Although motorcycles make up only 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States, NHTSA data shows that motorcyclists accounted for a staggering 14% of all traffic fatalities, 18% of all occupant fatalities, and 4% of all occupant injuries in 2020.
Because they are not physically protected by the walls of a vehicle, motorcyclists are at much greater risk of experiencing serious personal injuries after being involved in an accident.
Since May is Motorcycle Awareness Month, we’re happy to share the following safety tips for preventing motorcycle crashes before they happen.
1. Wear appropriate safety gear
The recommended gear to wear while operating a motorcycle includes:
- Helmet: This is the most important piece of gear to wear while riding a motorcycle, and it is legally required under Louisiana Revised Statute 32:190.
- Jacket: A riding jacket should have heavy-duty panels as well as padding in the shoulders, elbows, and back.
- Gloves: Riding gloves should be made of durable, abrasion-resistant material and have padding in the palms and fingers.
- Pants: Riding pants should also be made of abrasion-resistant material and have padding in the knees and hips.
- Durable boots or closed-toe shoes: Shoes should be sturdy, cover the ankle, and have good traction on the sole.
2. Know the most common causes of crashes
When driving, remember that motorcycle riders are less visible to other motorists and thus more susceptible to the effects of bad weather or poor road conditions. Motorcycles are also less stable, making executing driving maneuvers like sudden stopping and swerving much more difficult.
The most common causes of motorcycle crashes include:
- Following the leading vehicle too closely
- Dangerous road conditions
- Distracted driving
- Traffic intersections
- Unsafe lane changes or sudden stops
- Turning into the path of an oncoming motorcycle
Neglecting to observe caution is extremely likely to result in wrongful death for a motorcyclist.
3. Never drive under the influence
It is absolutely crucial to avoid driving a motorcycle — or any vehicle — while under the influence of a substance.
Operating a motorcycle requires a high level of concentration, balance, and coordination, and these skills are severely impaired by the effects of alcohol and drugs.
Not only is it illegal to operate a motorcycle while intoxicated, but it also puts your life and the lives of others at risk. In fact, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, up to 46% of all motorcyclist fatalities occurred when the motorcyclist had a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08%.
4. Follow Louisiana motorcycle laws
Louisiana motorcycle laws stipulate that all motorcycle riders must:
- Complete a road rules and skills test to earn a motorcycle license
- Wear appropriate eyewear, such as goggles or safety glasses, while driving — unless the vehicle has a proper windshield
- Never overtake or pass other vehicles in the same lane (often called lane-splitting)
- Keep both hands on the handlebars while driving
- Ensure passengers over the age of five are wearing appropriate helmets and are securely seated
Get help after a motorcycle crash
While riders who are properly trained and licensed have a lower likelihood of being involved in a crash, motorcycle accidents still occur on a daily basis. If you become injured in an accident due to another driver's negligence, know that the experienced injury attorneys at Anderson Traylor Edwards are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.