Warmer weather marks the start of riding season for motorcyclists in New York.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It is a good time to refocus on safety practices while riding a motorcycle, whether on New York City streets or in rural areas of upstate New York.
New York has nearly 350,000 registered motorcycles. Yet many motorists are not alert for two wheeled vehicles on the roads, and their failure to see motorcyclists leads to collisions. Because a motorcycle rider is not enclosed in passenger compartment, the potential for being seriously injured in a wreck remains high.
Motorcycle accidents in New York City accounted for nearly a third of the total motorcycle crashes in the state.
Motorcycle crashes claimed the lives of 170 people across the entire state during each of the last three years from 2011 through 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Motorcycle accidents accounted for one out of seven New York traffic fatalities in 2013. Fatal motorcycle accidents involve riders of all ages.
New York law requires motorcyclists to wear helmets, which offer protection during a crash and can prevent a rider from suffering a traumatic brain injury or fatal head injury. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash by 37 percent, the federal government estimates.
The federal agency reports an average of about 90 lives saved each year at the current rate of helmet use and an average of six lives that could have been saved each year if 100 percent of riders had been helmeted.
The state is putting a comprehensive highway safety plan into place to cut down on crashes.
Even with these steps being taken, the responsibility lies with all motorists to drive safely and share the road to avoid motorcycle crashes. As lawyers who assist injured riders, we see the tragic results when other motorists drive carelessly.
When a motorcycle accident is caused through the fault of another motorist, a motorcyclist may be entitled to compensation to cover medical bills and other losses. May is an excellent time to renew your focus on driving safely and avoiding accidents.