Car accidents involving motorcycles are increasing. All drivers are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles. Drivers need to be alert for motorcyclists to keep the safer and to avoid accidents. Motorcyclists need to make themselves visible to other drivers. Bright colors are an excellent way to make a motorcyclist more visible. Motorcycles have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any motor vehicle on the roadway.

As in car accidents, sober driving or riding is mandatory. Statistics show that the drunk motorcycle riders are involved in fatal crashes at greater percentage than not intoxicated drivers on our streets and highways. Not surprisingly studies show that alcohol affects those skills essential to riding a motorcycle – balance and coordination. So it plays a particularly big role in motorcycle fatalities. This is why NHTSA urges all motorcycle riders always to ride smart and sober.

In a car accident involving a car and motorcycle if the rider is properly dressed and wearing a helmet he or she has a much better chance of not suffering major injuries or being killed. Ever more motorcyclists are wearing helmets. Motorcycle helmet use increased from 48% in 2005 to 67% in 2009. In 2008, studies from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) show that the use of motorcycle helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives. Tests have shown that a motorcycle helmets do not interfere with the rider’s vision or hearing.

Motorcycle crash statistics show that helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing crash fatalities. A motorcycle rider wearing a helmet has a 29 percent better chance of surviving a crash than riders without a helmet. There are opponents of mandatory state motorcycle helmet laws and have claimed that motorcycle helmets interfering with the ability of a rider to see and hear surrounding traffic and by that increase the risk of an accident.

Many studies have shown that helmet use did not hamper the ability of riders to see traffic or increase the time needed to check for nearby traffic visually. Overall, any negative interference of helmets on rider vision seems minor, especially should a crash occur.

Use of DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets in 2009 stood at 67 percent, a gain from 63 percent in 2008 according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey(NOPUS). This organization is the only survey that provides the nationwide probability-based observed data on helmet use in the United States. The NOPUS survey is conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Ride sober, wear a helmet and be visible. Enjoy the Road.

Should you or a loved become involved in a traffic accident please feel free to give me a call. My office has been handling personal injury / motorcycle accidents for more than three decades. Call me Richard M. Katz, Esq. at 626-796-6333.

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