Motorcycles prove higher accident risk

Though sporty, fast, and streamlined, motorcycles are definitely a riskier choice when it comes to travel.

In 2011, there were 2,553 injuries from motorcycle-related collisions resulting in 132 fatalities according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Significantly, 47% of the violations given resulted in no improper action on behalf of the bike riders.

The fact is, motorcycles can often be difficult to see. They are easily hidden by blind spots when turning into intersections or when changing lanes, which is why it is important for both drivers and motorcycle operators to be cautious.

The risks of motorcycles and how to reduce them

Unlike motorcycles, cars and trucks offer a shell of safety for their drivers and passengers.  Motorcycle riders however, are especially vulnerable to injuries, as there is little to shield them from contact with another motor vehicle or from the asphalt itself.

Even though head injuries account for the majority of motorcycle fatalities, Arizona’s mandatory helmet law applies only to drivers and passengers 17 and younger. These injuries may be prevented with the proper use of helmets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a helmet’s protection of the head, face, and brain reduces the risk of brain injury by 67%.

There are several types of helmets—open face (or three-quarter), and half, among them. What is most important when choosing a helmet however, is verifying that it has the DOT certification sticker signifying the helmet meets test standards for safety.

Don’t be invisible

  • Drive defensively. Assume other motorists do not see you.
  • It can be difficult for drivers to see motorcycles due to their significantly smaller size compared to trucks and cars. Wearing bright clothing and helmets increases visibility on the road.
  • Driving with your headlights on, even during the day, will improve your visibility. Most motorcycle collisions occur during daytime hours. Last year, there were 2,107 motorcycle accidents during daylight hours. Fortunately, most motorcycles have lights which come on automatically when the vehicle is turned on.
  • Don’t drive tired. If you are fatigued, your response time and driving ability may be compromised.
  • Make your signals known.  Don’t waiver or be indecisive when driving. Make sure you provide an adequate amount of space and time when signaling for lane changes, turns, and braking.

 Car drivers use caution

Last year there were 1,436 collisions involving motorcycles and vehicles. Regardless of who was at fault, the following suggestions may reduce the chances of this happening to you.

  • It can be difficult to judge the speed or how close an approaching motorcycle is when you’re about to turn in an intersection. Err on the side of caution and always assume that it is closer than it seems to be.
  • Thoroughly check traffic before switching lanes. Sometimes motorcycles can be hidden in the blind spots of your vehicle, especially if you drive a large SUV or truck.

This information is provided as a public service by Hollingsworth Kelly and is not intended to serve as legal advice.

 

Practice Pedestrian Safety and Street Smarts

Because our personal injury attorneys see a high incidence of traffic-related accidents causing injury or death to pedestrians, we want to make you aware of how to protect yourself when you’re walking along Tucson’s busy streets.

On average, there is one pedestrian death every 2 hours and another pedestrian-related injury every 8 minutes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Though pedestrians are often at the mercy of drivers on the road, in many instances these injuries are preventable with the proper safety precautions.

Though measures have been taken to reduce the number of pedestrian crashes in Arizona, there were 155 pedestrian fatalities in 2010. The State of Arizona, in collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration, is one of the states that have received technical assistance to reduce injuries, fatalities, and crashes.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, these measures include construction of new sidewalks, development of safe routes to walk to school, and the installation of High-intensity Activated Crosswalks (HAWKs).

This Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is designed to reduce the number and frequency of walking-related injuries, crashes, and fatalities.

You have the right-of-way… Right?

Contrary to what many may think, pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way when walking the streets. Arizona law dictates that pedestrians do have the right-of-way when walking in marked, and with exceptions, unmarked crosswalks.

This doesn’t mean that pedestrians do not need to exercise caution. Often times, pedestrian-related injuries happen when they are in a crosswalk and an inattentive driver fails to see them.

Pedestrians do NOT have the right-of-way when they are crossing at any place other than a crosswalk. They are to yield to oncoming vehicles if they’re crossing at any location other than a crosswalk. In fact, pedestrians have an obligation to never, “suddenly leave any curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield” (A.R.S. § 28-792).

Where to walk?

We all know that in a sprawling city such as Tucson, there are not always sidewalks. Since sidewalks are the safest places to walk, if one is present, it is against the law to walk on the roadway.

However if there isn’t a sidewalk, pedestrian law states that you should walk on the left side of a roadway facing traffic. This makes you more visible to oncoming vehicles.

Pedestrian safety tips

  • Be cautious when crossing streets at busy intersections. Drivers may fail to yield for pedestrians if they are turning onto a different street. Remain alert and aware of any oncoming vehicles before crossing.
  • Increase your visibility. If you are walking at night, wear bright reflective clothing. Carry a flashlight so that you can be seen by drivers.
  • Cross in well lit areas at night.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic on the left side of the street.
  • Teach children to look in both directions before crossing streets.
  • Only cross at designated crosswalks when possible.
  • Cross streets when there is a clear view in both directions.
  • Never assume that because you are in a crosswalk that you are safe.  Sometimes, drivers are inattentive or they ignore pedestrians’ right-of- way.

