Manhattan and all of the literary community is mourning the loss of feminist writer, activist and Ms. Magazine founder, Mary Thom, who was killed recently when her motorcycle was struck by a car.
May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and per the directive of the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, our New York City motorcycle accident attorneys want to urge all drivers of cars, buses, trucks and other motor vehicles to remember to share the road as the spring riding season begins. Thom’s untimely death is a sharp and painful reminder of why this is so critically important.
While there have been historical drops in overall automobile fatalities, motorcycle deaths are the one area in which we have failed to see a decline. In fact, such deaths have increased each year for the last 14 years – save for one blip in 2009.
An essential part of ensuring motorcycle safety is continuing to drive home the point that other motor vehicle operators need to be more cognizant of the fact that motorcycles are everywhere – and they have every right to share the road.
In the recently-released motorcycle fatality report, which details 2011 statistics, the NHTSA reports that nearly 4,615 motorcyclists died on the nation’s roads. That was a 2 percent increase over the number killed the previous year.
To give you an idea of the scope of the problem, motorcyclists made up just 3 percent of all vehicles on the road and yet motorcyclists comprise 14 percent of all traffic fatalities.
When we start to compare the risk in terms of per vehicle mile traveled, a motorcyclist is 30 times more likely to be killed in a crash than someone in a car. He is also five times more likely to be injured.
The primary cause of death in motorcycle crashes is head injury.
In order to tackle this increasing problem, the NHTSA recommends drivers heed the following advice:
- Avoid distracted driving. This is a good rule in general, but it’s especially important when you’re sharing the road with motorcyclists, who may not be as readily visible as someone in a larger vehicle.
- Give motorcyclists space. They should have a full lane width. It might seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for both your vehicle and the bike, but that motorcyclist needs that space to be able to safely maneuver.
- Signal your intentions – always. That includes for lane change or traffic merges or turning. You’ll be giving motorcyclists an opportunity to anticipate their response and find a safe position.
- Always check for motorcyclists in your mirrors before you switch lanes or turn.
- Bear in mind that while certain road conditions may be nothing more than an annoyance for you – rain, railroad crossings, potholes, gravel or pavement that’s grooved could pose major safety hazards to motorcyclists. Give them enough time and space to react safely – and quickly, if necessary.
- Understand that turn signals on motorcycles aren’t always self-canceling, so you may need to take your time in assessing a motorcyclist’s intention before changing lanes or turning.
- Even though a motorcycle is smaller than the average vehicle on the road, consider providing a greater following distance. That allows the driver enough time to stop or swerve in an emergency.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
NHTSA Reminds Motorists to Safely ‘Share the Road’ with Motorcyclists, May 6, 2013, Press Release, NHTSA
More Blog Entries:
Distracted Driving Warnings Have Little Impact on Curbing Behavior, April 22, 2013, New York City Motorcycle Accident lawyer Blog