The summer months are a time for enjoying the outdoors. For many Americans, this means vacations, road trips, and traveling to events, celebrations, and time with family. Unfortunately, this seasonal increase in activity brings a lot of traffic to our public roads and highways, especially for motorcycle riders who are much smaller than passenger vehicles, easily overseen by inattentive drivers, and prone to suffering serious injuries in motorcycle collisions.
At Hartman - Imbriale LLP, our Woodstock motorcycle accident lawyers have represented many riders who suffered injuries in preventable wrecks, especially during the summer months. Although riders face significant risks whenever they head out onto the open road, this time of year can increase the risks they face. In fact, studies from AAA and other traffic safety organizations have found that the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day account for some of the most dangerous days on American roads. This is due to a substantial increase in preventable traffic collisions, injuries, and deaths.
If you are a motorcycle enthusiast with plans to attend a local rally, begin a long road trip, or simply enjoy the open air on your bike, it is important to understand the unique risks you face this time of year. Motorists who drive passenger vehicles should also be aware of these risks in order to take measures that can protect themselves and everyone else on public roads.
During summer months, riders can face increased dangers on roads and highways due to the following:
- More traffic – Summer months bring a surge of traffic to roadways throughout Georgia. With more vehicles and more motorcyclists, it becomes essential for everyone to obey the law, share the road, and make vigilance a priority. Motorcyclists should be aware that with more drivers, they will need to be extra cautious when maneuvering through traffic. To emphasis safety, riders can make themselves as visible as possible by wearing bright or reflective gear, using headlights and signals, and ensuring that they make eye contact and that motorists see them prior to any maneuver. This includes changing lanes, making left hand turns, and entering intersections. Drivers can do their part by understanding that there will be more riders out and about, and that they should scan their surroundings for signs of riders whenever they are behind the wheel.
- Out-of-town motorists – While increases in traffic alone can introduce potential hazards, risks can be elevated when that traffic is comprised of out-of-town motorists who may not be familiar with local roadways, directions, or laws. Drivers, or even riders, who are unfamiliar with the local landscape may be more prone to sudden driving behaviors, such as sudden stops or attempts to turn or change lanes in order to make an exit. Be prepared for tourists if you live in a community where local events draw people from out of town or even just those passing through. Follow at a safe distance, anticipate driving maneuvers, and give yourself plenty of space when passing riders and vehicles.
- Alcohol impairment – Alcohol impairment is one of the largest reasons why summer months can be especially dangerous on our roadways. During this time of year, it is common for Americans to celebrate, take vacations, or unwind with alcoholic beverages. Events and holidays, such as the Fourth of July, will also see sharp spikes in alcohol-related accidents. Whatever your plans may be, always drive or ride sober. You can do this by planning for a safe ride from friends or a taxi or rideshare service, in addition to staying the night wherever you plan on drinking. Riders, just as motorists, have a duty to remain sober on the road as well. Doing so not only protects the safety of others, but their own livelihoods as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost one-half of all motorcycle wrecks involving a single motorcycle involve a rider impaired by alcohol. Driving or riding under the influence has consequences, including both criminal penalties and civil liability when victims are injured.
- Distracted driving – Although driver distraction is a concern any time of year, it can be especially dangerous during summer months when there is an increase in traffic and out-of-town motorists. Whenever you ride or drive, be sure that it is your only focus. Drivers should always avoid texting and using cell phones behind the wheel, considered the most dangerous form of distraction, as it can prevent them from seeing motorcycle riders and substantially increases crash risks.
Due to these risks, it becomes essential for riders to make safety a priority. This means obeying the rules of the road, riding vigilantly, wearing a helmet, and ensuring you are seen by motorists.
How We Can Help Injured Riders
Even when the correct precautions to be safe are taken, riders can still suffer injuries in motorcycle collisions caused by negligent motorists, including those who may be distracted or drunk at the time of a crash. When riders are harmed in preventable wrecks, our personal injury lawyers at Hartman - Imbriale LLP are readily available to help. We have extensive experience protecting the rights of victims and families during the personal injury claim process, and have leveraged our decades of combined experience to recover millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. This includes a $2.1 million recovery in a recent case on behalf of a rider who was struck and injured by a negligent teen driver and also, a $500 thousand recovery from a motorcycle wreck that cause serious back injuries.
To discuss a potential motorcycle accident case with a member of our team, contact us for a FREE consultation.