Drivers need to watch for motorcycles and share the road
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and it serves as an important reminder to share the road with motorcyclists. With more than 8 million registered motorcycles in the United States, it is crucial for drivers to take precautions to prevent motorcycle accidents and fatalities on our roads.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,932 motorcyclist fatalities in 2021, accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities and representing the highest number of motorcyclist deaths since 1975.
In the Atlanta area, motorcycle accidents are unfortunately not uncommon. Crash data from the Georgia Department of Driver Services reveals Metro Atlanta has had a higher rate of motorcycle crashes in recent years compared to rural areas, with the top counties for motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries being Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, and Bibb.
Unfortunately, motorcycle accident victims can be left with significant injuries and financial burdens. And to an insurance company, an injured motorcyclist is often just another claim to be processed as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Remember, insurance companies care more about their bottom line than paying fair compensation to crash victims.
That's why if you were injured due to another driver's negligence, it's important to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can protect your rights and build a compelling case for the compensation you deserve.
Know the facts about motorcycle accidents
Despite increased efforts to promote motorcycle safety, motorcycle accidents and fatalities continue to be a major concern on American roads. In 2020, Georgia saw a 13% increase in motorcycle fatalities and an 18% increase in severe injuries from the previous year, with 192 fatalities and 834 serious injuries resulting from such accidents.
Research shows that motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle collision and 4 times more likely to be injured. When an accident occurs, bikers rarely walk away unscathed: 80% of motorcycle wrecks result in injury or death.
How to share the road with motorcyclists
Motorcycle accidents are often caused by negligent drivers who fail to give bikers the space and respect they deserve on the road. Common causes of motorcycle wrecks include drivers making left turns in front of oncoming bikes, following motorcycles too closely, changing lanes without checking blind spots, and driving while impaired or distracted.
Here are some tips that can help prevent a collision with a motorcycle:
- Yield to motorcyclists at intersections: Intersections can be dangerous places for motorcyclists, as drivers may not always see them. Motorists should be especially vigilant when turning and yield to any oncoming motorcycles.
- Avoid distractions while driving: Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, and motorcyclists can be especially difficult to see. By avoiding distractions, such as texting or talking on a cell phone, motorists can help keep the road safer for everyone.
- Be aware of the size of motorcycles and give them full lane width: Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road, making them more difficult to see. This can be particularly dangerous when drivers fail to check their blind spots or overlook motorcyclists when making turns or changing lanes. Drivers should be aware of the size of motorcycles and provide them with full lane width to ensure their safety. Likewise, drivers must be vigilant and check their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or merging.
- Use turn signals when changing lanes or merging: Clear communication is critical to preventing motorcycle accidents. By using turn signals, motorists can alert other drivers, including motorcyclists, of their intentions on the road.
- Allow a safe following distance: Motorcycles can stop more quickly than other vehicles, and drivers should allow for more following distance to provide motorcyclists with the space they need to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Drive alcohol- and drug-free: Alcohol and drugs can impair a driver's judgment and reaction time, making them a significant danger to vulnerable road users like bikers. Motorists should never drink and drive or drive while under the influence of drugs.
- Drive defensively: Defensive driving involves being aware of potential hazards and being prepared to respond. By driving defensively, motorists can better anticipate the actions of other drivers, including motorcyclists.
- Obey the speed limit: Speeding is a leading cause of accidents and can have disastrous consequences. Drivers should obey the posted speed limit to help ensure the safety of everyone on the road.
By following these tips, drivers can help ensure the safety of motorcyclists and prevent tragic accidents on our roads and highways.
Contact an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer
Motorcycle accidents can result in devastating injuries that can impact a person's life forever. At the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C., our attorneys understand the immense toll a motorcycle crash can have on the victim and their family. That's why we stand up for injured bikers and fight tirelessly to protect their legal rights.
Our priority is to ensure our clients receive the medical treatment they need to recover and the financial compensation they deserve to get their lives back on track. If you've been injured in an Atlanta motorcycle accident, don't hesitate to contact us to learn how we can help.