Be aware of motorcyclists during National Safety Month
Now that summer is under way and weather conditions are likely to be favorable for several months, Missouri drivers can expect an increase in the number of motorcycles sharing the roads. Motorcycling is a popular activity across the country. For bike enthusiasts, there's nothing better than the freedom of riding a motorcycle on a scenic highway in nice weather. Unfortunately, motorcycle riders face numerous dangers that are not as common to those in larger vehicles.
Motorcycle riders in Missouri are urging drivers to be aware that they are there, says Fox4KC.com. Many of them have described accidents that resulted in broken bones and serious injuries to the extremities. These types of injuries are common to motorcyclists in crashes, as are spinal and brain injuries. With June being designated National Safety Month by the National Safety Council, there is no better time for drivers to become aware of their surroundings. This safety campaign focuses in part on being aware of surrounding traffic and eliminating distracted driving, two factors that frequently contribute to crashes.
Common risks shared by motorcyclists
Motorcycle crashes make up a significant portion of all traffic accidents in Missouri. According to the State Highway Patrol, 104 bikers were killed and 2,404 were injured in accidents in 2012.
Motorcycles are smaller and faster than most vehicles, which can make it difficult for other drivers to see them. This can contribute to accidents, but driver inattention also plays a part. In early May, a motorcyclist was stopped at a light and struck by a vehicle that approached behind him and failed to stop, reported Fox4KC.com. The biker was thrown into the truck in front of him and did not survive.
In addition to driver distraction, there are a variety of other reasons motorcyclists face a greater risk of being injured or killed, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These include:
- Motorcycles being difficult to see in blind spots or while approaching intersections.
- New motorcyclists who have less experience and ability to avoid hazards.
- Drivers not realizing that motorcycles need a longer following distance because they can stop much faster than other traffic.
- Motorcycles being more prone to losing control in adverse weather or road conditions.
The use of a helmet can also determine how seriously a motorcyclist is hurt in a crash. Helmet laws vary from state to state, but every Missouri rider is required to wear a DOT-approved helmet, says Consumer Reports. Using a helmet can reduce the risk of being killed in a crash by as much as 40 percent, but this is no guarantee that a motorcyclist will avoid serious injury.
Contacting an attorney after a motorcycle accident
It's usually the motorcyclist who fares the worst after an accident involving another driver. If you've been injured in a crash caused by the negligence of someone else, contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away to discuss your options.