One of the best things for most bike riders is the freedom of the open road, unencumbered by the “cage” of a car or truck. One of the facts of riding is that it is fairly impossible for bike riders to be distracted by the use of hand held devices while riding. Unless you have three hands or an extra arm, texting while riding is not going to happen. Perhaps a rider might check a handheld at a stop sign or signal, but hand held and bike riding is thankfully just not physically realistic. But for those driving in cars and trucks, we see this distracted driving more and more and it is very dangerous for everyone sharing the road, particularly those on bikes. Drivers in cars and trucks using hand held devices, which are to varying degrees illegal for use while driving in many states, are often the cause of injury-causing accidents with those on bikes.
A study from the Florida Department of Transportation states that those in cars and trucks are in fact more often at fault for the failure to yield to bikes and other small vehicles. The study indicates that those in cars and trucks are more often to blame in severe or fatal crashes than the bike rider. One of the reasons for this is that drivers simply don’t expect to see a smaller vehicle on the road and don’t pay attention at times to what is around them. This is becoming true also with pedestrian accidents. If you are riding a bike or walking across a street, it is necessary to become a defensive rider or walker to protect against this level of distraction. Add to this inherent lack of awareness and thinking ahead on the road, those distracting handhelds and it is really quite a dangerous formula. This is especially true as the weather improves in warmer climates and as we move into spring. Drivers will start seeing more riders out as the weather improves and some of them will fail to notice the increased presence of motorcycles.
We have often talked about the ways that riders can best protect themselves from severe injury or worse. The first place to start is riding equipment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that riders have a choice in what they ride and the helmet they use. Making the best selection possible when it comes to bikes, helmets and more is important and could save you from severe injury. Many states require to use of helmets, but even when you are in a state where a helmet is optional, it is absolutely the case that helmet use can protect riders from serious or fatal brain injury, among other things. In some reports, the statistic is staggering, fatal bike crashes are ten times more likely to occur in states without universal helmet laws than those with those laws. In one year alone, there were nearly 2,000 such fatalities in states that do not require the use of helmets. In that same year, there were about 180 such fatalities in states requiring the use of helmets. So one really readily available safety measure to keep riders more safe from those distracted drivers is the use of a helmet … the kind of regulation helmet that is highly protective of a rider’s head … not just a decorative one that isn’t really very helpful in a major crash.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, please give Scholle Law a call for a free consultation on your legal rights. We are here to help and we are not only caring professionals, our peers have given us the highest rating possible for ethics and legal skill.