According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths caused by motorcycle accidents have increased by 55% since 2000. In 2010 alone, motorcycle crashes killed over 4,500 people. Preventing serious injury and death from motorcycle accidents is a growing concern across the nation. With warm summer weather, more motorcyclists are hitting the road, and it’s important to know these motorcycle safety tips to keep everyone safe.
1. Wear a Helmet. According to the CDC, 41% of motorcycle operators and 50% of motorcycle passengers who died in 2010 were not wearing a helmet. While helmets are not required for motorcyclists ages 21 and up in the state of South Carolina, they are strongly recommended to prevent serious injuries in the event of an accident. Riders without helmets are twice as likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries and face higher healthcare costs after a crash than those who wear helmets. Unhelmeted riders are 40% more likely to die from a traumatic brain injury than someone wearing a helmet.
2. Never Ride Under the Influence. A motorcycle is a vehicle; if you are caught riding a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will face the same consequences as if you were behind the wheel of a car. Riding while intoxicated puts you and the motorists around you at risk, as it hinders your ability to balance, read road signs, and react appropriately to your surroundings.
3. Be Careful on Rural Roads. More people are killed on rural roads now than ever before. About half of all crashes take place on rural roads. As a motorcyclist, always be careful when maneuvering sharp curves, steep hills, and rough roads. Slow down in unfamiliar areas and travel along brightly-lit roads at night, if possible.
4. Obey all Speed Limits and Traffic Laws. According to the CDC, most people who die in motorcycle accidents are riding sport motorcycles with mid-size engines designed to maximize speed and agility. All too often, motorcyclists succumb to their need for speed and end up losing control. Keep an eye out for speed limits, stop signs, and traffic lights, and be mindful around curves and winding roads.
5. Get Regular Inspections. It’s important to make sure your motorcycle is in good working order before you hit the road. While not all states require regular inspections, it is highly recommended to have a professional mechanic take a look at your bike to check for any irregularities or wear and tear. Make sure your brakes, lights, and engine are all operating properly before riding anywhere.
For more information on preventing motorcycle-related injuries, visit CDC.gov. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, seek medical attention immediately. To understand your rights as an injured motorcyclist, contact the Charleston personal injury attorneys at Steinberg Law Firm for a free consultation.