Motorcycles are the preferred form of transportation for thousands of people in Louisiana and across the country. Their open-air freedom and the feeling of the open road, as well as the motorcycle lifestyle, are appealing to many.
However, motorcycles are far more dangerous to drive on Louisiana roads than passenger cars and trucks. Because motorcyclists are so exposed while they ride, their injuries tend to be much more serious after a crash.
To help educate all American drivers about motorcycles and motorcycle riders, the National Safety Council has designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Be on the lookout for motorcycle safety classes near you, and in the meantime, check out these tips to stay safe on the road.
Facts About Motorcycle Accidents
In 2019, even though motorcycles only made up 0.53% of all Louisiana accidents, motorcycles were involved in 8.58% of all fatal accidents, according to Louisiana Crash Data Reports. This means that riding a motorcycle greatly increases your risk for being involved in a fatal accident.
The most common age for people involved in Louisiana motorcycle wrecks are between the ages of 20 and 35. Thankfully, over 86% of motorcyclists are wearing a helmet at the time of accident, which probably helps decrease the fatality rate. However, motorcyclists still make up a disproportionate number of Louisiana crash fatalities.
This pattern holds when we look at motorcycle crashes across the country. Motorcycles make up only 3% of all registered vehicles, but 14% of on-road fatalities. This means that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to sustain fatal injuries in a crash than those in passenger cars.
Most motorcycle accidents happen on surface streets, like city roads, local roads, or state roads. Even though interstates can be dangerous due to how fast people drive on them, most wrecks don’t happen on them. The main parishes for motorcycle wrecks in Louisiana include Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, and Calcasieu Parishes.
Motorcycle Safety Tips when Riding around Cars
If you’re riding a motorcycle, there are a number of behaviors you can adopt to ensure you’re seen by surrounding cars and trucks, making you less likely to be hit.
- Be visible by wearing bright clothing and a light-colored helmet. Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots, and always keep your headlight on, regardless of the time of day. If you can, flash your brake light before slowing down and stopping.
- Assume you’re invisible to keep yourself hyper-aware as you ride your motorcycle. Notice every detail as you ride, and drive defensively.
- Wear the right protective gear on every ride, including full-face helmets for the best protection, thick jackets of denim or leather, as well as pants, gloves, and boots that are made for riding. These garments will be made of scrape-resistant material, include shielding, and keep you comfortable on long rides.
- Stay alert on the road. Keep an eye out for changing road conditions and respond to hazards before they’re an emergency.
- Inspect your bike before every ride. A pre-ride check should include the tires’ inflation and tread, your bike’s fluids and cables, and its chassis, lights, electronics, and stands.
Car Safety Tips for Driving near Motorcycles
If you’re driving a car, be aware of motorcycles and their drivers. Think about the following points on every drive:
- Be vigilant for motorcycles and double-check your blind spots for them. Because they’re much smaller than cars, they can hide more easily in your blind spots, so double-check before making a turn or changing lanes.
- Motorcycles may be closer than they appear. It can be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed and distance. When you’re considering a turn across oncoming traffic, assume an approaching motorcycle is closer than it appears.
- Keep a safe distance from motorcycles. While this is good advice for every vehicle on the road, motorcyclists can slow down by down-shifting or rolling off the throttle, neither of which activate their brake light. Keep extra following distance behind a motorcycle, especially in heavy traffic.
- Understand why motorcycles lane shift. Shifting positions in the lane is a good way for motorcyclists to ensure they’re seen by other traffic, as well as minimize the effect of passing vehicles, wind, and road debris. In Louisiana, motorcycles have the right to the full lane—they’re not showing off or inviting you to share.
- See the person riding the motorcycle, and practice compassion. The person under the helmet could be your relative, neighbor, or friend.
What to Do If You’re a Victim of a Motorcycle Accident
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a motorcycle accident injury, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. A motorcycle crash can leave you with major, life-changing injuries, as well as pain, suffering, mounting hospital bills, and an inability to work. You need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to advocate for your needs, so you have a better chance to heal from your injuries.
The Louisiana motorcycle injury lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys have helped our clients recover $2.5 Billion over our years of law practice in Louisiana. Give us a call at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation about your case. We’re so confident we can help you find the compensation you need, we offer the G Guarantee: you won’t owe us a dime until we win your case.