Spring is just around the corner! As temperatures begin to warm, Kansas City drivers can expect to see more motorcycles back on the road. With that in mind, our Missouri personal injury lawyers want to encourage all motorists to be on the lookout for motorcycles, and to use increased caution when you're traveling near them. After all, riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so motorcycle accidents commonly result in serious, life-threatening injuries.
Motorcycle accidents: The alarming facts
• Between 1997 and 2005, motorcycle accident fatalities increased by 115%, even though fatality rates decreased for other kinds of passenger vehicles during the same time period.
• Federal data indicates that, per mile traveled, the number of motorcycle deaths in 2010 was about 30 times the number of deaths in other kinds of vehicles.
• According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, 80% of all 2011 motorcycle crashes resulted in a death. By comparison, only 36.3% of all 2011 traffic crashes proved to be fatal.
Common contributing factors in Missouri motorcycle accidents
• Poor weather or roadway conditions. Inclement weather can make motorcyclists even more difficult to see, and certain road conditions (wet roads, gravel patches, uneven pavement, etc.) can be especially perilous for motorcycle riders.
• Failing to obey traffic signs or signals. Many motorcycle accidents happen when other vehicles turn left in front of an oncoming motorcycle. It's especially important to watch for motorcyclists
• Failing to yield right of way to a motorcyclist. Sadly, many drivers simply don't treat motorcyclists with the same respect as other kinds of vehicles. Remember, motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges on the road - when you're driving near them, you should act accordingly.
• Failing to see a motorcyclist due to an obstructed view or inattention. Bikers can easily disappear into blind spots, so be sure you always look before you turn or change lanes. In addition, a disturbing number of fatal motorcycle accidents occur when other drivers are simply not paying attention and thus fail to see a motorcycle traveling near them.
• Failing to recognize a motorcycle's unique operating characteristics. Motorcycles handle differently than other kinds of vehicles, and they can be less stable when attempting to stop or turn suddenly.
To learn more about motorcycle safety in Kansas City, check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's helpful resource, "Quick Tips: Ten Things All Car & Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles." Motorcycle riders can also find some helpful information at the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program's website: the MMSP offers several resources designed to help riders deal with difficult, unpredictable situations on the road.