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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness MonthFor many, the warm weather and open roads in and around Phoenix offer year-round joy for motorcycle riders and passengers. While riding a motorcycle may be a lot of fun and a cheap alternative to cars, there are many inherent dangers in riding a motorcycle. The odds of dying in a traffic accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), are 28 times higher for motorcycle riders than for car occupants. The NHTSA has also found that motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic-related deaths, even though they only account for three percent of the vehicles on the road. More than 5,000 motorcycle riders were killed in 2017.

Motorcycles crashes happen for a variety of reasons including:

  • Cars and trucks don’t properly look for motorcycles. And, even if they see a motorcycle, they often fail to respect the motorcyclist’s rights. They may not let the motorcycle pass or merge. Larger vehicles often fail to gauge the motorcycle’s ability to turn.
  • Cars and trucks are much bigger than motorcycles. When a motorcycle and a car collide, the motorcycle is likely to be crushed.
  • Motorcycles offer little protection for the riders. When motorcycle accidents happen, the driver and passengers usually fall onto the hard ground or fly into other vehicles.
  • Objects on the road. Cars and trucks can ride over highway debris. Riders on motorcycles that hit a dead animal or a pothole are very likely to fall.

Common safety suggestions

The NHTSA recommends that motorcycle drivers:

  • Ride sober and drug free. Drunk drivers don’t have control of their motorcycle and pose a danger to cars, trucks, and pedestrians.
  • Share the road. Understand how to ride with other motorcycle riders,  cars, and trucks.
  • Have a license. The NHTSA data show that in 2017, 29% of the deadly motorcycle crashes involved a driver who did not have a valid motorcycle license.
  • Take a course. In addition to having a license, beginning riders should take safety courses. Even skilled riders should regularly brush up their skills. Courses can teach how to ride in bad weather, how to turn, how to maintain your motorcycle, and many other valuable lessons.
  • Practice. Before riding on the main roads, practice in lots and areas where there is little or no traffic.
  • Have the right gear. In addition to helmets which should meet US Department of Transportation standards, riders should have raingear, goggles, boots or shoes that can help with stopping and starting. Wear clothing that can be seen by other drivers.
  • Understand the rules of the road. This includes checking for speed limits, understanding when lane sharing is permissible, when and how to signal, and other rules.

Motorcycles riders should also inspect the motorcycle. Use the T-CLOCK method. This means check the tires, controls, lights and electrical components, the oil and fluids, the chassis, and the kickstand. Also, check the brakes and signal indicators. Cargo should be secured. Passengers should have the right gear too and the motorcycle should be able and ready to handle a passenger. Make sure the passenger understands how to sit and how to hold you. Motorcycles should have reflective materials to help others see you.

While we are ready to represent families of anyone killed due to a motorcycle crash and anyone who suffers a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, or any other motorcycle accident injuries, we prefer that you stay safe. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Arizona, or a loved one was killed, call Plattner Verderame, P.C. today. You can reach us at 602-266-2002 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment at our office in Phoenix.