May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. As San Diego injury lawyers,
we know how devastating a motorcycle accident can be. Unfortunately, they
are on the rise here in California and across the country.
According to preliminary figures from the California Highway Patrol (CHP),
more than 400 people were killed and nearly 12,000 people were injured in
motorcycle crashes in 2011. Alarmingly, this represents a nearly 20 percent increase in the
fatality rate in from the prior year.
The spike in fatal motorcycle accidents highlights the importance of “sharing
the road,” the main message of this year’s safety campaign.
“Law enforcement and traffic safety organizations throughout the
nation are working to reverse this unfortunate trend,” said CHP
Commissioner Joe Farrow of the increase in the number of people killed
and injured in motorcycle-related collisions. “This month, and every
month, motorists are reminded to safely share the road with motorcycles,
and to be extra vigilant to help keep motorcyclists safe.”
California officials offer the following tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on
- Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges
of any other motor vehicle. The person under that helmet could be a mother,
brother, doctor, or friend.
- Perform a regular visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and
blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, at intersections,
and pulling out of driveways and parking lots. Always look twice before
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle –
motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling. Wait to be sure the motorcycle
is going to turn before you proceed.
- Allow more following distance – three or four seconds – when
behind a motorcycle to give the motorcyclist time to maneuver around obstacles
in the roadway or stop in an emergency.
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:
- Wearing a DOT-compliant helmet.
- Never riding while impaired.
- Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks
no one will see it.
- Signaling intentions by combining hand signals and turn signals to draw
more attention to themselves.
- Assuming drivers can’t see them. Wearing brightly colored protective
gear and using reflective tape and stickers to make sure they are seen.
- Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.
- Not accelerating too quickly, since drivers turning ahead might not notice
until too late.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a San Diego motor
vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to
contact a San Diego personal injury attorney
at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.