Motorcycle Awareness Can Save Lives
By increasing their knowledge of motorcycles, motorists can help lower the number of accidents involving vehicles and motorcycles.
With the warm summer weather in Red Bank, motorcycles are a common sight on roads and this means the risk for a motorcycle accident becomes higher. NJ.com recently reported that a motorist was turning left when a motorcycle hit his vehicle in Wayne Township. It is not certain whether the motorist was turning in front of the motorcycle but the biker died after he was transported to a nearby hospital.
The New Jersey State Police 2013 fatal crash report shows that 57 motorcycles were involved in 54 crashes which resulted in death. It is unknown whether the 54 deaths were motorcycle riders, passengers or others. Nationwide that same year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety stated that 13 percent of all deaths associated with motor vehicle accidents were motorcyclists, amounting to 4,381 people.
In many cases where motorists have hit a motorcycle, they will tell the officer that they didn’t see the cycle. Researchers say this may not be far from the truth as a recent study in Texas shows that motorists are often unable to determine how far away a motorcycle is and what its accurate size may be. According to RideApart.com, the human brain uses many different sources of information to compute perception and if the information sources are not accurate, it can lead the brain to an incorrect conclusion.
This inaccurate perception could cause motorists to think that a smaller object is further away while a larger object is closer, when this may not be true. It can also trick motorists into wrong decisions about how slow or fast a vehicle is traveling because of its size. This could explain why the majority of motorcycle-vehicle crashes occur at intersections and motorists do not appear to see the motorcyclist.
Motorcycles are different from vehicles
While understanding perception is one way that people can increase their awareness of motorcycles around them, they should also recognize that motorcycles operate differently from passenger cars. These differences include the following:
- Motorcycles are much smaller – while this seems like an obvious fact, motorists should be aware that due to their smaller size, these two-wheeled vehicles can easily disappear from view. Drivers should always double-check blind spots twice and look for the sign of motorcycle wheels on the other side of trucks and passenger cars.
- Motorcycles have two braking options – bikers can either use their regular brake or they can simply throttle their engine down to reduce speed. The second option will not trigger a brake light and if a vehicle is following too closely, it may not have time to adjust.
- Motorcycle wheels are sensitive to changes in road conditions – the lightness of the motorcycle makes it harder to control on rough graveled roads, wet roads and roads with damage. As a result, motorcyclists will slow down when encountering these situations.
- Motorcycle engines are loud – the loudness of a motorcycle engine can give the impression that it is going faster than it really is – motorists should dismiss their first impression when they hear the engine and act as if the cycle is traveling at the regular rate of speed.
Additionally, motorcycles’ visibility is a challenge so bikers will often change from one side of their lane to the other in order to see what is up ahead. Motorists who try to share a lane with a biker are putting themselves and the biker at risk.
When Red Bank bikers are involved in an accident involving a passenger vehicle, their injuries can be severe. Therefore, they may find it helpful to meet with an attorney.