May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month—here's what you can do to keep riders safe
As exhilarating as it is to ride a motorcycle, it can also be very dangerous. When you ride a motorcycle, you are more vulnerable compared to someone in an enclosed passenger vehicle that's equipped with safety features such as seat belts and airbags. That's why the injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents can be so severe.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,014 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2019. To help put a spotlight on the issue, traffic safety officials in Tennessee and throughout the U.S. have declared May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents
Due to their smaller size and low profile, motorcycles can be difficult to spot by inattentive drivers. And while there are some things motorcyclists can do to protect themselves from a wreck, their safety mostly depends on the actions of other drivers. Common ways other drivers contribute to or cause motorcycle accidents include:
- Speeding - When drivers of other vehicles speed and collide with motorcycles, the results are tragic. With basically no protection from the motorcycle itself, the rider often takes the brunt of the impact in a crash. And the faster a vehicle is going at the time of the crash, the more violent the collision will be. Your margin for error goes down as your speed increases, and if you drive too fast, you may not see a motorcyclist in time to prevent an accident.
- Left-hand turns - One of the most dangerous scenarios for motorcyclists is when other drivers are attempting to make a left turn, especially at intersections. Before you make your turn, be sure to use your turn signal and triple-check your blind spots for motorcycles.
- Following too closely. Since they are smaller and weigh less than the average passenger vehicle, motorcycles don't need as much time to slow down or come to a stop. Tailgating motorcyclists is never safe. It's common for riders to downshift instead of using the bike's brakes, and that means the bike's taillights won't provide a signal to those following behind that they need to also slow down. In a rear-end collision with a motorcycle, you put the rider at risk of being ejected from the bike and being run over.
Tennessee motorcycle laws
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, the state's motorcycle laws include:
- Motorcyclists must activate their bike's headlights while riding, even during the daytime.
- Unless a motorcycle is equipped with a windshield, riders must wear eye protection.
- A safety helmet must be worn.
- Lane splitting is illegal.
- If you have a passenger, the motorcycle must have seating and a footrest for that passenger.
Talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney today
A motorcycle accident can leave you with severe, life-altering injuries. Treatment can be expensive, and medical bills stack up fast. That's why you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible if you were injured in a motorcycle accident and it was not your fault. Let us take care of your case while you take care of yourself.
At the Law Office of Eric Beasley, Inc., we have more than 20 years of experience fighting for accident victims in Nashville and throughout Middle Tennessee. Attorney Eric Beasley knows what it takes to win tough cases and fight for the compensation you deserve.
We also offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis. That means you don't need to pay any money upfront, and we don't get paid unless we win your case. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation to find out more.