New York Injury Law Blog

New York Motorists Reminded to Share the Road with Motorcyclists

Ensuring that motorists safely share the road with motorcycle riders was the focus of National Motorcycle Awareness Month in May. Although the safety awareness campaign is over, the message is still clear for New York motorists – it is critical for drivers to take extra care when they are sharing the road with a motorcycle.

Several motorcycle accidents over the weekend remind us all that motorcyclists face added dangers when they take to our highways. According to news reports, a motorcyclist in Cheektowaga is in critical condition after he crashed head-on into an oncoming pickup truck.  In another accident in Watertown, a moped rider was taken to the hospital after he was struck from behind by a car attempting to pass him.

Nationwide, motorcyclist fatalities increased slightly in 2010 to 4,502 accounting for 14 percent of total fatalities for the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, motorcyclists were 25 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a crash and 5 times more likely to be injured (per vehicle mile traveled in 2009.)

In New York in 2010, 173 motorcycle drivers died.  Those deaths accounted for more than 3 percent of the motorcyclists involved in a total of 5,570 motorcycle crashes, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Further, 86.5 percent of motorcyclists involved in crashes in 2010 were injured.

Motorcyclists are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing to be visible to other motorists, obey traffic laws, wear helmets and other appropriate protective gear and to not drink and drive.

The NHTSA offers the following safety tips for motorists when sharing the road with motorcyclists:

  • A motorcycle has the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the roadway.
  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Although it may seem that there is enough room in the traffic lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, the motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
  • Because of its smaller size, a motorcyclist can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Always   check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
  • Remember that road conditions that are minor annoyances to motorists can pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcycle riders may change speed or adjust position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
  • Allow more following distance — three or four seconds – when following a motorcycle so the motorcycle rider has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

Our Binghamton motorcycle accident attorneys remind all motorists to share the road.  As always, stay focused and do not drink and drive to improve the safety off anyone traveling our New York roadways.

If you have been involved in a NY motorcycle accident, you may have legal rights.  Contact us to find out your options.

About Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney handles all types of personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and boats. The firm also represents clients in actions for wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases. In 2008, the firm reached the $100-million mark in combined lifetime verdicts and settlements. The firm features offices in Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. For more information, call (800) TALK-LAW or use the firm’s online contact form.

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