The lovely spring weather encourages those who have motorcycles to hit the road. You may be thinking that, as a motorist in a passenger vehicle, the matter does not much concern you, but you’d be wrong. Just one brief moment of inattention or not checking before you change lanes could be fatal to the person operating a motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in an issue statement, had this to say: “When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way. There is a continuing need to help other motorists ‘think’ motorcycles and to educate motorcyclists to be aware of this problem.”
May is Motorcycle Safety Month—and Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MDMVA) reminds you that you can help save a life by keeping motorcycles uppermost in your mind and checking twice before you change position in traffic.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Motorcycle deaths are on the rise. In 2015, 4,976 persons died in crashes, up 8.3 percent from 2014. The age of the average cyclist in a wreck has increased as well: it’s gone from 39 in 2006 to 42 in 2015. Injuries from motorcycle crashes were roughly 88,000 in 2015.
During 2015, 40 percent of motorcyclists who were killed were not wearing helmets. Of all the things you can do to protect yourself and your passenger, wearing an approved helmet is one of the easiest and most effective. By the way, Maryland law requires all those on motorcycles to wear helmets.
In our state, about 70 persons die in motorcycle wrecks every year, with another 1,400 injured. Concentrated traffic areas experience more wrecks: over 40 percent of crashes in our state occur in the City of Baltimore as well as in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Harford counties.
Almost half of motorcycle crashes do not involve another vehicle. If you are a motorcyclist, it’s up to you to drive sober, wear a helmet, and operate within the guidelines of the law.
Share the Road and Save a Life
However, much of the time, the crash is not the motorcyclist’s fault. The passenger vehicle’s driver simply doesn’t see, or doesn’t bother to look for, the motorcyclist. The reasons that drivers infringe upon the motorcyclist’s right of way are often the following ones:
- Drivers don’t see motorcyclists because they are smaller.
- Drivers don’t bother to anticipate movements on the part of motorcyclists.
- The driver’s view is obstructed, either because of other vehicles or because of blind spots.
- The driver is distracted or otherwise simply not paying attention.
Drivers, think twice, look twice, and save lives.
Motorcyclists Must Do Their Part
Of course, it’s not all up to passenger vehicle drivers. If you’re going to ride a motorcycle, be sure to obey the rules:
- First of all, obtain the proper training and licensing.
- Watch out for road hazards. Motorcyclists can go down because of potholes, gravel, wet pavement, uneven road surfaces, animals or debris in the road, oil slicks, and railroad tracks, just to name a few. Two-wheeled vehicles are much less stable than four-wheeled ones.
- Drive defensively and be courteous always. It could save your life.
- Be especially alert when an oncoming driver is planning to make a left turn. Left-hand-turn crashes involving a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle create 42 percent of accidents.
- Wear protective clothing and the proper helmet.
Experienced and sensible motorcyclists don’t take risks and they obey the rules. We hope you have a safe and happy summer riding your motorcycle!
How Can We Help You?
It’s a sad fact that often the person riding the motorcycle is not the one at fault for the accident. A skilled motorcycle injury attorney can help you begin the process of recovery. We urge you to find out more by discussing whether you have a case with Baltimore personal injury attorney Steve Heisler. With over 25 years of experience helping thousands of injured people, Steve can provide the approachable and professional guidance you need to recover financial reimbursement for your losses. If you or a family member has been the victim of a personal injury in Maryland, you should keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations – or a time limit – for filing personal injury claims, so please don’t delay. Contact “The Injury Lawyer,” Steven Heisler, for a free initial consultation by calling (410) 625-4878 today, or by using our online contact form.