Driver safety tips

  • Drive slowly through neighborhoods, parks, and school zones. Obey posted speed limits.
  • Stop at all crosswalks when there is a pedestrian present.
  • Do not overtake and pass other vehicles that are stopped for a pedestrian.
  • Drive slowly through parking lots where pedestrians may be walking between cars.
  • Use caution when turning at intersections; be on the lookout for pedestrians that may have entered your path while you wait for a chance to turn.

Note: Having the right-of-way does not guarantee the safety of a pedestrian. Exercise caution prior to crossing any streets.

For more information on pedestrians in Arizona visit:

http://www.azbikeped.org/walking-introduction.html

This information is provided as a public service by Tucson personal injury law firm Hollingsworth Kelly and is not intended to serve as legal advice.

Dust Storm Safety: Pull Aside, Stay Alive

Driving through dangerous dust storms is always a risk when driving on Arizona highways.

These sudden and blinding storms can cause serious accidents within a matter of seconds.

Every year there are numerous dust-storm-related crashes, especially along the dusty I-10 corridor that commuters use to get from Tucson to Phoenix.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Pull Aside, Stay Alive campaign, here is how to stay safe if you are caught in a dust storm:

  • Check traffic around you and slow your vehicle.
  • Pull off of the roadway as soon as possible. Do not stop in the emergency lane–pull off of the paved roadway.
  • TURN OFF ALL VEHICLE LIGHTS, INCLUDING YOUR EMERGENCY LIGHTS.
  • Set your emergency brake, and take your foot off of the brake once you are completely stopped.
  • Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt buckled until the storm passes.

To learn about current road conditions and dust storm safety, visit ADOT’s travel information website at  www.az511.com, or call 511 within Arizona.

 

Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

You’ve been injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault. You’re frustrated because you don’t have a working vehicle, you need medical care, and you’re not sure who is going to pay your medical bills. The insurance company representing the person who caused the accident wants your recorded statement. You just received a letter from the hospital saying they’ve filed a “lien” against you for a bill you thought was already paid by your medical insurance provider.

The problems accident victims face after they’ve been injured in an auto collision can be overwhelming. In addition to seeking medical treatment for their injuries, they must make numerous decisions associated with their accident claim, mostly in areas that are unfamiliar to them.

Trying to negotiate your own claim with insurance companies may result in frustration and little success. If you begin communication with the third-party insurance company and you later hire an attorney to represent you, those prior statements may become an impediment to the successful resolution of your case.

A personal injury law firm such as Hollingsworth Kelly is comprised of experienced attorneys and staff who can help you if you’ve been injured in an auto accident. They are ready to answer your accident-related questions, and they’ll work closely with you until your case is settled. They’re also experienced in working on liens. They will make sure any liens filed against you are valid, and if possible, will negotiate a reduction of those liens.

The attorneys at Hollingsworth Kelly have the experience to recover a fair and just settlement for your accident-related injuries. No fee is due until your case is resolved. Please contact us today if you would like to consult with or hire a personal injury attorney.

What to Do if You’re in an Accident

Dial 911. Call for emergency assistance as soon as you are able.

Stay Put or Move Carefully. If you are injured, stay in your car if at all possible and wait for medical assistance.

Even if you do not feel injured, move slowly and carefully. Remember, your body may have suffered trauma from the impact.

Limit Contact with the Other Driver. Other than to determine if anyone is injured, avoid speaking to the other driver. The responding traffic officer will take insurance information. Both drivers must stay with their vehicles until police arrive. Do not agree if the other driver asks permission to leave the scene.

If police do not respond, you will have to speak to the other driver to obtain insurance information. Again, limit your contact and do not make admissions or excuses about your driving.

Witness Information. If any witnesses approach you, take their names, addresses and telephone numbers.

Photos. If you are physically capable, or if a friend or family member is available, use your cell phone to take photos of the location of the vehicles after impact, and the damage to the vehicles involved. Also include a side view and a distance shot of the two (or more) vehicles.

Medical Care. If you are injured, go immediately to the hospital by ambulance. Otherwise, go to urgent care for evaluation and treatment. Remember to follow-up with your primary care physician within the time period ordered by the urgent care or hospital physician—usually within a week after the accident.

Photograph your injuries, especially any bruising on your body. These may provide clues to problems that could develop over time.

Contact an Attorney. Contact a personal injury attorney early in the process to help you resolve your accident claim. The staff at Hollingsworth Kelly is experienced in all aspects of personal injury litigation, and we will be with you at every step of the way, including helping you determine treatment options, insurance contact, and lien resolution, all with the goal of optimizing your recovery and settlement.

03.22.10

This information is provided as a public service by Hollingsworth Kelly and is not intended to serve as legal advice.