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May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 1, 2024 by Steven M. Gursten

May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the perfect time to make everyone aware of how dangerous it is for motorcyclists on the nation’s roadways. Nationally, motorcyclist deaths went up nearly 5% from one year to the next. And in Michigan, motorcyclist fatalities shot up nearly 30% over a five-year period.

It’s time to take action.

For their part, motorcyclists – whether they are driving or riding as passengers – should all wear helmets at all times. Although some states – including Michigan – have done away with their universal helmet laws, the fact is that helmets save lives. Research shows they are 37% effective at preventing motorcycle operator fatalities.

Motorists – i.e., the drivers of cars and trucks – play a huge role in motorcycle safety. The top steps they can take to keep motorcycle riders and passengers safe include: (1) Being alert for the presence of motorcycles, (2) always check their blind spots before turning or changing lanes, (3) don’t follow motorcycles too closely, (4) be careful at intersections, and (5) no distracted driving.

National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month means sharing statistics on motorcycle accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2022:

  • 6,218 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes (15% of all traffic fatalities), up 4.8% from 5,932 in 2021.
  • The fatality rate for motorcyclists was 22 times higher than the passenger car occupant fatality rate (per 100 million vehicle miles traveled)
  • 35% of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 22% of all passenger car drivers (riders 21 to 24 years old had the highest speeding involvement at 51%)
  • Of the 2,254 motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes, 42% were alcohol-impaired
  • Motorcycle helmet use increased among motorcycle riders from 64.9% in 2021 to 66.5% in 2022, and among motorcycle riders with passengers from 52.1% in 2021 to 58.3% in 2022 (an encouraging development)

 According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts

  • There were 3,158 motorcycle-involved crashes in Michigan in 2022, up 19.2% from 2,648 in 2018.
  • There were 173 motorcyclists who were killed in crashes in Michigan in 2022, up 29.1% from 134 in 2021.
  • There were 2,466 motorcyclists injured in crashes in Michigan in 2022, up 14.5% from 2,160 in 2021.

What is the Michigan motorcycle helmet law?

Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law generally requires motorcycle operators and riders to wear a crash helmet. However, operators and riders who are 21 or older can go without a helmet if insurance and licensing requirements are met.

Even if you go without a helmet, you are still required to wear protective eyewear (goggles, etc.) if you are traveling at more than 35 mph and your motorcycle is not equipped with a windshield.

This Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month we advise all motorcyclists to wear both a crash helmet and protective eyewear under all circumstances.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month allows us to provide statistics on why you should wear a helmet while riding

It wouldn’t be National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month without reiterating the importance of wearing a motorcycle helmet while riding. Wearing a crash helmet saves lives. NHTSA has estimated that they are 37% percent effective in preventing motorcycle operator deaths and 41% effective at saving the lives of motorcycle passengers.

A one-year study by NHTSA showed the motorcycle helmets saved the lives of 1,872 of motorcyclists nationwide, and could have saved 749 more if all motorcyclists had been wearing helmets.

Similarly, a one-year study by NHTSA showed that helmets  saved 46 motorcyclists’ lives and could have saved 27 more if there had been 100% helmet use by all motorcyclists. 

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month offers us the opportunity to share what motorcyclists can do to stay safe on the road

With it being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month our attorneys provided the following safety measures below that motorcycle riders can take to minimize their chances of being struck and injured by a car or truck: 

  • Always wear a helmet 
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Do not speed
  • Be visible (always ride with your lights on)
  • Ride defensively (watch the cars and trucks around you; never assume they see you)
  • Stay focused on the task of riding and do not get distracted
  • Watch for roadway debris and objects
  • Avoid the center lane
  • Be extra careful in bad weather
  • Maintain your bike properly and schedule regular maintenance checks
  • Follow the rules of the road and use good driving judgment
  • Wear protective eyewear (even if not required by law)

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In other words, the best way to avoid being injured in a motorcycle accident is to take steps to decrease the risk.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month provides us an opporutunity to share what can drivers do to help keep motorcyclists safe

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is the perfect time to remind drivers of cars and trucks to be aware of the motorcyclists with whom they share the road and to take the following steps to keep motorcyclists safe:  

