May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and the Michigan motorcycle attorneys from the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. want to spread the word about increasing motorcyclists safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in 2013 to 4,668, accounting for 14 percent of total fatalities for the year.
With the warmer weather comes the great pleasure of riding a bike on the open road. However, it is important for motorcyclists and drivers alike to remember these important safety tips when operating on Michigan roadways this summer:
- A motorcyclist has the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists using the roadway. Alternatively, motorcyclists must obey all traffic laws and follow the rules of the road in the same way operators of motor vehicles are required.
- When following a motorcycle, give yourself a greater follow distance than when following a car. This will give you and the motorcyclist more room in case of a sudden stop or change in direction.
- When changing lanes, please be aware of what’s around you. Due to their smaller size, motorcycles can easily be hidden in blind spots. Always engage your turn signal when changing lanes.
- Do not ride too close to a motorcyclist. Allow a full lane width between you and motorcyclist.
- Motorcyclists should never ride when tired or travel while distracted.
- Be careful about flashing turn signals on a motorcycle. The rider may have forgotten to turn it off so wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before proceeding.
Although helmet use is not required for motorcyclist who qualify, we recommend their use at all times. In 2013, 41 percent of fatally injured motorcycle riders and 53 percent of fatally injured motorcycle passengers were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. This is an astonishing statistic when you think about the small number of riders and passengers who don’t use helmets in the first place.
When wearing a helmet, wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. The NHTSA estimates helmets saved the lives of 1,630 motorcyclists in 2013.
And as always, never drink and drive. The stats don’t lie. In 2012, 43% of the 2,030 motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes had BAC levels of .08 g/dl or higher. Drinking impairs decision making, slows reaction time and leads to tragic accidents.
The Michigan motorcycle lawyers at Call Lee Free wish everyone a happy and healthy riding season. Riders ride carefully and safely this summer. Other motorists, please be aware of motorcyclist around you and take extra precaution when encountering motorcyclists on the road.
If you or a loved on has any questions about Michigan motorcycle law, or if you know someone has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1800-533-3733). We are here to help.