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Motorcycles operate differently from passenger vehicles

Written by Ankin Law Office

Although motor vehicle accident fatalities have steadily decreased since 2009, motorcyclist fatalities have increased substantially since that time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in 2012, which is a 7 percent increase from the previous year. Motorcycle injuries also increased by 12,000 from 2011 to 2012. A motorcycle crash lawyer may be able to provide essential legal counsel after an accident occurs. However, the fact that motorcyclists are injured and killed at a substantial rate is an issue that must be dealt with appropriately.

Motorcycles vs. passenger vehicles

All vehicles on the road, regardless of their size, should be given respect. Motorcycles are substantially smaller than cars and trucks. Therefore, vehicle drivers need to be extremely cautious when maneuvering around them. A motorcycle’s small size allows it to be easily hidden in blind spots and between other vehicles. Their size may also make it extremely difficult for passenger vehicle drivers to determine their distance and how fast they are traveling.

When surrounded by larger vehicles, motorcyclists may change lanes frequently in order to avoid unsafe road conditions or achieve better visibility through traffic. According to Illinois law, motorcycles are not required to have turn signals. While many modern motorcycles come equipped with turn signals, a driver should not assume that a motorcyclist will always use them. Some turn signals are not self-canceling, so drivers should use added caution when passing motorcyclists.

Motorcycles ride differently than passenger vehicles in adverse weather conditions and through construction zones. Slippery road surfaces or debris may make it difficult for cyclists to stop. They may also need to make an emergency stop in order to avoid road hazards. Car and truck operators should drive at a greater distance behind motorcyclists in order to anticipate these types of situations.

Paying attention to motorcyclists

After considering that motorcycles made up 3 percent of the total number of registered vehicles nationwide in 2012 but accounted for approximately 15 percent of fatalities on the road, it is clear to see that many car and truck drivers are not giving motorcyclists the attention they deserve. According to a study conducted by Florida Department of Transportation, passenger vehicles are at fault for causing motorcycle collisions, resulting in serious injury and death, more often than not. Drivers often fail to yield to motorcycles; either because they don’t see them or they misinterpret their speed and distance.

Illinois motorcycle awareness month

During the month of May, Illinois officials concentrate on educating both passenger vehicle drivers and motorcyclists on how to stay safe on the road. NHTSA reports that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to receive a brain injury or be fatally injured in a vehicle collision, making this an issue of life or death.

Motorists who are more familiar with the driving characteristics of motorcyclists may be less likely to be involved in a devastating collision.

Categories: Auto Accidents