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Compared to drivers of cars, trucks and other motor vehicles, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal road accident. That is a startling statistic, and one that underscores the need for drivers to be alert when sharing the road with motorcycle riders.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which is an excellent reminder for drivers to do their part and use extra caution since motorcycles are less visible and significantly less crashworthy.  Riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than driving a car, and thousands of avid bikers throughout Virginia are seriously injured each year.

The National Safety Council urges drivers to be careful when passing motorcycles, following motorcycles, or turning at intersections. Intersections are the site of many crashes between cars and motorcycles, when drivers violate the motorbike’s right-of-way.

Motorcycle accident statistics

  • Motorcycle riders and passenger deaths have more than doubled over the past 20 years
  • Nearly half of all motorcycle crashes result in lower-leg, foot, ankle, knee or thigh injury
  • 35 percent of all motorcycle fatalities are riders over the age of 50
  • Motorcyclists who do not wear helmets are 3 times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries in the event of an accident
  • Nearly 50 percent of all motorcycle and vehicle collisions involve a car turning left while the motorcycle was going straight or passing that vehicle  
  • More than half of all motorcyclist deaths occur between May and September
  • Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2018
  • 28 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2017 were intoxicated
  • Fatal single-vehicle accidents are usually caused by distraction or speeding

Safety tips to avoid collisions with motorcyclists

“We are working every day to reduce traffic crashes and save lives on Virginia roadways,” said the state’s Secretary of Transportation, who added that both motorcycle riders and motorists are encouraged to give their full attention to following the rules of the road.

Motorcycles are less agile and substantially less protective than standard passenger cars. They cannot stop on a dime and need more time to avoid potential collisions.

Drivers can heed these tips to help prevent an accident with a motorcyclist:

  • Increase your follow distance by 4 seconds when behind a motorcycle
  • Allow motorcycles a full lane
  • Know your vehicle’s blind spots and always check before passing or turning
  • Look twice for motorcycle riders, especially when crossing an intersection
  • Never drive while distracted or impaired
  • Use your rear and side mirrors and constantly check for motorcyclists before merging or turning
  • Slow down when visibility is poor or road conditions are hazardous

Injured in a motorcycle accident?

Few riders walk away from a motorcycle accident unscathed. Even with DOT-certified helmets, leather boots and protective gear, motorcyclists can still suffer horrific and life-threatening injuries. If you or someone you love were in a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible to seek compensation against negligent drivers. 

A personal injury attorney at Rutter Mills can investigate liability issues and seek the money damages you rightfully deserve to cover hospital expenses, lost income, and other costs stemming from your accident.

There is no cost to discuss your case, and our veteran lawyers provide staunch advocacy for injury victims in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, Hampton, Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Portsmouth.

Additional Resources:

  1. National Safety Council, Motorcycle Safety is a Two-way Street https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/motorcycle-safety
  2. NHTSA, Motorcycle Safety https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety