The month of May is national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. With motorcycle-related fatalities on the rise, Californians need to take this message on the road.
Since 2010, the number of motorcyclists who die each year on California roads has increased. In 2012, fatalities rose 15 percent, taking the lives of 435 people. Even as motorcyclists and bicyclists are drawn outside by the natural beauty of California, the very vehicles that allow them to enjoy that beauty also put them at heightened risk of horrific injury in an accident. Motorcyclists and bicyclists have no physical protection from the elements, the road or from other vehicles.
The message of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is “Share the Road.” Motorcyclists and bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities of other motorists — including the right-of-way and the right to a full lane.
Consider the following motorcycle safety tips from the California Department of Motor Vehicles:
- Watch — Watch out for motorcyclists in or near your lane. Because they drive low-profile vehicles, motorcyclists are easily lost in traffic. Serious accidents occur when cars unknowingly merge into lanes already occupied by a motorcyclist. When parked, check over your shoulder for motorcyclists before opening your door into traffic.
- Avoid — Hazards like slick roads, road seams and road damage can cause a biker to lose balance and fall. Maintain a four-second following distance to ensure you can avoid a motorcyclist who may stop suddenly.
- Safety at intersections — Intersections are hazardous for all drivers, and especially for motorcyclists and bicyclists. Keep an eye on all traffic when approaching or moving through an intersection or traffic circle. Other motorists often underestimate motorcycle speed and make left turns in front of motorcyclists who cannot stop suddenly to avoid an accident.
The rate of motorcycle and bicycle fatalities is rising across the nation. In Southern California, remember to share the road throughout the year — not just in May. Consult a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options if you are hurt in a motorcycle accident in San Diego.