With increased motorcycle ownership, the number of motorcycle accidents has increased since the early 1990s. In New Jersey, 91 motorcyclists were killed according to motorcycle accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Ninety-one percent of those killed were wearing a helmet, while nine percent were not. Even so, the NHTSA notes, “Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders.”
The NHTSA report also indicates that 28 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2011 were legally drunk, i.e. had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Thirty-four percent of those killed had a BAC of .01 or higher.
According to the Department of Law and Public Safety in New Jersey, which examined motorcyclist fatality data from 2003 to 2007, more than half of all the motorcycle accidents that occur in the state take place at intersections while more than 75 percent of motorcycle accidents occur because a motorist failing to notice the bike.
Bikers should heed these motorcycle accident statistics and take precautions to avoid serious accidents.
Precautions to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents
Because of the dangers inherent with riding a motorcycle, the Office of the Attorney General in New Jersey has guidelines for motorcyclists. All motorcyclists are required to wear a DOT-approved helmet, for example.
The following are examples of other protective gear:
- Wearing protective eyewear. This includes wearing glasses, a face shield, or goggles. Eye protection is required unless the motorcycle has a wind screen.
- Wearing protective clothing. This includes abrasion-resistant jacket and pants, boots, and gloves.
- Wearing bright-colored and reflective clothing at night. This ensures that a motorcyclist is visible to other drivers at night.
The following are pieces of advice for riding safely as provided by the Office of the Attorney General:
- Not lingering in the “blind spots” of motorists. It is critical that a motorcyclist quickly gets out of the blind spot of large vehicles like trucks.
- Riding defensively. It is better to be safe than sorry. The Attorney General’s Office advises assuming that the motorist always fails to see you and ride accordingly.
- Avoid braking or swerving abruptly especially when riding on wet roads or gravel surfaces. After all, a motorcycle’s two tires have far less traction than any other vehicle.
- Avoiding tailgating. It is a wise idea to always follow the “Four Second Rule.” This means it should take four seconds for you to reach the same place that the vehicle in front of you passed.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is not only against the law but is also an extremely dangerous practice for your personal safety.
- Never ride when tired. Riding when fatigued increases the chances of the rider making mistakes, such as when changing lanes or calculating the distance between the motorcycle and the vehicle in front before coming to a stop.
The Office of the Attorney General in New Jersey has also issued warnings for motorists to encourage them to share the road with motorcyclists. But even with these warnings and rules in place, reckless actions of motorists lead to many motorcycle accidents every year, much to society’s chagrin. It is worth noting that a motorcyclist injured in an accident caused by a motorist’s careless driving is entitled to compensation for his or her damages related to the accident.
Legal Help for Motorcycle Accident Victims in Trenton
Motorcycle accident victims in Trenton can seek legal assistance from Cordisco & Saile LLC to build their claims against the other driver. Call 215-642-2335 to set up a consultation with an attorney and get started on your case today.