When it comes to avoiding a wreck, motorcycles have some advantages over passenger cars: field of vision and maneuverability, to name a few. But in spite of these advantages, motorcycle drivers might be surprised to learn that they are 26 times more likely than car passengers to be killed in a crash (according to the NHTSA, 2015).
This is a startling statistic.
The number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities varies widely from state to state. Arkansas ranks 25th in the country for number of fatalities, with 61 fatalities in 2013. This might seem like a low number, but consider that motorcyclists make up only 3% of vehicles on the road, but account for 14% of road fatalities – a percentage that has increased greatly in the last 15 years. And for the families and spouses of those 61 drivers, even one death is too many.
While the numbers may vary, the causes of motorcycle accidents are consistent throughout the country. The three main causes? Lack of helmet use, speeding, and alcohol impairment. While these all fall under the responsibility of the motorcycle driver, those drivers are not always at fault in vehicle crashes. In Arkansas, about 25% of wrecks involving motorcycles were the other driver’s fault.
Tips for Staying Safe
To avoid accidents as a motorcycle driver, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, including other drivers, road conditions, and animals like deer. Although you can’t control the behavior of other drivers, there are still steps you can take to stay safe as a motorcycle driver:
Always wear a helmet. If you were to choose only one safety precaution to follow, this is it! Under Arkansas law, only drivers and passengers under the age of 21 are required to wear protective helmets. But statistics show that the single best way to decrease your chances of fatality on a motorcycle is to wear a helmet. Though many riders prefer dark helmets and clothing, a neon yellow helmet will increase your visible and, thus, your safety.
Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or certain medications.
Invest in protective clothing: gloves, boots, and long, thick pants. Though they don’t offer much protection in serious crashes, you are less likely to sustain severe road burns in minor crashes if you cover up. Again, opt for bright, solid colors for outerwear to increase visibility.
Request an Antilock Brake System (ABS) on your motorcycle. This keeps your wheels from locking up, reducing the risk of being thrown from the seat.
Take a training course to maximize your motorcycle safety knowledge. And, of course, never drive a motorcycle without a valid license!
Steps to Take Post-Accident
As with a car accident, after a motorcycle accident it is important to get as much information as possible, if you are physically able. Take note of the other driver’s name, license number, contact and insurance information, as well as any possible witnesses, geography and weather conditions, and other details of the accident. This information is vital for pursuing a personal injury claim.
If you have sustained injuries from a recent motorcycle wreck with another vehicle, the Arkansas motorcycle injury lawyers at Taylor King Law will be glad to offer a free consultation to determine whether you have a good case to claim compensation for your injuries.