Death of Roswell Motorcyclist is Sobering Reminder For All Drivers
A motorcyclist in Roswell, NM is dead after he was ejected from his motorcycle and his body struck a light pole.
The 20-year-old motorcyclist was going about 180 mph in a zone posted 50 mph.
Proponents of both sides of the “motorcycle safety” debate can argue endlessly about which is better, which is safer, and why the other side is wrong. However, motorcycle safety is something that all motorists need to think of as their responsibility in order to avoid accidents on the road.
- In fatal crashes, the motorcycle is almost always the striking vehicle 97% of the time, and a majority of these crashes did not involve another vehicle.(National Motorcycle Training Institute)
- Per mile traveled in 2014, the number of deaths on a motorcycle was over 27 times the number in cars. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- Helmets saved an estimated 1,772 lives in 2015. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets in 2015, 740 more could have lived. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Helmets are estimated to reduce the likelihood of a crash death by 37%. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Riders not wearing a helmet are 40-percent more likely to die from a head injury than someone else (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Motorcycle-related deaths have increased 55% since 2000 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- The first 30-days for new motorcyclists are four-times riskier than their entire second year. (The Insurance Journal)
- 44-percent of two-vehicle, fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013 occurred as a result of a driver turning left into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
It’s Not Just Motorcyclists
“Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
“But it’s especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists. Such as size and visibility, knowing how to anticipate and respond to motorcycle riding practices like downshifting and weaving. By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road.”
Hazards Unique to Motorcyclists
“In addition to their ability to weave in and out of lanes, motorcycles are smaller and harder to see. With all due respect to the smart car, motorcycles are the smallest vehicles on the roads. And because of their size, they often appear to be faster and farther away than they actually are,” said Esurance in their blog Sharing the road with Motorcycles
“Motorcycles also lack the safety devices of most cars and trucks, like seat belts and airbags, which explains why it’s almost always the motorcycle riders who are most at risk in collisions with passenger vehicles.”
Be Safe While riding Motorcycles
On the other hand, supporters of motorcycles would tell you that they have unique safety features that cars don’t have.
“I find motorcycles safer because one can better avoid accidents on them. In a car, I feel safe because I have protection, but on a motorcycle, I feel safer because I have more options,” said Brian Whitworth of RidingSafely.com. “A rider is usually higher than a car driver, and so has a better view. A better view means you see danger earlier and can avoid it better. Riders have no car body around them to create vision blind spots. Just turning their head gives a clear all-round view. A bike can also move left or right in the lane for a better view if a truck blocks your vision. A car driver, in contrast, must remain on the steering wheel side. A motorcycle rider’s field of vision is further and wider than that of a car. When I drive a car, I feel I have a much more constricted field of view.”
Protective gear while on a motorcycle is universally recommended and is the law in most states to some level – either through partial helmet laws or universal helmet laws. “If you’re ever in a serious motorcycle crash, the best hope you have for protecting your brain is a motorcycle helmet,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. “Arms and legs should be completely covered when riding a motorcycle, ideally by wearing leather or heavy denim. In addition to providing protection in a crash, protective gear also helps prevent dehydration. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles, while gloves allow for a better grip and help protect your hands in the event of a crash. Wearing brightly colored clothing with reflective material will make you more visible to other vehicle drivers.”
Other Drivers Be Safe Around Motorcycles
- Give motorcycles space. Their size makes them seem farther away and to be traveling faster.
- Adjust driving patterns during rain or any other bad weather, as motorcyclists will have a more difficult time when exposed to harsh weather.
- Make eye contact with a motorcyclist at an intersection.
- Check blind spots often, as motorcycles can slip into them unnoticed.
“To keep motorcyclists safe, we urge everyone to share the road and be alert, and we’re reminding motorcyclists to make themselves visible, to use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and to always ride sober,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.