According to the 2015 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 4,976 died in motorcycle accidents in the United States, which is an increase of 8.3% from 4,594 in 2014. Unfortunately, motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles account for 56% of motorcycle accident fatalities.
However, many motorcycle accidents can be avoided by consistent awareness and education about the safest way to ride. Furthermore, drivers of motor vehicles can also do their part to proactively prevent collisions with motorcyclists.
What Can Motorcyclists Do?
The following are safety tips for motorcyclists to avoid collisions:
- Wear a helmet – According to the NHTSA, for every 100 motorcyclists killed in an accident while not wearing a helmet, 37 would have survived if they had been wearing one. Ensure that the helmet you use is up to the standards of the Department of Transportation and have one available for any passengers.
- Learn good riding techniques – Motorcyclists must develop riding skills, as well as learn about their bikes and what to expect from them, such as how to maneuver in various conditions or situations. Vital skills include negotiating potholes, taking curves, braking without locking, and handling trouble spots.
- Be visible to other drivers – Most accidents involving other vehicles occur because the driver didn’t see the motorcyclist at all. Being visible doesn’t mean wearing reflective clothing, but making sure the driver knows that you are there.
- Don’t drink and ride – Operating a motorcycle requires coordination and balance, both of which are negatively affected by alcohol. Nearly half of all accident involving a single motorcycle are caused by alcohol use or speeding.
- Avoid road hazards – Whether there is debris on the road or slick conditions are present, road hazards are more dangerous for motorcyclists compared to cars. Take the time to understand the various road dangers and learn how to handle your bike in the safest manner possible whenever they occur.
What Can Drivers Do?
Safety tips for motor vehicle drivers to avoid motorcycle accidents include:
- Look before you make a turn – Nearly half of all motorcycle accidents involving other motor vehicles were caused by a car attempting to make a left turn while the motorcyclist went straight. If you notice a motorcycle at an intersection, try to make eye contact with the motorcyclist before turning in its direction.
- Constantly check your blind spots – Because motorcycles are much smaller than cars, it is easier for them to enter your blind spots without notice. Keep your head on a swivel, especially before switching lanes.
- Adhere to the 4-second rule – When you find yourself behind a motorcycle, increase your driving distance and maintain a four-second cushion. This cushion gives you enough time to react to unexpected situations.
- Be courteous in inclement weather – Since motorcyclists have a more difficult time navigating through rain, wind, and snow, give them a little extra space.
- Be a friend – Just simply be nice. Remember, we all make mistakes, especially when it comes to driving or riding. Always be courteous and aware of the ever-present dangers of the road. It is good for both your blood pressure and driving record.
If you suffered a serious injury in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver in Nebraska, contact our Omaha personal injury attorney at Carlson & Burnett today at (402) 810-8611. We consider ourselves "friends of the family," because we are compassionate about making sure you make the best recovery possible from injury.