safety” Resources:
- National Safety Council, Motorcycle Safety is a Two-way Street http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/Motorcycle-Safety.aspx
- NHTSA, Motorcycle Safety, https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycles