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 motorcyclist.

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 accidents

Unlike motorcycles, cars and trucks offer a shell of safety for their drivers and passengers.  Motorcyclists 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 accidents 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.