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Spring has finally arrived! It’s a time when more and more motorcyclists are returning to the streets nationwide. Historically, this also means an increase in motorcycle crashes. This past weekend, in Michigan alone, shows how motorcycle accidents can be serious, even fatal for a rider.

One man is dead after two motorcycles collided over the weekend. According to Grand Rapids, MI police, the deceased cyclist rear-ended another motorcycle that suddenly braked hard. The other man suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash. Neither man was wearing a helmet and alcohol appears to be a factor.

In Three Rivers, MI, a woman died in a motorcycle accident when she and her husband were struck by a minivan that failed to stop at a traffic light. The man was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries.

Motorcyclists are more exposed and can easily be overlooked due to their size, inherently making them more vulnerable on our roadways than motor vehicle occupants. In fact, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than motorists in a car, with most fatal vehicle-motorcycle accidents occurring at intersections and while changing lanes. For these reasons, May is recognized as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a time to remind motorcyclists and motorists to do their part by staying alert and sharing the road.

To continually educate motorcyclists and vehicle drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers the following safety tips:

Motorcyclists:

  • New riders should take a motorcycle safety course, and experienced riders should take refresher courses after significant time off their bikes.
  • Use a helmet even if it is not required in your state. Generally speaking, those who wear a helmet suffer far less head injuries and/or fewer seriously injured.
  • Use protective eyewear and wear protective clothing to serve as a buffer from the impact of an accident. Wear bright, contrasting protective clothing.
  • Practice defensive riding and position yourself to be seen. Use lane placement to help you see further and others to see you. Ride with your headlights on at all times, avoid riding in blind spots, use turn signals, and be extra cautious when passing a vehicle.
  • Intersections are particularly dangerous. Be alert for vehicles making unexpected turns or pulling out in front of you.
  • Never share a lane with a vehicle or weave between lanes.
  • Do not expect that other drivers will give you the right of way.
  • Be aware of road conditions and traffic. Even minor road hazards, such as a small pothole, can be very dangerous to bikers. Oil and other substances will pool on road surfaces and create slippery conditions for motorcycles.
  • Never drive while distracted or impaired.
  • Be aware that riding with a passenger requires considerably more skill

Drivers:

  • Remember that motorcycles have the same privileges as any vehicle on the roadway.
  • Show extra caution at intersections, when a motorcyclist may be making a left turn or changing lanes.
  • Increase following distance when behind a motorcycle. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars, and they often have to react quickly to even minor changes in road conditions.
  • Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Anticipate a motorcyclist’s maneuver. Obstructions that you do not notice may be deadly for a motorcyclist.
  • Never drive while distracted or impaired.
  • Anticipate a motorcyclist’s maneuver: Obstructions that you do not notice may be deadly for a motorcyclist.

Increased awareness by everyone will result in increased safety. For more information on motorcycle safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.

Mark M. Bello is an attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series. He is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation, a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.

 

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