At Trantolo & Trantolo, many of our staff members ride. We understand the challenges motorcycle riders face, which gives us a unique perspective when taking on an injury case. We believe that putting safety first is no accident.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month! This time of year serves as a reminder for drivers to look twice for motorcyclists and for riders to focus on safe riding routines.
In recognition of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, let’s review two important aspects of riding: Approaching intersections and group motorcycle rides.
Preventing Accidents at Intersections
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), about 50 percent of motorcycle accidents occur when approaching intersections. More specifically, over 40 percent are caused by drivers making left turns. Why are these accidents so prevalent?
Motorcycles have a smaller frame than a car or truck, making them less visible to other motorists. As such, drivers often never see the bike approaching and an accident occurs. From a distance, bikes can also appear to be traveling slower due to their small size.
On the subject of visibility, motorcycle riders should avoid car’s blind spots. Although drivers should check before changing lanes, do not assume they always will. Watch for turn signals and head movements that can indicate a driver is looking to change lanes.
If you’re behind the wheel of a car or truck, always look twice for motorcycles before entering an intersection. Never drive distracted or under the influence and be extra cautious in poor weather conditions.
Motorcyclists can also do their part to avoid accidents. Riders have a responsibility not to speed through an intersection or attempt to maneuver around a car in the same lane. Riding between lanes of slowed or stopped traffic, known as lane splitting, is illegal in Connecticut.
How to Plan a Successful Group Ride
Taking a scenic ride with friends or attending a large charity ride can be fun but requires sufficient planning. Whether you are organizing or participating in a group motorcycle ride, keep the following tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation in mind:
- Prior to the ride, hold a meeting to discuss your route, stops along the way, riding formation and the plan if someone gets separated from the group.
- Assess each rider’s skill level and form riding groups accordingly.
- Make sure everyone fuels up before the ride, so group stops can be coordinated.
- Assign a “lead” to set the pace and communicate with the group.
- Select a “sweeper” to keep an eye on all riders in front and react, if needed.
- Review hand signals that may be used to cue the rest of the group to potential obstructions ahead.
- Create a staggered riding formation to allow each bike room to slow down, stop or maneuver around obstructions. At least one second between each bike in each individual group and two seconds between each group is recommended.
- Do not ride side-by-side in the same lane.
- Avoid tailgating or passing other riders.
- Maintain your speed. Sudden braking and accelerating may not give the riders behind enough time to react.
- Don’t forget your safety gear, including protective clothing and eyewear.
- Be prepared with a first-aid kit, tool kit and cell phone.
Trantolo & Trantolo has over 80 years dedicated to the motorcycle community! After an accident, our attorneys will fight for the justice you deserve for injuries and bike damage. To pursue a claim, contact us today.