As spring arrives, the days get longer, the sun shines brighter and motorcyclists once again take to the open road. Unfortunately, as motorcyclists dust off the winter cobwebs from their bikes, the rate of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents increases. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported a total of 4,295 motorcyclist deaths in 2014, which accounted for 13% of all motor vehicle fatalities that year. This number was more than double the reported motorcycle fatalities in 1997. Thirty-six percent of those killed in motorcycle accidents in 2014 were over the age of 50, and 30% were under 30 years old.
The majority of motorcycle accidents and fatalities were reported in the months of May through September, with most of the fatal accidents peaking during the month of June. Most of the deadly motorcycle accidents occurred at night, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and 43% of them involved drivers with blood alcohol levels that exceeded the legal limit of .08 percent. Motorcycle accidents can occur at anytime, in any place, but the majority of fatal accidents occur on rural roads where drivers tend to speed up over long stretches of open road.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the most effective preventive measure to reduce the number of fatal motorcycle accidents is wearing a helmet. According to their data, 1,630 motorcylists’ lives were saved in 2013 by wearing a helmet. Helmets reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle accident by 37% and can reduce the risk of serious head injuries and brain traumas by 69 percent. Even though helmets reduce the chances of a fatal injury, they are not foolproof. In 2014, 62% of motorcycle drivers that suffered fatal injuries were wearing helmets.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists several vital steps motorcyclists can take to reduce their risk of serious and fatal injuries.
- Wear a helmet.
- Wear leather or other heavy clothing that protects the arms and legs from road rash and burns.
- Choose clothing that has reflective tape or markings to make it easier for drivers to see you.
- Establish and enforce laws on motorcycle licensing and training.
- Take precautions during inclement weather and plan ahead to avoid severe weather conditions.
- Travel in daylight hours and limit travel after 9:00 p.m.
- Ensure all motorcycle passengers are helmeted and familiar with riding on this type of vehicle.
- Ride with traffic and avoid riding in between lanes or on the shoulder of the road.
- Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and keep a watchful eye on vehicles approaching from the rear and side of the road.
- Obey traffic signals and stop signs.
- Do not operate your motorcycle or take on a passenger after consuming alcoholic beverages.
- Be keenly aware of blind spots for other motorists and avoid areas where they may be unable to see you.
- Choose a motorcycle that is appropriate in size, power and manageability for your age and stature.
NEW JERSEY MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT EICHEN CRUTCHLOW ZASLOW & MCELROY REPRESENT VICTIMS OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced and reliable team of New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy at 732-777-0100 or submit our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Red Bank, Edison, and Toms River, New Jersey, allowing us to serve clients throughout the state.
As spring arrives, the days get longer, the sun shines brighter and motorcyclists once again take to the open road. Unfortunately, as motorcyclists dust off the winter cobwebs from their bikes, the rate of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents increases.