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Remaining Safe on the Roadway with Motorcyclists

Despite the growing popularity of motorcycles in Rhode Island, they’re also considered an extremely vulnerable group of vehicle users. Thousands of motorcyclists are involved in accidents on Rhode Island roadways each year, leading to costly personal injury lawsuits.

When involved in a roadway accident, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die than occupants of a car, and five times more likely to be injured.

What’s important to remember is that not only do motorcyclists have to exercise caution, but drivers also have to learn to more effectively share the road with motorcycles.

Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders

If you own a motorcycle, educate yourself on how to operate your vehicle in the safest way possible. Safety is of the utmost importance, because a motorcycle weighs less than one thousand pounds, while cars and trucks can weigh several thousand pounds.

If you’re on a motorcycle, remember the following:

  • Never drive when you’re tired, distracted or impaired. Alcohol and drug use are very prevalent in single-vehicle motorcycle accidents. In 2011, being under the influence of alcohol accounted for more than 40 percent of these types of accidents.
  • You should always make yourself visible to other drivers, particularly at night. Use reflective clothing whenever possible.
  • As with driving a car, always use your turn signals.
  • It’s often best for motorcyclists to combine the use of turn signals with hand signals.
  • Know all of the Rhode Island laws pertaining to the operation of a motorcycle. This includes wearing not only a Department of Transportation-approved helmet, but also the use of eye protection.

Sharing the Road with Motorcycles

In order to keep yourself and other drivers safe, and also avoid personal injury lawsuits, drivers of cars and trucks are also responsible for being safe when it comes to sharing the roadway with motorcycles.

Keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Always ensure if there are motorcycles nearby, you provide them with the full width of a lane. Many drivers make the mistake of thinking motorcycles only need a portion of the lane, but this is incredibly dangerous.
  • One of the leading reasons drivers become involved in accidents with motorcyclists is because they can’t see them. Motorcycles are small, and can easily become hidden in your blind spot, so carefully check not only your mirrors, but also your blind spots before making any moves.
  • Motorcycles have difficulty stopping quickly if the road conditions are hazardous. Even a little rain can make stopping a challenge, so allow three to four seconds between your car and any motorcycles, in case they have to stop quickly.
  • Remember that the turn signals on a motorcycle are different from those on cars. They don’t typically turn off automatically, so you should exercise caution when trying to determine the next move a motorcycle operator is going to make—the turn signal may not always be accurate.

It’s important for everyone to learn to share the road, and practice safe driving techniques at all times, particularly as more motorcycles find their way to Rhode Island roads and highways. If you or a family member has been involved in a motorcycle accident of any type, contact a personal injury attorney who can guide you through a difficult and emotionally challenging time.

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