May’s arrival brings with it warmer weather and that means motorcycle enthusiasts are getting their bikes out of storage and taking to the roads. These increased number of motorcycles, unfortunately, means that there will also be more motorcycle crashes and tragic deaths. Last year, 107 victims were killed in motorcycle accidents on Virginia’s roads, a 50 percent increase from the year before.
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and Virginia law enforcement are encouraging awareness and education on roadway safety with the goal of reducing the number of accidents and victims. And from now until November, Virginia State Police are offering Ride 2 Save Lives motorcycle safety courses. The courses are for intermediate and experienced riders and focus on honing motorcyclists’ safety practices. Some of the topics include interstate highway riding, negotiating curves, picking up a downed motorcycle, as well as motorcycle maintenance.
The free courses will be held one Saturday each month at different locations throughout the state. More details, as well as enrollment information, can be found on the state police website.
Motorcyclist and Vehicle Driver Responsibilities
Both motorcyclists and other vehicle drivers have a responsibility on how they behave and act on the road. However motorcycle operators, because their vehicles are smaller than cars and SUVs, face far greater dangers then persons inside cars or SUVs, despite the fact that motorcyclists enjoy all the privileges and benefits of operators of cars. Motorcyclists should adhere to the following safe driving behaviors:
- Stay aware of what is going on around you. Keep an eye on the vehicle in front of you and those approaching from behind at all times.
- Keep enough space between you and other vehicles. This allows you room if another vehicle is following you or passes you. It also allows you to safely pass or follow vehicles.
- Make sure you are scanning the path in front of you by at least 10 to 15 seconds.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing whenever you are riding and drive in the best lane position possible in order to stay visible to other drivers. Always make sure to use your turn signals and that all of your lights – headlights, brake lights, and running lights – are in good working order.
- Always be prepared to act quickly to implement collision-avoidance maneuvers.
Other vehicle drivers should always be aware they may be sharing the road with a motorcycle at any time and adhere to the following safe driving behaviors:
- Keep in mind at all times that your vehicle has blind spots and since motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles, they are harder to see. Always double check these spots when merging or turning.
- When you are behind a motorcycle, make sure to leave enough room between the bike and your vehicle. You also want to slow down in order to give the motorcyclists enough room and time to react if something comes up down the road.
- Use caution when taking left-hand turns. One of the most dangerous – and most frequent – causes of motorcycle accidents is a vehicle driver taking a left turn, cutting in front of the motorcycle traveling the other way.
Contact a Skilled Va. Injury Attorney Today
Some of the most frequent injuries that clients of a Virginia motorcycle accident attorney suffer include brain injuries, broken bones, paralysis, and spinal trauma. Our accident attorneys understand that the injuries motorcycle accident victims sustain often leave them with permanent disabilities that not only create physical limitations but also result in significant financial losses.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident this year, it is critical not to delay contacting the legal team at Shapiro & Appleton because Virginia injury laws have strict rules regarding how long you have to file your personal injury claim. If the statute of limitations expires, you will be unable to collect financial damages for any medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, or any other losses you or your family may be entitled to.