Motorcycle accidents have been on the rise in recent years. During the 2010s, motorcycle accident fatalities were at or near the 5,000 mark, which is a substantial increase from the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the annual fatality rate was around 3,000. Motorcyclists run a much greater risk of injury than occupants of other vehicles, because they do not have a steel cage to protect them, and statistics show that about two-thirds of motorcycle accidents that involve another vehicle happen because the other vehicle driver violated the motorcyclist’s right of way.
If a motorist causes an accident involving a motorcycle, it is very costly for everyone involved. There is, of course, the risk of serious injuries and fatalities, and motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed in a crash (per 100,000 miles traveled) than other vehicle drivers. The one responsible for the accident will also have to pay a high financial price, and in the case of a drunk driving accident, their personal freedom and even their career may be at risk.
With motorcycle accidents increasing, we must all do our part to help make the roadways safer. Here are five driving habits motorists should develop to respect motorcycles on the road:
Stay Sober and Alert
More than one out of every five motor vehicle accidents involve a driver that is chemically impaired. Driving while intoxicated is an extremely dangerous activity, because it alters your state of mind and slows your reaction times. This makes it more likely for a drunk driver to miss important details, such as a motorcycle driving next to them, and to be unable to react in time to safely handle adverse road conditions. Driving while drowsy or sleepy involves some of the same dangers. Even if you do not fall asleep at the wheel, drowsiness is similar to drunk driving in that it clouds your thinking and slows your reaction time.
Many experts believe that the sharp increase in motorcycle accident fatalities during the last couple of decades is largely attributable to distracted driving. Motorists have always had distractions, but the advent of cell phones with the ability to send texts has created a major road hazard. Texting while driving and similar activities distract drivers visually, manually, and cognitively. The end result is that their attention is taken completely away from the road, making it much more likely that they will not see a motorcycle that is riding in their vicinity.
Proceed through Intersections Carefully
A large percentage of motorcycle accidents happen at intersections. Intersections are danger zones where drivers often fail to notice the presence of a motorcycle. Always be aware of the possibility of a motorcycle when you come up to an intersection and remember that motorcyclists have the same rights of way as other motorists. Be ready to yield the right-of-way to a motorcycle when appropriate.
Check your Blind Spots Repeatedly
Another leading cause of collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles is the failure of a motorist to see a motorcycle in their blind spot. Motorcycles have much smaller profiles than other vehicles, and it can be much easier not to notice when they get into your blind spot. For this reason, remember to always look back repeatedly before changing lanes or making turns to help ensure that your blind spots are free of motorcycles or other vehicles.
Give Motorcycles Plenty of Space
Motorcyclists have just as much right to the roadways as other motor vehicles. This means, among other things, that motorists should give motorcycles a car length of space when sharing the roads with them. It is very easy to misjudge the speed and distance of a motorcycle, and this can cause rear-end collisions and other types of accidents. So, when in doubt, it is best to err on the side of giving motorcycles extra space.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Alabama? Contact a Skilled and Knowledgeable Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are a motorcyclist or motorist who was injured in a vehicle accident that was caused by another party, you have a right to be compensated. But do not expect the insurance company to work for your best interests. If this has happened to you or loved one, you need strong legal counsel by your side working hard to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.
If the accident occurred in Alabama, contact Burge & Burge for assistance. Call our office today at 205-251-9000 or message us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.