Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Drivers and motorcyclists alike can increase safety by being aware of this important issue.

Now that spring weather is back, motorcycles will be a more prevalent sight on roads in Texas and elsewhere. It is important for motorcyclists to understand their risks, as well as for other drivers to realize that they share with road with bikes and must take precautions to avoid injuring or killing a motorcyclist.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 490 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents in Texas in 2017, the most current year in which statistics are available. The numbers have been steady, with close to 500 motorcyclists dying in accidents every year in Texas over the past decade.

Awareness efforts

The U.S. Department of Transportation has designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Law enforcement and other public safety departments across the country are encouraged to spread awareness of the unique hazards faced by motorcyclists on the roads.

The statistics surrounding this type of accident are sobering. Reportedly, motorcyclists are five times more likely to be injured in a traffic accident and 27 times more likely to be killed than those in passenger vehicles. Additionally, 14 percent of all fatalities in U.S. traffic accidents in 2015 were motorcyclists. What are the reasons? Even with safety gear, including helmets, motorcyclists are far less protected in a crash than people in passenger vehicles and trucks. Other drivers are also less likely to notice a motorcycle sharing the road than they would a larger vehicle.

Common dangers

Any accident can be unexpected, but there are many common factors to motorcycle accidents that everyone with a driver's license should be aware of. Motorcyclists often face the following hazards:

· Being struck from behind by another vehicle

· Colliding with a car that has turned left in their path

· Hitting a car door that unexpectedly opens in front of them

· Being hit by a vehicle that has merged into their lane without seeing them

Motorcyclists may increase their own safety by being aware of the risks and taking precautions to avoid a collision, such as watching for vehicles that are turning in their path and not riding too close to parked cars. However, most of the responsibility falls to other drivers to avoid being in an accident with a motorcyclist. Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings. They should check their blind spots and watch for approaching traffic before changing lanes or entering a road.

Motorcyclists and others who are injured by a negligent or inattentive driver may have legal recourse. It is recommended to speak with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney after a crash.