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Motorcycle Accidents in Oregon in Focus this May

Riding a motorcycle is both fun and practical in Oregon, especially through the summer. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle is becoming increasingly dangerous as the number of motorcycle-related fatalities has gone up for fourteen out of the past fifteen years. The Governors Highway Traffic Safety Association recently noted that the increase in fatalities from 2011 to 2012 was especially troubling since the number of fatalities rose by nine percent. 

This nine percent increase in motorcycle fatalities nationwide was more than federal authorities predicted and is a clear reminder that motorcycle safety must remain a top priority. This is why our Portland, OR accident attorneys are urging all drivers to pay attention this May during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

On a per-vehicle-mile basis, motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to die in car accidents than drivers of cars according to the NHTSA. Efforts need to be made to try to reduce this high accident risk, and Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is an important part of those efforts.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is an annual event intended to draw attention to the serious risks that motorcycle riders face. To help make the point about the dangers, the NHTSA provides statistics on the number of motorcycle accident deaths throughout the U.S., including the data indicating that motorcycle accident deaths made up 14 percent of all car accident deaths in 2011 even as motorcycles make up only three percent of all vehicles in the country.

In addition to statistics, NHTSA also provides some safety tips for both motorcycle riders and for drivers. Riders, for example, are urged to:

  • Wear DOT approved helmets.
  • Obey all traffic laws.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear when riding.
  • Use reflective tape, especially when riding at night.
  • Wear bright colors so drivers can see you more easily.
  • Use hand signals combined with turn signals to communicate your intentions to drivers and to make sure you have their attention.
  • Ride in a position within your lane that makes you most visible to other drivers.

Motorcycle riders can only do so much, unfortunately, and a lot of responsibility for avoiding motorcycle accidents lies with drivers of passenger cars. NHTSA has some advice for these drivers as well including:

  • Avoiding distracted driving.
  • Not trying to share lanes or crowd motorcycle riders (leave them their own lane).
  • Signaling before changing lanes or merging with traffic so motorcycle riders can move out of the way of the vehicle.
  • Paying careful attention to blind spots to make sure you don’t miss a motorcycle.
  • Understanding that motorcycle riders may forget to turn off their turn signals since they do not go off automatically like they do in many cars. This means that waiting to see what a motorcyclist does is very important.
  • Avoiding any type of tailgating with motorcycle riders. At least three to four seconds of following distance should be left when a motorcycle is in front.

This Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, drivers should make a commitment to follow these safety practices both now and in the future. This could hopefully help to stop the continuing increases in the number of motorcycle accident deaths so all riders could be safer.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in the Portland area, contact  Zbinden & Curtis. Call (503) 287-5000.

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