The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared the month of May to be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, in an effort to encourage motorists to be mindful of motorcyclists while simultaneously encouraging motorcycle safety. Our Miami motorcycle accident attorneys wish everyone in the state to exercise safety when going out for a ride.
According to NHTSA statistics, in 2012, 4,927 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a continued increase from 4,630 in 2011. The 2011 deaths accounted for 15 percent of the total highway fatalities that year, despite motorcyclists representing only 3 percent of all vehicles on America’s roads.
As this blog has discussed before, motorcycle accidents are particularly dangerous due to the limited amount of protection they provide to riders compared to more traditional modes of transportation such as cars and trucks. Motorcycles are also far less visible in traffic than cars, resulting in an increased risk accident. One report concluded that the risk of a motorcyclists’ likelihood of being killed in a traffic accident is sixteen times that of the driver of an automobile.
Due to its warm weather and beautiful scenery, Florida draws a large number of motorcyclists to its roads annually, which inevitably leads to increase in motorcycle accidents. According to the NHTSA, approximately 82,000 motorists experienced some injury due to a motorcycle crash in 2011, and motorcycle fatalities accounted for 17.0% of all traffic fatalities in the Florida and 18.8% of all traffic fatalities were motorcyclists and their passengers. Further, approximately 80% of motorcycle crashes occurring in Florida result in an injury or death.
The NHTSA has offered the following tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:
- Motorcyclists have all the rights of the road as any other motorist and should be allowed the full width of a lane at all times.
- Be careful of a motorcyclist with a turn signal on, as 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 when travelling through intersections.
- Always allow more follow distance , as much as three to four seconds, when following a motorcycle.
The NHTSA also offered the following advice for motorcyclists:
- Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
- Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
- Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
- Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
- Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
- Never ride distracted or impaired.
IIf you, your family or friends have been involved an accident in which you sustained injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation. The Miami accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in motorcycle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the motorcycle accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.