  • Remain alert and watch for motorcycles
  • Always check your blind spots before changing lanes, merging or turning (crucial blind spots are on both sides of a car or truck approximately parallel to the driver or front seat passenger and near the rear of a car or truck)
  • Keep in mind that motorcycles can be easily obscured by objects or backgrounds, especially during lane changes
  • Don’t follow too closely – Maintain a safe clear distance when approaching a motorcycle from behind as motorcyclists often slow down by downshifting or easing off the throttle without activating a brake light
  • Be extra careful at intersections
  • Be careful when turning so as not to cut off a motorcyclist or to turn left in front of a motorcycle that has the right of way
  • Do not drive while distracted
  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Note that a motorcycle’s turn signal might not automatically cancel after a turn (do not assume the motorcyclist is turning)
  • Allow motorcyclists the necessary space to adjust their lane position for better visibility or to avoid hazards like debris, wind, or other vehicles (do not perceive it as reckless behavior)
  • Remember that because of their smaller size, motorcycles might appear further away and their speed is harder to judge

What to do if I’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident

Since May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month our lawyers wanted to recommend the following important steps to take after you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident: 

  • Call 911 and contact the police (to file a “Traffic Crash Report”)
  • Seek medical treatment and care
  • Report all of your injuries to medical personnel (and make sure your injuries are documented in the medical records) 
  • Never give statements or sign releases presented to you by an insurance adjuster – without first talking to your lawyer
  • Never sign anything presented to you by an insurance adjuster – without first talking to your lawyer
  • File a No-Fault benefits application with your auto insurance company
  • Obtain a copy of your police report
  • Attend all medical appointments
  • Keep good records
  • Check you auto insurance policy
  • Get help from an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who specializes exclusively in handling cases like yours

By following these steps, you can avoid more serious, long-term injuries and get yourself on the road to recovery.

Should I call a lawyer if I’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident?

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who focuses his or her practice exclusively on handling cases like yours. Motorcycle accidents are very different from other types of personal injury cases. Your lawyer needs to have the experience, skill, and “know how” to get you the best possible settlement as quickly as possible.

When the insurance company tries to deny your claim or cut-off your auto No-Fault benefits by sending you for a cursory examination by one of the insurance company’s “hired gun” doctors, your lawyer will be there to stop this and make sure that you recover all of your medical benefits and wage loss reimbursements that you’re entitled to under the Michigan No-Fault law.

Here are a few recent settlements that our dedicated and experienced motorcycle accident lawyers have won for our clients:

  • $6.2 Million – Our attorneys settled a wrongful death case involving a negligent driver causing the death of a motorcyclist. The defense’s initial settlement offer was $400,000.
  • $1.25 Million – Our attorneys obtained this pre-suit settlement in Kent County for a motorcyclist who suffered severe injuries as a result of a collision caused by a motorist who failed to yield the right of way.
  • $1.25 Million – Our attorneys settled this case pre-litigation for the full policy limits of the at-fault driver who negligently turned left in front of a motorcyclist.
  • $1.25 Million – This settlement for full policy limits involved a crash caused by a motorist who drove into a motorcyclist after having failed to stop at a “Stop” sign.
  • $1.1 Million – Our attorneys settled a case for a victim who had been wrongfully denied attendant care benefits by the insurance company.
  • $1 Million – Our attorneys settled this case for a motorcyclist who suffered a neck injury, a left knee dislocation with an ACL tear, and a mild traumatic brain injury.

Injured in a motorcycle accident? Call the motorcycle accident attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you have questions about what to do after you were injured when a car or truck crashed into the motorcycle you were riding on, call now at (888) 857-9250 for a free consultation with one of our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers. There is no cost or obligation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.

Michigan Auto Law is Michigan’s largest and most successful law firm that specializes exclusively in helping people who have been injured in motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents.

Our secret? Our attorneys deliberately handle fewer cases than other personal injury law firms.  This allows us to focus more time and attention on our cases.

Unlike other law firms, our attorneys are never too busy to promptly return phone calls and answer questions. 

We have more than 2,000 5-Star reviews that reflect this care and attention to detail.

More importantly, this client-focused approach leads to better and faster settlements for our clients. Michigan Auto Law has recovered more million-dollar settlements and trial verdicts for motor vehicle accidents than any other lawyer or law firm in Michigan. We’ve also recovered the highest ever reported truck accident and car accident settlement in the state.

Call now so we can start making a real difference for you.

(Sources: NHTSA, Traffic Safety Marketing, Safety Topics, “Motorcycle Safety”; Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, Fact Sheets, “Motorcycles” 2018 and 2022; NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, 2021 Data, “Motorcycles” (published 2023); NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, Crash-Stats, “Lives and Costs Saved by Motorcycle Helmets”)

May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

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