As soon as the snow stops falling and the weather starts warming up, motorcycles become more prevalent among the traffic. Motorcycle registrations are increasing every year, putting more and more motorcyclists on the roads. In New Jersey between 2003 and 2007, 377 motorcyclists died. In New Jersey, every year there are 70 or more fatalities and 2,000 injuries involving motorcyclists. (1)
In East Brunswick on July 11, a motorcyclist with a passenger collided with a BMW, reports nj.com. (2) The passenger was injured and the motorcyclist was killed. Similarly, the Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray was recently involved in a motorcycle accident when he was riding his motorcycle and was struck by a box truck. Gray had no life-threatening injuries and was wearing protective gear when he was struck. (3)
Sadly, motorcycle accidents are becoming more frequent in New Jersey and proper safety procedures may help in the event of an accident.
Helmets are required by law in New Jersey. Studies show that riders who are not wearing a helmet are three times more likely to die in an accident than those wearing a helmet. Besides a helmet, eye protection, abrasion-resistant jackets, pants, and gloves, and over-the-ankle boots provide an extra layer of defense should the rider be involved in an accident.
While protective gear will help in the event of an accident, it is also important to be careful while on the road. More than two thirds of motorcycle accidents occur because of excessive speed, more than half occur at intersections, and many accidents occur because a vehicle’s driver does not see the motorcyclist.
Here are some important safety tips to follow if you are planning on riding a motorcycle:
– More than two thirds of accidents occur because vehicle drivers do not see the motorcyclist. Assume the motorists do not see you and drive defensively. Plan an escape route.
– In order to make sure motorists see you make yourself visible by wearing bright colors and reflective clothing. Try to avoid staying in blind spots.
– Leave space between you and the motorists. Follow the two second or four second rule (suggestions to help maintain safe following distance by allowing a two second or four second gap between you and the car you are following) to allow yourself time and space to react.
– Since motorcycles only have two wheels, they have less traction than other vehicle. Drive slowly when driving when the road is wet or when turning. Avoid sudden braking.
– Do not drive a motorcycle if you are tired, have had alcohol, or are taking any medication.
While motorcyclists can be prepared, it is also important that the motorists are prepared. Motorists should be alert for motorcycles. They should anticipate any potential hazards for the motorcycles, such as manhole covers or wet roads. Most importantly share the road.
New Jersey also offers many motorcycle safety courses for motorcyclists. The link is as follows: http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/Licenses/motorcycle_safety.htm (Please note that this link is provided for information only and is not an endorsement of services.) There are also many sites that offer more comprehensive safety tips for motorcyclists. One website is: http://www.msgroup.org/. In order to avoid a motorcycle accident, be sure you are following the appropriate safety measures.