Studies show serious injury and deaths as a result of motorcycle accidents in Tennessee are on the rise. How can you protect yourself from being a statistic?
As we explained in our earlier article, motorcycle accident injuries and deaths are on the rise in Tennessee and across the United States. There were several factors involved in this increase as outlined in the National Transportation Highway Safety Association’s report. While no one is guaranteed safety on our roads, no matter what type of vehicle they are in, there are several things the government and motorcycle safety organizations recommend that will help to keep us a bit safer when we’re riding our bikes.
The first is increased helmet use. Proponents of the universal helmet law say this is the only thing that is proven to decrease brain injury and death in motorcycle accidents. While some bikers don’t feel they should be required to wear one, it’s hard to dispute the numbers on this finding. Let’s take the state of Michigan. It repealed its helmet law and, when an investigation was conducted into the more than 2,000 bike accidents in the six months after they did so, it was found that bikers without helmets were three times more likely to die. The study also found that bikers without helmets were 43% more likely to suffer serious injuries than those who had a helmet. The study concluded that Michigan’s motorcycle accident fatality rate had increased 18% in one year after the repeal.
The second is to increase fines and punishments for alcohol impairment for those found driving a motorcycle while impaired. 29% of all motorcyclists fatally injured had a blood alcohol content exceeding the .08 legal limit in 2010. NHTSA suggests increased sanctions including vehicle impoundment or forfeiture.
Law enforcement should be trained to reduce the of speeding infractions by motorcycles. In 2010, 35% of bikers who crashed were found to be speeding and less than half the crashes involved other vehicles leading investigators to believe that speed was an indicator in a majority of the accidents.
We should provide training to all motorcycle operators with the idea of teaching skills and safe riding practices. It would help to offer motorcycle training to those who had not operated a motorcycle in some time and to also offer the training All Bikers should be properly licensed to operate a motorcycle. Over 20% of motorcyclists who were killed in a motorcycle crash in 2010 were not licensed to operate their bike.
Every vehicle on the road should be made aware of the rights of motorcycles to share the road. Motorcycles are legal and economical means of transportation in all 50 states in addition to being an increasingly popular recreational vehicle. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road and states should conduct public campaigns such as Tennessee’s “Share the Road” campaign.
Since the end of World War II, when the motorcycle became a popular and accepted means of transportation in the United States, there has been the possibility of a biker being killed or injured when riding their bike. That is true for anyone operating any vehicle and is one of the risks we take everyday. However, the marked rise in motorcycle accident injuries and deaths in Tennessee, and throughout the country, should be of great concern to anyone. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Tennessee, please contact our office to discuss your situation. We have over 20 years of experience, and success, representing injured bikers and the families of bikers killed while riding their motorcycles.