The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that, in 2011, 4,612 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle accidents, which was an increase of 2 percent from the 4,518 motorcyclists killed in 2010. A study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), reported that:
motorcyclist deaths increased approximately 9 percent in 2012, to more than 5,000 lives lost. This is greater than the overall traffic fatality increase projected by the federal government and would be the 14th out of the last 15 years in which motorcyclist deaths increased. Notably, this level of deaths closes in on an all-time high, and motorcyclists remain one of the few roadway user groups where no progress can be shown over the last decade.
In 2011, Missouri reported 77 motorcycle accidents, and Arkansas reported 60. With these numbers, there should be no doubt that motorcycles have higher risk of injury. The question is why?
What makes motorcycles different?
Motorcycle riders are in a unique position on the road, because they are exposed to dangers not encountered by automobile drivers or other motorists. The most important difference, of course, is the lack of any substantial protective barrier between a motorcyclist and the road. Another problem is the difficulty many other motorists have anticipating or seeing a motorcycle, which leave riders more prone to accident and serious injury.
Because of the lack of safety features found in passenger vehicles, such as seatbelts, airbags, and a metal frame), motorcyclists typically suffer more extensive, or even catastrophic, injuries. Motorcyclists must remain aware of their surroundings, as they are much smaller than passenger vehicles and may be more difficult for other drivers to see.
To learn more, click here to download our free Arkansas Motorcycle Accidents – The Basics report.
Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents
There are a few steps you can take, as a motorcyclist, to reduce the risk of being involved in a collision. Take good care of your motorcycle. The safer and better maintained your motorcycle is, the less likely your machinery will be the cause of an accident or injury. Wearing protective clothing and equipment is a must. As motorcycles have no outer protection for the rider, like cars do, goggles, boots, gloves and other protective clothing can go a long way toward protecting your skin and body in a crash. No question – you should not ride without a helmet.
Be seen and heard by the other motorists around you. Use your lights to make yourself more visible. Use your horn to signal danger and to help others realize you are there. Be careful in turns and curves, and avoid heavy traffic. Whenever you can, maneuver to large open spots on the roadway with fewer vehicles. If you must ride on multi-lane divided interstates, the safest lane is the far left lane, where you can avoid the merging and exiting traffic.
If you have questions regarding motorcycle accidents, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office by calling us at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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