May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,985 motorcyclists killed in collisions in 2018. While this was a five percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities, motorcyclists still made up a disproportionately large portion of traffic fatalities; 14 percent of all traffic-accident fatalities, while representing only three percent of all registered motor vehicles. Motorcycle riders are about 28 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than passenger car occupants. During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May, the NHTSA reminds motorcyclists and drivers to help keep everyone safe by sharing the road. They also advise motorcyclists to remain alert at all times, to make themselves as visible as possible, to use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and to never drink and ride.
Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to injury and fatality than those driving in a car. To reduce their risk on the road, drivers need to gain an understanding of the particular safety challenges that motorcyclists face, including their size and visibility. In addition, drivers should be aware of and be on the look-out for common riding practices like weaving through traffic.
The bottom line is that to ride a motorcycle safely, motorcyclists should take a motorcycle safety/rider education course and get the proper licensing to ride legally in their state. The safety course provides an opportunity to learn motorcycle safety basics and common-sense choices such as avoiding alcohol and riding. Over time, riders will enhance their balance and coordination. Contact your state motor vehicle administration to find a motorcycle rider-training course near you.
Basic motorcycle safety
These basic motorcycle tips will help keep motorcyclists safe on the road:
- Take a motorcycle safety/rider education course.
- Get proper licensing.
- Always follow traffic safety rules and drive defensively.
- Never ride while intoxicated.
- Choose a motorcycle that is the appropriate size for you.
- Choose a motorcycle with the appropriate power for your level of experience and comfort.
- Always wear a motorcycle helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. You will find the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet.
- Always cover arms and legs with leather or heavy denim while riding.
- Wear boots that cover ankles and gloves to protect your hands and for better grip.
- Practice riding your new motorcycle in a controlled area before heading onto the road.
- Slow down when riding in bad weather conditions or around potholes and debris.
- Check that your motorcycle is in good shape before you head out, including tire pressure, brakes, and tread depth, headlights and signal indicators.
- Secure and balance cargo, adjusting the tire pressure and suspension, if necessary.
- Passengers should not mount until the motorcycle is running and should sit as far forward as possible behind the rider, keeping their feet on the foot rests and holding onto the rider’s waist or hips. They should also be told to lean with the rider.
NHTSA is dedicated to promoting safe behaviors of motorcyclists and other motorists, as laid out in their Motorcycle Safety 5-Year Plan and as shown by their public awareness campaigns.
Seek the help of a motorcycle accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced motorcycle accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!