Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, has declared May to be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. In the proclamation, Governor Snyder refers to the nearly 500,000 licensed motorcycle operators in the state of Michigan, and the ensuing importance of quality education and training programs relative to motorcycle operation. Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, and the Michigan chapter of American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) kicked the month off on Monday with a mutual ride to the 2016 Motorcycle Safety News Conference in Waterford.
The awareness campaign focuses on both motorcyclists and other motor vehicle drivers. Indeed, both are critical partners in the work of preventing motorcycle accidents and minimizing injuries when accidents occur. In the most recent year for which data is available, there were nearly 2200 accident-related injuries to motorcyclists and just over 100 deaths.
Rider Responsibilities for Safety
With winter weather finally in full retreat, motorcyclists are eagerly returning to the roads, so the selection of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is certainly timely. It’s a good time for new and old riders alike to review common safety regulations and ensure they are up to speed on any new regulations. The following safety recommendations are recommended for all motorcycle operators:
- Take a motorcycle education and certification course. Community colleges usually offer these courses throughout the riding season.
- Always wear a helmet. Though a helmet is not required in Michigan for adults with two years of experience and the required insurance coverage, there is general agreement that helmet use is a important preventive measure against some of the most serious accident injuries, such as head or brain injuries that can cause paralysis, permanent disability, or death.
- Obey traffic laws and avoid speeding.
- Do not drink, use drugs, or take prescription medications that can cause drowsiness or other impairment.
- Maintain your motorcycle properly and undertake repairs when needed.
- Wear brightly colored clothing in order to increase your visibility.
- Drive defensively and be aware of fatigue, road, and weather conditions. Motorcyclists cannot assume other drivers will see them, so it’s critical to be aware of the other vehicles (and drivers) on the road. Riders should also pay close attention to the road and weather conditions, as they, along with fatigue, actually pose a greater risk to motorcycle operators than do other vehicle operators.
Drivers of Other Vehicles Urged to “Share the Road”
There are many precautions other drivers can take to lessen their chances of an accident involving a motorcycle. Though one often hears it is important to “share the road,” many drivers are unsure exactly what that means. Motor vehicle operators need to know motorcyclists have a right to a full lane, just like other vehicles. Also critical is the need to ensure the motorcycle and its rider and passenger have the appropriate space. Following a motorcycle too closely can result in disaster if a rider is forced to stop or maneuver quickly to avoid dangerous road conditions or for any other reason that might require sudden changes in movement.
Additionally, car and truck drivers need to check mirrors and blind spots, especially when turning, passing, or changing lanes. The smaller size of motorcycles can make them harder to see, and a vehicle passing too closely at speed can actually cause an accident by blowing the motorcycle off-course. Lastly, it’s been a long winter, and it’s been a while since we’ve all shared the road with motorcyclists. Now is a good time to bring their safety back to the front of our minds and maintain awareness of their presence or potential presence at all times.
Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a roadway accident than those in other types of vehicles. Our team at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm encourages everyone to do their part in making the roads safer for motorcyclists and their passengers.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, our motorcycle accident and wrongful death attorneys know you need to focus on healing and can take on the legal fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form to set up your absolutely free, no-risk consultation.