Nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in 2015, an 8.3 percent spike over the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
And according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), eight million motorcycles are registered in this country. On a per-mile basis, motorcyclists are almost 16 times more likely than those in a car to suffer fatal injuries in an accident.
The truth is that as a biker, you are vulnerable, and there are important steps you can take to protect your safety.
Helmets can help to prevent many injuries
If you ride a motorcycle, we do recommend that you wear a helmet for safety reasons. Making sure that your helmet is safe and functional is an important way to avoid serious injuries. A helmet is the best hope for protecting your brain in an accident.
Your helmet should fit comfortably and snugly and be fastened properly. Stick with helmets with the DOT label, which means that they conform to federal standards. A helmet with a mask is also recommended by the NHTSA because it will offer protection from wind, rain, insects and stones thrown up by cars. Goggles are better than just wearing glasses, officials say, because glasses won’t keep your eyes from watering and can easily fall off.
That said, helmets only do so much. They only prevent injuries to the head or brain, and they may not even prevent every brain injury depending on the direction and force of impact. Experienced motorcyclists know that they need to do more to protect themselves.
Some other safety tips
Arms and legs should be covered when riding a motorcycle, ideally by wearing leather or heavy denim. Along with providing protection in a crash, proper clothing helps to prevent dehydration. Brightly colored choices with reflective material will make you more visible in traffic. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles. Gloves will allow for a better grip and help protect your hands.
Other suggestions to stay safe on the road:
- Don't split lanes - A motorcycle should take up an entire lane, just like a passenger car. Don't take advantage of your bike's smaller width to ride on a line or share a lane with a larger vehicle – this can lead to serious accidents.
- Ride defensively in urban areas - Be alert for cars entering lanes or changing lanes, as well as car doors opening in your path. And keep headlights on at all times. The majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes are caused when other drivers simply didn’t see a biker.
No amount of safety precautions can protect you from a motorist's negligence
At Pajcic & Pajcic, we strongly recommend taking safety precautions while riding, and in our experience, most motorcyclists are already following that advice. The truth is that the majority of Florida motorcyclists are safe, responsible operators, but they are vulnerable to the negligence of drivers. Helmets and other protective gear may prevent some injuries, but they can't stop you from being hit by an irresponsible motorist in the first place. Whether you were wearing protective gear or not at the time of your crash, you have legal rights, and the driver who caused your injuries needs to be held accountable.
Any motorcyclist involved in an accident should seek medical attention. In minor head injury cases, rest and medication might be required. But in more severe brain injury cases, the patient might require surgery, cognitive rehabilitation and physical therapy. The long-term impact of such an injury can be massive, and you need your own advocate to help you put your life back together. That's why it's so important to contact an experienced attorney who knows how to fight for injured motorcyclists.
An experienced Jacksonville motorcycle accident attorney can discuss further options. If you have been injured, you may be entitled to compensation for any losses incurred after a motorcycle accident. Pajcic & Pajcic proudly serve Jacksonville and the surrounding area, and we have notable case results to prove it. We have successfully recovered more compensation than the insurance companies were originally willing to pay, including a $902,000 verdict and a settlement totaling $1,250,000.