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Memorial Day vs. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Each year, over 5,000 bikers are killed in traffic collisions across the United States. This tragic statistic doesn’t even include the thousands of riders who are catastrophically injured by distracted, aggressive, and reckless motorists. To combat this national epidemic, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDF) Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP) is observing Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and reminding all motorists to “Share the Road” this May.

A biker can sustain the following catastrophic injuries in a motorcycle accident:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Skull fractures
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Organ damage

The Purpose of Motorcycle Awareness Month

Over 143 Georgians were killed in motorcycle-related accidents last year, a record 6% increase from 2017. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is important for this very reason. This annual, month-long observance serves to remind all motorists to be careful when sharing the road with our two-wheeled friends.

The American Motorcyclist Association launched this awareness campaign in the early 1980s, and it has since been adopted by many state motorcycle-rights organizations and government agencies. In support of this month, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is directing people to their Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles campaign, which seeks to spread awareness about common motorcyclist riding behaviors and lists simple things drivers can do to prevent tragic fatalities.

To show his agency’s support of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, DDS Commissioner Spencer R. Moore issued the following statement: “We want to spread the word to vehicle drivers to keep an eye out of motorcyclists and to always remember to Share the Road. It is very easy to overlook a motorcycle due to their smaller size. For this reason, it is vital that we put forth extra effort in keeping watch. The best way to celebrate Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is to always wear a helmet and to support all-rider helmet laws to ensure fellow riders do the same. Wearing a helmet is imperative to the safety of our riders. Just like motorists buckling their seat belts, using a helmet can drastically increase survival rates in the event of a vehicle crash. NHTSA data estimates that helmets saved 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives in 2016, and that 809 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had work their helmets.”

Look for #MotorcycleAwarenessMonth on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The GMSP will be sharing this important message on their social media sites throughout the month. You can show your support by downloading materials and social media resources on the DDS Facebook site.

The Danger of Memorial Day

According to the IIHS, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a car crash that any other motor vehicle operator. It’s a touch ironic, or maybe intentional, but the most dangerous holiday for bikers falls on the tail end of May: Memorial Day. For the duration of this 3-day weekend, bikers will be rallying together for patriotic events and cross-country rides to honor our fallen soldiers, bring attention to American military Prisoners of War, and advocate for various veteran issues.

At the same time, many other people will be gathering together for pool parties, family barbeques, and various community observance events. In other words, we’re going to witness a devastating spike in the number of intoxicated drivers weaving along our roads and highways.

To help everyone stay safe this Memorial Day Weekend, the attorneys at Pratt Clay have compiled the following lists of safety tips for both motorists and bikers.

10 Safety Tips for Drivers:

  1. Do not operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  2. Drive defensively and don’t use cruise control.
  3. Give yourself extra travel time and avoid speeding.
  4. Put your cell phone away while you’re driving.
  5. Increase your following distance to 3-4 seconds to give a biker time to maneuver.
  6. Allow bikers space to utilize the full width of a lane at all times.
  7. Check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes.
  8. Always use a turn signal when changing lanes or merging.
  9. If you’re planning to imbibe at a party, establish a drinking limit while you’re still sober.
  10. Assign a designated driver or order an Uber ride if you plan on drinking.

10 Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:

  1. Complete a pre-trip safety check (for example, the T-CLOCs mnemonic)
  2. Do not operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  3. Ride in the middle of the lane to ensure that you’re visible to drivers.
  4. Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and appropriate safety gear.
  5. Attach reflective tape to your helmet and gear to increase visibility.
  6. Avoid weaving between vehicles or entering a driver’s blind spot.
  7. Use hand and turn signals when changing lanes or turning.
  8. Stay hydrated and carry extra water.
  9. Be mindful of fatigue (drifting, daydreaming, yawning, etc.).
  10. Obey state and local traffic laws at all times.

Injured by a Negligent Driver? Contact our Firm Today – (404) 998-5258

We hope these tips helps you have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend. However, if you’re injured by a reckless or distracted motorist, contact Pratt Clay as soon as possible. Our trial-tested legal team has been providing innovative legal services and compassionate guidance to the residents of Georgia for decades. Because we’re armed with aggressive litigation and negotiation techniques, we’ve been able to successfully recover millions of dollars settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.

Motorcycle accident survivors often struggle to afford the overwhelming scope of their injury-related expenses. If your medical bills are piling up, contact Pratt Clay at (404) 998-5258 to schedule a free consultation.