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Summer and fall are dangerous times for motorcyclists

Motorcyclists face numerous road hazards, especially from other drivers. Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings and watch for motorcycles. During the summer and early fall, motorcyclists can commonly be seen on Georgia roadways. This is a prime time for bikers to enjoy good weather and companionship on the open road, but it is also a dangerous time, especially where other drivers are concerned. It can be difficult for drivers to see smaller, faster motorcycles in traffic. Some may not be accustomed to watching out for motorcyclists sharing the roads. How serious is the risk for motorcyclists? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 137 motorcyclist fatalities in Georgia in 2014. This number was higher than the previous two years, and significantly higher than motorcyclist deaths in many other states. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motorcyclists are often seriously injured due to concussions and head trauma; neck and limb fractures, sprains or lacerations; and friction burns – also known as road rash.

How do other drivers pose a risk for bikers? Motorcyclists may easily lose control of their bike due to misjudgment or road or weather conditions. However, their biggest risk involves other drivers. Often, drivers do not look for motorcycles before turning, making a lane change or merging into traffic. Other drivers making left turns are particularly hazardous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 44 percent of multi-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles in 2013 occurred when a vehicle was turning left while a motorcycle was approaching in the opposite direction, overtaking or passing the turning vehicle.

What should drivers do to reduce the risk of causing a motorcycle accident? Drivers may reduce the chances of causing a road or highway accident with a motorcycle by taking the following safety measures:

  • Giving motorcycles a greater following distance, which allows the driver extra time to stop without colliding with the bike
  • Checking blind spots and mirrors before making a turn or lane change
  • Always using turn signals to alert motorcycles and other traffic of an intended turn or change

When drivers understand the limitations and vulnerability of motorcycles – such as how they are difficult to see in traffic and how bikers are unprotected by seatbelts and surrounding metal – they may adjust their driving accordingly and create a safer road for all to share. Motorcyclists who are injured in a crash may face lifelong complications from their injuries. If another driver is responsible, a motorcyclist may wish to discuss possible compensation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta.