The most recent statistics are shocking: over 88,000 motorcyclists were injured on American highways in 2015. 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2015. Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of other vehicles. And the majority of fatal motorcycle accidents involve collisions with other motor vehicles.
Tragically, another life was lost just this week. According to the Iowa State Patrol, a motorcyclist was hit and killed by a semi-truck in Marshalltown on Monday night. The cyclist, a 63-year-old man from Gladbrook, was heading north on Highway 14 when the semi attempted to make a left turn in front of him at East Marion Street. The semi-truck struck the motorcycle while making the turn, killing the cyclist.
It's time for drivers to be vigilant
With spring upon us and the weather starting to warm up, motorcycles are becoming more prevalent on the roads again. Although every day calls for motorcycle awareness, it's important for drivers to be especially vigilant and mindful with the increased number of motorcycles on the road.
Here, then, are a few tips and reminders for proper safety and etiquette regarding motorcycles:
- Look twice - Before changing lanes, always remember to check your blind spots. Lean forward in your seat, if you need to, to double check your side mirrors for those hard-to-see spots around your vehicle. Also, look twice before pulling into traffic - with their lower profiles, motorcycles are sometimes harder to see on first glance. And always honor right-of-way laws - don't try to speed out in front of a cyclist just to be first in line.
- Give 'em room - Potholes are the scourge of many drivers. And this is especially so for motorcyclists. Hitting a pothole or other road debris can be devastating for a cyclist. Be aware that motorcyclists may need to swerve or change lanes suddenly to avoid potholes and debris. Give them room to make these lane corrections - there's no need to crowd them.
- No tailgating - We all have a tendency to tailgate now and then. But when following a motorcycle, it's especially important to stay back and resist the urge to ride up on their tail. Increase your following distance by as much as an extra car length to give them extra room and you extra time to react. After all, motorcycles have a much shorter stopping distance than cars and can maneuver more quickly (and suddenly) than other vehicles on the road.
- Be present and considerate - It's important to NEVER drive while distracted, but it's even more imperative to remain alert and vigilant when motorcycles are present. Be considerate of motorcycle drivers, give them as much space as possible and hold off on composing that text until you aren't behind the wheel of a car.
By following these good driving habits, we can make sure the roads are that much safer for everyone - motorcyclists and motorists alike.
If tragedy should strike, however, and you or a loved one is involved in a serious motorcycle accident, it's important to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to help you protect your legal rights and recover full and fair compensation for your injuries, suffering and losses. At Hixson & Brown, P.C., we have represented a number of families over the years that have been devastated by the loss of loved ones as a result of motorcycle collisions.