Now that the warmer months are here, motorcycles are increasingly present on the roads. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in particular are encouraging education and awareness about roadway safety in an effort to reduce the number of collisions involving motorcyclists. According to the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, an estimated 466 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents and more than 14,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2017.
Motorcyclist Safety Tips
The California Department of Motor Vehicles provides a number of tips on how motorcyclists can protect their safety on the roadways, including:
- Be visible and communicate intentions – Motorcyclists should wear bright or reflective clothing and ride in the best lane position to be seen. It is also important to use the proper signals, headlights, running lights, and brake lights.
- Maintain an adequate space cushion – It is important for motorcyclists to allow themselves enough space when following, being followed, lane splitting, passing, and being passed.
- Be aware – Keeping aware of one’s surroundings is important – cyclists should monitor vehicles in front of them and traffic approaching from behind.
- Scan the path of travel – As with all drivers, motorcyclists should look at least 10 to 15 seconds ahead.
- Be prepared to act – It is important to remain alert and know how to carry out proper collision-avoidance techniques.
In addition to driving safely, the CDMV encourages motorcyclists to wear protective clothing to reduce injuries in the case of a collision. By law, California motorcyclists are required to wear a U.S. Department of Transportation compliant helmet when riding a motorcycle. The CDVM also recommends that motorcyclists wear sturdy jackets, long pants, over-the-ankle-boots, and gloves.
Driver Awareness Tips
Motorcycle Safety Awareness month is not only about educating motorcyclists, but also about educating other drivers to be more aware. Drivers can practice safety around motorcycles by following these tips:
- Be aware of blind spots – Because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, they can be difficult to see. Motorists should be sure to double check their blind spots when turning or merging.
- Slow down behind motorcycles – Motorcyclists can be more sensitive to changes on the road and can move more quickly than other vehicles, so drivers should make sure they have proper time to react.
- Increase following distance – Leaving enough room between one’s car and a motorcycle is an important part of preventing accidents. Increasing following distance will give drivers enough time and space to react.
- Use turn signals – As always, all drivers on the road should use turn signals to help communicate their intentions.
- Be careful with left turns – Any turns can be dangerous, but drivers are often unaware of their blind spots when turning left. Taking extra caution when making a left turn can help reduce motorcycle accidents.
Contact a San Diego Motorcycle Accident Attorney
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, but motorcycle accidents happen year-round. If you have been injured in a motorcycle collision, the skilled attorneys of Martinez & Schill, LLP can help you receive compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact our San Diego personal injury lawyers today at 619-512-5995 to schedule a free consultation.