Month-long program aims to reduce motorcycle accidents

The calendar has turned to May, which means more motorcyclists will be taking to Chicago’s streets to enjoy the warmer riding weather. That’s why May has been designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which attempts to raise consciousness about the presence of motorcycles on our roads and highways.

Too often, drivers fail to see motorcycles because of their reduced profile. Some motorcycle accidents can occur because drivers do not adequately check their blind spots before changing lanes. Others happen when drivers pull out into traffic believing the coast is clear only to cause a crash with a motorcyclist who had the right of way. It is imperative that drivers look for motorcycles as well as cars when they are behind the wheel.

The necessity of careful driving is reinforced by the severe injuries suffered by riders in motorcycle crashes. Data collected in 2009 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that, on a per mile basis, motorcycle riders bore a fivefold greater risk of being injured than someone who traveled in a car or truck. In addition, they had a 25 percent greater chance of receiving a fatal injury in an accident than a person involved in a car or truck crash.

Motorcyclists can take steps to avoid accidents as well. Highly-visible yet sturdy clothing can help, as can getting out of a car’s blind spot if possible. Sometimes preventative measures are the best way to stay safe. Unfortunately, even the best planning cannot stop an inattentive or negligent driver from causing an accident. But injured motorcyclists can recover compensation for the harm suffered in a crash.

Source: Consumer Reports, “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month reminds drivers, riders to share the road,” Jeff Bartlett, May 1, 2012.