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Motorcycle safety: a focus of Fort Campbell and Kentucky groups

As the month of May kicked off, the Fort Campbell Courier drew attention to the increasing number of motorcycle fatalities Armywide. As of the end of April, there were 13 fatal motorcycle accidents, two involved Fort Campbell soldiers. Compared with the same time last year, this year there were four additional motorcycle-related deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designated May as "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month." The Kentucky Motorcycle Association also reminds Kentucky motorists to share the road and watch for motorcycles as the weather warms and more bikes take to the roads.

Nationwide, the number of motorcycle crashes has increased over the past few years. In 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available, almost 5,000 motorcyclists died in crashes and 93,000 suffered injuries. Even with the recent increase in accidents, helmet use is down. The NHTSA estimates that helmets could save many lives each year.

Staying safe on the road

The number one tip for staying safe on a motorcycle is to wear a helmet. A properly fitted helmet can reduce the chance of permanent brain injury. Some designer helmets do not offer adequate protection; look for a helmet that meets DOT and/or the even more rigorous Snell standards.

Several other safety tips for motorcyclists include:

  • Wear protective gear, quality leathers reduce the chance of injury and some leather boots even come reinforced with Kevlar to protect ankles and legs
  • Use turn signals for every lane change or turn
  • Avoid blind spots while on highways
  • Never drive while impaired or distracted

All drivers need to realize that motorcycles - sport bikes, cruisers and 3-wheel trikes, to name a few popular types - are returning to the streets as the weather improves. Drivers must check blind spots closely before changing lanes and leave extra following distance behind bikes because they may can stop more quickly than other vehicles.

Negligence of other drivers

A car or truck driver who runs a red light and crashes with a motorcycle while impaired can seriously injure the individual on the motorcycle. Without the same steel frame and numerous airbags, riders are more susceptible to catastrophic injuries. The negligence of a motorist can have much more serious results.

Generalizations about the driving behaviors of motorcycle riders may prejudice an accident investigation. A motorist may claim that a motorcycle cut in or failed to signal. A review of Smartphone records, however, may show that the motorist was actually distracted and missed seeing the rider.

Following an accident, the other driver will rarely admit being distracted or impaired. After a serious motorcycle crash, your focus must be on recovery. A personal injury attorney can assist with investigating the cause of the accident, negotiating with insurance companies and/or bringing a case to trial, if warranted.

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