Many motorcyclists have been revving up their engines for months, waiting for the first sign that warm weather was here to get out after a long winter during a pandemic. As eager and ready as these riders were to hit the roads this Spring, drivers of other motor vehicles need to now be prepared to share the road.
Every year, thousands of motorcycle riders and their passengers lose their lives to preventable accidents on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (I.I.H.S.), there were a total of 5,014 motorcycle fatalities reported in 2019, accounting for 14 percent of all motor vehicle deaths across the country for that year. While some of these fatal accidents involved only the motorcycles, 56% of the reported deaths resulted from accidents involving other cars and trucks sharing the roads- vehicles that could easily overpower a motorcycle in any situation.
May is the unofficial start of motorcycle season and the official beginning of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. To help protect the lives of all motorcycle riders on the road, Connecticut drivers must do their due diligence to be educated, stay alert, and safely share the roads this season.
Motorcycle Crashes in Connecticut
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, traffic on Connecticut roadways was significantly reduced but according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), riskier motorcycle riding occurred during 2020 which resulted in an increase in motorcycle deaths in Connecticut.
Statistics from the DOT reported that the preliminary death toll for 2020 stands at 56, a more than 20% increase from the year before. “The majority of these fatal crashes were single vehicle crashes caused by speed and alcohol,” according to Nick Just, who guides the DOT’s Connecticut Rider Education Program.
Connecticut Deaths from Motorcycle Accidents (Statistics reported by DOT)
- 2020: 56 Deaths
- 2019: 46 Deaths
- 2018: 49 Deaths
Speed was the leading contributing factor in 2020 due to traffic volume on the roads being low during the lockdown.
Why Motorcycles Are So Dangerous
Motorcycle riders love the feeling of freedom when on their bikes. Unfortunately, this experience leaves them with little protection in the case of an accident. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) reports that 80 percent of motorcycle accidents end in serious injuries and fatalities. Motorcycles crashes are far more dangerous than other motor vehicle accidents for several reasons, including:
- Ejections: Most riders who are in an accident are ejected from their bike and sustain catastrophic and fatal injuries from the impact.
- Occupant Protection: There are no airbags, seatbelts, doors, windows or a roof to keep riders contained and protected in a crash.
- Two Wheels: Cars and trucks have four plus wheels that make these vehicles more stable than motorcycles who are operating on only two.
- Maneuverability: Though motorcycles are not as stable, they can change positions quickly and swiftly, causing drivers to easily hit them if they are not staying alert.
Most Common Motorcycle Injuries
When motorcyclists are injured in a crash, their injuries are rarely minor. Riders can suffer a range of injuries to the head, back, legs, arms, and torso all from the same accident, such as:
- traumatic head injuries
- spinal cord damage
- broken bones and fractures
- muscle damage
- internal organ injuries
- skin and nerve damage
Depending on the angle and level of trauma inflicted on the body during an accident, motorcyclists can sustain injuries that leave them with permanent disabilities such as brain damage or paralysis. In other cases, injuries are so traumatic that riders succumb to them completely. When a rider is injured or killed in an accident, their lives or the lives of their loved ones will never be the same. Catastrophic injuries lead to a plethora of consequences financially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and socially- and all from preventable accidents.
For Drivers: How to Share The Road
If you haven’t been paying attention to motorcycles on the road, now is the time to start. May to September is the busiest season for motorcycles. Following these simple safety tips from a leading insurance company. Every time you are on the road can help you save lives and protect riders from unnecessary injuries:
- Maintain space: Use the 4-second rule when keeping distance between you and a motorcycle to provide ample time to stop or monitor their movements.
- Know the weather: If your car is having trouble on slippery roads, motorcycles are having an even harder time. Understand how weather conditions affect motorcycle riders to anticipate their movements.
- Check your mirrors: Never do a blind turn or lane change- ever. Look before you turn, change lanes, enter/exit a highway, or pass any vehicles. Know the right of way laws so you do not make a fatal error in an intersection.
- Check your blind spots: Motorcycles naturally fit directly into a car's blind spot. Know this fact and make sure you are checking your blind spot every time you make a move.
For Riders: How to Stay Safe
We know you like to ride carefree, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be careful. If you are licensed and trained to ride, another leading insurance company has some excellent safety recommendations to help keep you safe on the road:
- Wear your helmet: Despite what some believe, a helmet does matter. Helmets reduce the chance for fatal head injuries up to 37 percent and serious head injuries up to 67 percent according to I.I.H.S.
- Wear protective gear: Wearing protective clothing can help reduce the risk of burns and skin damage from the road in an accident.
- Know the traffic rules: Following the traffic rules will prevent you from getting into an accident caused by drivers who are paying attention. If your actions are easier to predict, it is easier for them to see you coming.
- Ride defensively: Don’t assume other vehicles see you or where you are going. Make your presence known.
- Stay awake and sober: It’s even more dangerous to ride drowsy than drunk than it is to drive a vehicle- don’t take the chance.
- Be prepared: Make sure your bike is in working condition to avoid maintenance issues on the road. Essential functions to check include tires, lights, signals, brakes, clutch and throttle, mirrors, and horn.
We want you to enjoy a safe and happy riding season. For more information on safe riding resources in your area, visit the Department of Transportation’s website for class and statistics about motorcycle in Connecticut.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by the negligence of another, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys for a FREE case evaluation on (203) 332-7700