May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

A few weeks ago we looked at safety awareness for bikes. Now we want to talk about their bigger, bolder, slightly brashier brother:  motorcycles.

Motorcycles are a fun, quick, and economical way to get around, but though cars far outnumber motorcyclists on our roads, motorcyclists account for a disproportionate number of traffic deaths. In large part, lack of education and awareness is to blame. A great many drivers don’t realize that motorcyclists enjoy all of the same rights and privileges that they do — lane-splitting excepted — and that part of being a responsible motor vehiclist means taking care to share the road. With all street legal modes of transportation. As the National Safety Council likes to say, “motorcycle safety is a two-way street.”

As part of its campaign this month to bring motorcycle safety awareness to the fore, the NSC shared several sobering statistics about just how dangerous it is out there for bikers. As long-time, avid motorcyclists, reading numbers like these is heartbreaking. We love for people to be able to enjoy the open road on two wheels, just as Howard has for more than four decades. But we also want people to be able to do so safely. Unfortunately, it’s only gotten more dangerous for motorcyclists over the past twenty years.

  1. In 2017, 5,172 motorcycle riders and passengers died in crashes. Fatalities among motorcycle riders and passengers have more than doubled in number since 1997.

This is the kind of information that keeps us up at night. The fact that the number of fatalities has not only increased, but doubled, is terrifying, tragic, and quite honestly almost beyond belief. It only highlights how important it is that both motorcyclists and drivers know the rules of the road forward and back. We must all practice safe driving every single time we are out on the road. No exceptions. It only takes one second of complacency to change someone’s life forever.

  1. Motorcycles make up 3% of all registered vehicles and only .6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S., but motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2017.

This is the disproportion we were just referring to. Look, riding a motorcycle is inherently risky, but with the right safety precautions you can turn riding into more of a calculated risk. What are some things you can do to take your safety into your own hands? The big one is wear a helmet. The more safety gear you wear, the less likely you are to receive a serious personal injury in a motorcycle accident.

Making sure your bike is properly tuned, and that your wheels are in good condition, is also key — but you should also make sure YOU are properly tuned. That is, no matter how experienced you are, going back to the basics and taking a motorcycle safety course can serve you well. Athletes always talk about the importance of revisiting the fundamentals. So why shouldn’t we? After all, it’s your life we’re talking about here.

  1. More than a quarter of riders who died in a motorcycle crash in 2017 (28%) were alcohol-impaired.

In fact, drunk riding is THE most common causal factor in motorcycle crashes. When you’re inebriated, please do not get behind the wheel or hop on your bike. You don’t just put your own life at risk. If you plan to drink somewhere, be proactive and take a ride-share to your destination, or make sure you have a designated driver. No motorcycle with you means no drunk riding.  

Also a no-go:  riding while on drugs. National Roadside Survey has also found a global increase of drug-impaired driving. Let’s not do that, please.

  1. A staggering 91% of riders who died in a motorcycle crash in 2017 were male.

Ninety-one percent. This is despite the fact that only 80% of riders are female, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. This disparity does have an explanation:  men are more likely to engage in risky behaviors than women. We just hope men take notice. Just as much as we need car drivers to be aware, us motorcyclists need to be aware, too. That’s why these safety campaigns are so necessary. Lives are at stake.

Motorcycle crash liability claims are tricky. Though they might share elements with car collisions, they need to be handled differently. Howard Blau has been an avid motorcycle rider and enthusiast for the last 40 years. He began representing victims of motorcycle accidents more than 35 years ago after several riders he knew suffered injuries on their bikes. He quickly discovered that his own motorcycle experience was an asset and an advantage. With his insight, he was uniquely positioned to provide expert legal representation to those involved in motorcycle accidents.

Today, our motorcycle accident clients fully appreciate our ability and desire to be on the same page with them. We understand how accidents occur, and the degree and severity of injury suffered by our clients. We take all steps necessary to secure top quality medical care for our clients.

If you’re a rider who’s been seriously injured in an accident, let Howard Blau’s unique insight and motorcycle awareness be your asset, too.

Have a serious injury and need legal advice?
Contact Howard Blau.

Ventura County’s Favorite Law Office

Check Out These References for Further Reading:

Motorcycle Safety is a Two-way Street.” National Safety Council. Retrieved 30 May 2019.

Traffic Safety Facts.” NHTSA. Retrieved 30 May 2019.

California Motorcyclist Training.” California Highway Patrol. Retrieved 30 May 2019.

Motorcycle Safety.” NHTSA. Retrieved 30 May 2019.

Motorcycle Accidents: Common Causes.” NOLO. Retrieved 30 May 2019.