Preventing Motorcycle Accident Fatalities
According to preliminary data, the total number of people killed in motorcycle accidents is on the rise in the state of Florida and across the US, despite numerous safety campaigns. Some officials blame a lack of helmet laws, a long-debated topic among bikers and safety officials.
Motorcycle Death Statistics
Motorcycle traffic fatalities have increased in 14 out of the last 15 years. Department of transportation (DOT) data, conclusive through September 2012, confirms just under 4,000 fatalities nationwide in the 9 month span. Final counts to round out 2012 are expected to exceed 5,000. From 2005 to 2012, traffic fatalities decreased each year while motorcycle deaths experienced an opposite trend. Warm weather states tend to be the epicenters for motorcycle deaths, as they attract more year-round riders. As of September 2012, the three states with the most motorcycle accident related fatalities are:
1. Texas – 358
2. California – 318
3. Florida – 287
4 Tips to Help Prevent Motorcycle Fatalities:
Following the tips listed below can significantly increase a motorcyclist’s chances of survival.
1. Wear a Helmet: Every mile travelled by motorcycle exposes the rider to a mortality rate 30x higher than riding in a car. A helmet reduces the chances of death by nearly 40%. Full head helmets offer more protection, though a rider’s face and forehead remain susceptible to injury.
2. Practice: Take rider training courses or refresher courses and rehearse basic evasive maneuvers on your bike. If you buy a new motorcycle, start the process over and instill muscle memory. A bigger, heavier, or tighter model will feel drastically different during abrupt emergency reactions. Get trained and get used to how a new bike behaves under stress.
3. Ride Defensively: Consider defensive driving tactics and apply them tenfold. Assume that the driver in the other car does not see you and be conscious of ways of making yourself visible to drivers. Bikers must also maintain a safe following distance and let other drivers who seem to be in a hurry pass. If you plan to change lanes, be sure to signal and look prior to doing so. If you are unable to look, DON’T TURN or change lanes. A bike’s side-view mirrors alone don’t always capture the full picture. Furthermore, never drink and ride because impaired riding increases fatality rates by nearly 60%.
4. Make Eye Contact: If you’re obeying step number one and wearing a tinted visor, other drivers can’t see your eyes. However, you can still make visual contact. When waiting to cross an intersection, make eye contact with the driver waiting in cross-traffic before you proceed. You will know when he/she looks back at you, even if your eyes aren’t visible. When in doubt, pause and let the other driver wave you on. When it’s safe to do so, glance over your shoulder before changing lanes (see also #3). Getting into this habit will help make it easy to make brief eye contact. That split second of contact can be enough to let the other driver know you’re about to move over. Many people will even slow down or change lanes away from you to allow you more room to change lanes safely.