After a brutal winter and a cold start to spring, it's finally starting to warm up in Indiana — and that means more people will be out riding motorcycles.
Traffic across the country is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels, and now is a good time to remind drivers to be alert and share the road with riders.
We all need to look out for one another
Last May, our community experienced a tragedy when a motorcyclist died in a three-vehicle crash involving two SUVs at the intersection of Teal Road and Summerfield Drive. Sadly, these types of crashes are becoming more common, and the problem will only get worse if drivers and riders don't stay vigilant about safety.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation and AAA have teamed up to help raise awareness and encourage everyone to practice safe driving habits. Over the past year, a lot of people haven't been driving as much as they normally do. As such, it's important to remember that if you haven't driven in a while, your skills might be a tad bit rusty.
Safety tips for drivers
More than 50% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle, and the other driver is almost always at fault in those fatal crashes.
To avoid causing a motorcycle crash, you should:
- Keep your speed down — If you're going too fast, you may not be able to stop quickly enough to avoid a collision with a motorcyclist at a stop, intersection, or when changing lanes.
- Give riders room — Someone operating a motorcycle may downshift or roll off the throttle to slow down, which means the bike's brake lights may not be activated to provide a visual warning that the rider is coming to a stop. For that reason, drivers should generally keep a following distance of around 3-4 seconds when traveling behind a motorcycle.
- Cut out distractions, such as cellphone use (particularly texting while driving) — Motorcycles are much smaller than other passenger vehicles, so if you're not completely focused on you're driving it can be easy to not notice them, especially at intersections and when changing lanes.
- Use your signals early and often — This is one of the most basic things everyone learns about driving, yet far too many people don't bother to activate their signals when making a turn. Turn signals let other drivers and motorcyclists know what you're doing, which allows them to adjust their driving accordingly.
- Be aware of blind spots — Before you change lanes, triple-check your mirrors and blind spots (e.g., door/roof pillars) for motorcyclists. Again, motorcycles are much smaller than your average passenger vehicle and can be easily obstructed by another vehicle, bushes, fences, bridges, and other objects. Keep in mind that it's also extremely difficult to judge how fast a motorcyclist is going, which means you should be extra careful when you're waiting to turn at an intersection or waiting to pull out into traffic from a driveway or parking lot.
Safety tips for motorcyclists include wearing a helmet and other protective gear, taking a defensive driving course, being aware of road hazards and weather conditions, and keeping motorcycles in good working condition with regular maintenance.
"Safety is important every day we ride, and Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a great time to emphasize our safety messages to drivers and riders alike," said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. "As we look forward to peak riding season, we welcome the opportunity to kick off a summer of safety in May. And remember, for those looking to get into riding, your best first ride is with a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course, on the street or on the dirt."
Our motorcycle accident lawyers fight for injured riders
At Vaughan and Vaughan, we take pride in helping injured motorcyclists recover from a bad accident.
Any motorcycle crash has the potential to turn your whole life upside down and leave you severely injured, in pain, and with piles of bills for your accident-related expenses. Under Indiana law, you have recourse to pursue damages if someone else's negligence caused your accident, and our law firm can help guide you through the process.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, we can help you get the treatment you need and fight for the compensation you deserve so that you can move forward and get your life back together. If someone you love died in a fatal motorcycle accident due to negligence, our highly skilled attorneys can also talk to you about pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Find out what the original Lafayette personal injury law firm can do for you. Contact us right away for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Indiana.