Share the Road: Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is Observed in May
A motorcycle accident can have severe consequences
May is designated Motorcycle Awareness Safety Month, a time to promote mutual respect for road-sharing and raise awareness of motorcycle laws. The Nebraska Department of Transportation is taking a proactive approach to enhancing motorcycle safety education and awareness by encouraging drivers and motorcyclists to work together to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities.
While motorcycles offer an exciting way to enjoy the open road, riders are at risk of severe injury or death when other drivers are negligent. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,932 motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents in 2021 and thousands of others injured. Unfortunately, crash data shows that motorcyclists are over-represented in traffic accidents and fatalities every year, highlighting the need for awareness and accountability.
How to safely share the road with motorcyclists
Research shows that motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle collision and four times more likely to be injured than their four-wheeled counterparts. This heightened risk is due in part to the fact that motorcycles offer less protection in the event of a crash.
Unlike cars or trucks, which are equipped with a variety of safety features, such as seat belts and airbags, motorcycles leave riders primarily exposed to the elements. That's why a staggering 80% of motorcycle wrecks result in injury or death. The road to recovery can be long and arduous for those who survive, often requiring extensive medical treatment and physical therapy.
These statistics underscore the need for increased motorcycle safety education and awareness among both riders and drivers, but the shared responsibility of keeping bikers safe lies primarily in the hands of other drivers. Here's how you can do your part to prevent causing a motorcycle wreck:
- Yield to motorcyclists at intersections: When approaching an intersection, drivers must be cautious and give the right of way to any motorcyclists already there or approaching the intersection. Motorcycles are smaller and can be harder to see, so drivers should make an extra effort to check for them before proceeding.
- Avoid distractions while driving: Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, and drivers should focus their attention on the road ahead. This means avoiding activities like texting, eating, applying makeup, or anything else that can take their eyes and attention off the road.
- Be aware of motorcycle size and give them full lane width: Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road, and drivers should be mindful of their size and provide enough space to maneuver safely. This means allowing them full use of their lane and avoiding crowding or passing too closely.
- Use turn signals when changing lanes or merging: Drivers should always use their turn signals when changing lanes or merging onto a highway. This is especially important when sharing the road with motorcycles, as they may be more difficult to see and anticipate.
- Allow a safe following distance: Motorcycles can stop more quickly than larger vehicles, and drivers should allow a safe following distance to avoid collisions. This means leaving at least 3 to 4 seconds of following distance between their vehicle and any motorcycles in front of them.
- Drive alcohol- and drug-free: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous and illegal. Motorists should always avoid driving if impaired and never get behind the wheel after consuming drugs or alcohol.
- Drive defensively: Defensive driving means being aware of potential hazards on the road and taking steps to avoid them. This can include checking blind spots, anticipating other drivers' actions, and slowing down in bad weather or road conditions.
- Obey the speed limit: Speed limits are in place for a reason, and drivers should always obey them. Speeding is dangerous and can cause accidents, especially when reckless drivers overlook motorcycles.
By following these tips, drivers can help ensure the safety of motorcyclists and prevent tragic accidents on our roads and highways.
Get the legal help you need after a motorcycle accident
If you've suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else's negligence, seeking compensation for your losses can be a daunting and stressful experience. During this challenging time, seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your case. At Ausman Law Firm P.C., L.L.O, our motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help guide you through the legal process and fight for the outcome your case deserves.
We are committed to providing personalized and compassionate legal representation to our clients. We understand the intricacies of motorcycle accident cases and have a track record of successfully securing favorable outcomes for our clients. If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident in Nebraska, schedule a free consultation with us to review your legal rights and options. Don't hesitate to contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case.