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McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, PA

Hitting the road on a motorcycle? Read this first.

If you are a motorcycle rider, you get why people want to do it. There is freedom found on a motorcycle that is unmatched compared to that offered by cars and trucks.  There are benefits to being out on the open road on a motorcycle, like having a smaller carbon footprint and feeling the warm sun beating down on you. Plus, with New Mexico’s temperate weather, you can smell the crisp breeze outside on your bike for the whole year. We are lucky in that we don’t have a strict “riding season” like colder climes do.

Even in the winter months, you can find determined motorcyclists on Albuquerque’s roadways. The weather may be cool this time of year, but by the time you put on your motorcycle safety gear, you are more than prepared for the elements as well.

In a crash

It makes sense that motorcyclists are so much more apt to come out on the “losing” side of a crash with a passenger vehicle. Cars and small trucks come complete with safety features like crumple zones, airbags, seatbelts, a steel frame, and more. A car basically cradles an occupant during a crash, taking the bulk of the force.

A motorcycle, however, cannot offer those same protections. A motorcyclist has only the benefit of the items on his or her body, which, in the best-case scenario, consists of a helmet, gloves, boots, pants, pads, and leathers.

The cold, hard facts

Looking at data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts things into perspective. The NHTSA states that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to be killed in a crash than vehicle occupants are.

In addition, the number of fatal injuries in car accidents has been steadily falling for more than two decades. The rate of deadly crashes involving motorcyclists has risen five-fold during that same timeframe, however.

Sharing the road responsibly

Proper vehicle operation is the responsibility of everyone on the road, whether they are driving a semi-truck or puttering away on a moped. There are certain rules that we all must follow to keep things safer for everyone. These include:

  • Putting your full attention on the road ahead – studies have repeatedly shown that distracted driving is deadly driving
  • Looking twice when changing lanes – checking mirrors and blind spots each time
  • Turning left with due care – many car-versus-motorcycle crashes happen when a vehicle turns left in front of a motorcyclist, so drivers need to accurately judge distance and turn only after being certain the path is clear
  • Staying alert and aware at intersections – nearly a third of motorcycle and passenger vehicle accidents happen at intersections, so they must be approached slowly and with care
  • Giving motorcycles room – it can be easy to misjudge how much room a motorcyclist needs on the street, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and give them just as much space as you would a car

Even with all the care taken in the world by a motorcyclist, he or she can still be seriously injured in a crash caused by a fellow motorist. If it happened to you, you might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. A personal injury attorney, many of whom offer free consultations, can give you more information about the potential for bringing a legal claim.