Warmer weather = Motorcycle Accidents
At our firm there is one thing we can pretty much set our watch to, when spring rolls around and the temperatures start to rise, we will get calls from motorcycle riders injured in accidents. Just last week I filed a suit on behalf of a Macoupin County, Illinois motorcyclist who was seriously injured when a car pulled out in front of him in Madison County, Illinois. The driver was cited for failure to yield. Most often, the motorcyclists are not at fault and the accidents are caused by drivers of vehicles who simply say “I did not see the motorcycle.”
Unfortunately, deaths from motorcycle accidents are rising. In fact, five motorcyclists have been killed in the greater St. Louis area since temperatures began to rise this March.
Awareness will keep you from injury or tragedy
Before heading to work, dashing to the grocery store, or planning a road trip, we encourage you to consciously remember to share the road with motorcycles and proactively look out for them. We also always encourage our motorcyclists to proactively look for vehicles that may not see them and position themselves to be seen, especially when approaching intersections and when changing lanes.
In a report released last April, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) projected that deaths from motorcycle accidents increased approximately 9 percent in 2012, to more than 5,000 lives lost.
Prevention is worth a pound of cure
Everyone on the road can help avoid accidents involving motorcycles.
Vehicle drivers should expect to see motorcycles at all times, but especially when the weather improves from cold and blustery to sunny and warm.
1) For motorcyclists and vehicle drivers both, Pay Attention! Don’t drive distracted and remember it is now illegal in Illinois to hold a cell phone and drive. Inattention is the major cause of motorcycle crashes, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
2) Don’t drink and ride! The Centers for Disease Control report that one third of motorcycle accident fatalities involve a blood alcohol content over the legal limit.
3.) Motorcyclists – make yourself seen by wearing a light-colored helmet & bright protective clothing; use your headlight, even during the day and take a safety course before starting to ride.
4.) Automobile drivers – drive with the assumption something unexpected could happen at any moment. This will help you be more aware and anticipate an accident before it happens.
5.) Common sense goes a long way – motorcyclists and vehicle drivers both, if you are going to pass another vehicle, do it already! When passing on the left, don’t just hang out in the left lane and take a long time to pass. The longer you hang out in a potential blind spot, the greater chance you have of creating an accident. If you can’t pass, hang back far enough to be seen in a rear view mirror and give yourself enough time to react if the vehicle or motorcycle in the other lane does something unexpected. Most people know this, but I am amazed at the number who apparently do not.
We wish everyone a safe riding season and encourage all to look out for motorcycles, especially during the spring, summer and fall months.