The Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys at Abels & Annes urge motorists to review “10 things all car, truck and bus drivers should know about motorcycles” to increase awareness as we enter the summer riding season.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 5,154 motorcyclists were killed in the United States in 2007 and another 103,000 were injured. In fact, the number of fatalities has exploded with the increase in registered motorcycles over the last 10 years.
In 1997, 3.9 million motorcycles were registered and 2,116 fatalities were reported compared to the 5,154 deaths in 2007 when 7.1 million bikers were registered on our roadways.
“It’s a fact that car drivers and other motorists are at fault most of the time in multiple-vehicle crashes that involve motorcyclists,” said Motorcycle Safety President Tim Buche, of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. “That’s why we’ve initiated several public outreach tools specifically targeting the driving community. MSF has life-saving messages for everyone, whether they are behind a handlebar or behind a steering wheel.”
MSF has launched a new website, www.forcardrivers.com, aimed at helping car, truck and bus drivers safely interact with motorcyclists. One of the leading motorcycle safety advocacy groups in the nation, MSF’s primary website also offers a wealth of information geared toward safe motorcycle riding.
10 things Car, Truck and Bus Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles:
1. Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the motorist, not the motorcyclist, is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle – they ignore it (usually unintentionally).
2. Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections. Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car.
3. A motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. Predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
4. Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance and predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
5. Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
6. Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Make sure a motorcycle’s signal is for real.
7. Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.
8. Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can’t always stop “on a dime.”
9. When a motorcycle is in motion, see more than the motorcycle – see the person under the helmet, who could be your friend, neighbor, or relative.
10. If a driver crashes into a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian and causes serious injury, the driver would likely never forgive himself/herself.
Federal data shows more than half of all motorcycle accidents involve a frontal collision — usually indicating another vehicle pulled into its path. Take a moment to look for motorcycles this summer … it could save a life.
If you or someone you love has been in a motorcycle accident, there are things you can do to help protect your rights. The Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers and Illinois personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free appointments to discuss your case. Call toll free (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.