According to data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), in 1998, there were 2,294 motorcyclist deaths in the United States. By 2008, that number had more than doubled, reaching 5,312 deaths. In New Jersey, 37 motorcyclists were killed in 1998 versus 82 in 2008. Even when motorcycle accidents do not result in fatalities, they can result in serious injuries. According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in vehicle accidents in 2006 alone.
Motorcycle accidents can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Alcohol use
- Excessive speed
- Insufficient training
- Wrong bike size
While some motorcycle accidents are the fault of motorcyclists, a significant number of motorcycle accidents are caused by motorists. Motorists often fail to notice motorcycles, making critical driving errors such as pulling out in front of them. If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, an experienced Atlantic City injury attorney can help you get the compensation you need and deserve. If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle crash, you may have cause for a wrongful death claim.
What Motorcyclists Can Do to Stay Safe
Motorcyclists can take several steps to stay safe on the road, including:
- Never riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Observing posted speed limits
- Completing a motorcycle safety training course
- Riding a bike that is the appropriate size
- Staying out of motorists’ blind spots
- Maintaining a safe distance around large trucks
- Watching out for and properly responding to hazardous road conditions
- Not riding when weather conditions are unsafe
- Being especially careful around motorists making left turns
Perhaps the most important step motorcyclists can take to minimize their risk of serious injury or death in the event of an accident is to always wear a helmet. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets can reduce a motorcyclist’s risk of death by as much as 37 percent.
Tips for How Drivers Can Safely Share the Road
Drivers should remember that motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles, which makes them difficult to see, and that the driving patterns of motorcyclists and motorists differ significantly. To help prevent vehicle accidents involving motorcycles, drivers can:
- Check for motorcycles at intersections, especially before turning left
- Always use turn signals
- Give nearby motorcyclists enough room to quickly change lanes if they need to
- Increase following distance when driving behind a motorcycle — even a slight tap from behind can cause a motorcyclist to spill
- Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and observe posted speed limits
In 2009, there were about 8 million motorcycles on U.S. roadways, making it important for drivers and motorcyclists alike to work toward safely sharing the road. If a reckless driver caused your motorcycle accident or claimed the life of your loved one, contact a qualified Atlantic City injury lawyer today to learn about your legal rights.