Georgia is known for its great weather for most of the year, so it’s no surprise why so many motorcyclists find Georgia’s roads the perfect place to ride.
Unfortunately, motorcycles are inherently dangerous due to a lack of protection and small size when struck by another motor vehicle. Many drivers are not aware of how to safely operate their vehicles when motorcycles are near them.
According to 2014 fatal crash data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle fatalities occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles.
Motorcycle accidents can be avoided if drivers and motorcycle riders take more precautions. As warmer weather arrives and there are more motorcycles on the road, these precautions are even more crucial.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Even though you may be a driver with many years of driving experience, you can only ensure that you are following safety procedures. You cannot ensure that someone else won’t be operating their motor vehicle in a negligent manner. Most accidents between a motor vehicle and a motorcycle are caused by drivers who never saw the motorcycle… until it was too late. Impaired riders are another common cause of motorcycle accidents – 43% according NHTSA.
How to Protect Yourself from Motorcycle Accidents
The following safety tips can keep yourself and your riders safe:
- Always make sure you wear a helmet. Wearing a motorcycle helmet approved by the Department of Transportation significantly reduces the incidence of head injuries in traffic. According to the NHTSA, for every 100 motorcyclists killed in a crash while not wearing a helmet, 37 would have survived if they had been wearing a helmet.
- Get a motorcycle license. Driving a motorcycle requires different skills and knowledge than driving a car. Make sure you are properly licensed
- Get professional training. Given that motorcycles handle and respond differently than cars, get familiar with the feel of a motorcycle by riding it in a safe area. Once you feel comfortable, take it onto the road. Make sure you know how to ride your motorcycle in different conditions
- Don’t drink and ride. About 50% of accidents involving a single motorcycle are caused by either speeding or alcohol use. Certain prescription medications can also impair your driving, affect your judgment, and slow your reaction time.
- Wear protective clothing. make sure your clothing is made of abrasion resistant material such as leather and fit close to the body. Chose brighter colors so other motorists can see you.
- Maintain your bike. It is important to make sure your motorcycle is in excellent running condition – not only your engine and brakes but also your tires, headlamps, and turn signals.
- Don’t share lanes. Drivers look for cars in other lanes… they might not notice a motorcycle sharing a lane with them.
- Avoid road hazards. Avoid debris in the road and slick conditions.
- Ride responsibly. Be sure to obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings. Leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles. Remember to always signal and check behind you when switching lanes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if a motorcycle helmet is approved by Georgia DOT?
A: Look for a “DOT” label on the helmet. This means the helmet is certified by the manufacturer and complies with federal safety standards.
Q: Do I have to call the police if I am involved in a traffic accident?
A: If a traffic accident involves a death, injury, or any property damage, you should and must notify the police. They will send an officer to the scene who will write a report of the incident.
Q: If I get into an accident, should I hire a lawyer to help me?
A: You should speak with a qualified attorney to understand if you have a valid claim. Issues in your case, such as traffic laws, motor vehicle regulations, medical treatment, and liability, are best understood by an experienced attorney. Consider contacting the Don Turner Legal Team at (770) 594-1777 for a free consultation.