May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It’s a time for drivers and motorcyclists alike to learn how to stay safe on Michigan roadways.
At Christensen Law, we cannot emphasize the importance of Motorcycle Awareness Month enough. The most current statistics from the Michigan State Police found that 779 people died and 11,692 others were hurt in motorcycle accidents over a five-year period. That averages out to 129 people killed and 1,949 injured in motorcycle crashes per year.
Any fatality or injury is one too many. During this Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we urge you to be vigilant and support the Michigan Department of State’s Look Twice/Save a Life initiative.
Why is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Observed?
The American Motorcyclists Association launched Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in the 1980s. May was chosen because it’s the time when most U.S. states begin experiencing the warmer temperatures associated with summer — and when people ride their motorcycles most.
Motorcyclists represent one of the road’s more vulnerable users. Though they have the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists, they are not always given the same respect they are entitled to. Making matters worse is that motorcyclists lack the same protections — such as the steel frame of a vehicle, airbags, and seat belts — that other motorists enjoy. That’s a risk that riders take willingly, but it also means that they tend to suffer some of the worst injuries if a crash occurs.
Motorcycle Accident Facts
Did you know:
- Roughly 84 percent of motorcycle crashes happen on city streets. Most people assume they’re on highways.
- Most motorcycle accidents occur when drivers are turning left. Intersections are the most dangerous places for motorcyclists to be. They are smaller and narrower than other vehicles and easily missed if drivers don’t check carefully.
- Drivers can’t hear motorcycles. The idea that all bikes sound like freight trains is a misconception. Many motorcycles are about as loud as the average car, which means drivers can’t rely on their hearing to detect them.
- You can’t always tell when a motorcycle is slowing down. Downshifting does not activate the brake lights, which is why drivers must keep their distance from motorcycles.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
Here are some ways to stay safe if you’re a motorcyclist in Michigan:
- Wear a Department of Transportation-approved motorcycle helmet.
- Invest in motorcycle safety gear, such as heavy-duty riding pants, gloves, shirts, boots, and goggles.
- Always assume that drivers can’t see you. You’re more difficult to see, even when drivers faithfully check their blind spots.
- Exercise caution at intersections.
- Use hand signals. Raise your left arm before making a right turn. Hold your left arm out straight before taking a left. Indicate that you are stopping by holding your left arm down.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Michigan law does not consider a motorcycle a “motor vehicle.” As a result, your ability to recover compensation under the state’s no-fault insurance laws only applies if another driver hits you. However, you may have other avenues for compensation, depending on the facts of your case. An experienced Michigan motorcycle accident attorney from Christensen Law can explain all of your options in a free consultation. Call or contact us now.