May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a public safety campaign that urges both motorcyclists and motorists to exercise caution when sharing the road. The warmer, sunnier days lead to more motorcycles on the road – and more motorcycle accidents.
Top causes of Louisiana motorcycle accidents include left hand turns, driver inexperience, alcohol use, speeding, and traveling during rush hour. No matter what type of vehicle you’re driving, understanding how to reduce these risks is necessary to prevent serious, life-threatening injuries from occurring.
Louisiana motorcycle accident statistics
Louisiana State University data analysis from 2015 found that:
- Of the 159,265 licensed motorcycle drivers in Lafayette Parish, there were 4 fatalities and 87 serious injuries.
- Of the 267,690 licensed motorcycle drivers in East Baton Rouge, there were 2 fatalities and 164 injuries.
One study ranked Louisiana as having “the worst motorcycle drivers” in America, with 49 fatalities per million miles driven. Louisiana bikers also incurred 41 citations for driving drunk, 18 failure to obey tickets, and 47 citations for careless driving.
Motorcyclist safety tips
Motorcyclists are at greater risk of sustaining serious injury when paired against a heavier and better protected motor vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “motorcyclists are about 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash, and 6 times as likely to be injured.”
Motorcyclists are advised to:
- Call 800-446-9227 to find the nearest defensive driving course for motorcyclists.
- Wear proper protective gear such as a DOT-standard helmet and reflective clothing.
- Maintain motorcycles with regular state-required inspections.
- Get accustomed to a new bike in a well-controlled area before taking it into traffic.
- Be familiar with the roads they are traveling, looking out for road hazards like potholes or blind curves.
- Know the forecasted weather conditions before departing.
- Proceed cautiously at intersections, yielding to pedestrians and other vehicles.
- Be aware of their surroundings at all times, double-checking blind spots and signaling before changing lanes, passing, or turning.
Driver safety tips
An automobile driver’s life can change in the blink of an eye. No one wants to be held responsible for negligence that kills or disables another person. Motor vehicle drivers must:
- Avoid distraction – whether it’s drinking, eating, texting, fiddling with the radio or GPS, or talking to passengers.
- Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, especially when changing lanes or turning at intersections.
- Predict that oncoming motorcycles will arrive faster than imagined, since they often appear further away.
- Allow 3-4 seconds of following distance, since many motorcyclists roll off the throttle instead of braking.
- Wear sunglasses and use visors to reduce glare, so motorcycles are more visible.
- Avoid making turns or changing lanes when the view is obstructed.
Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyer
Need a Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyer? Contact Bart Bernard in Baton Rouge or Lafayette. For the past two decades, he has taken on some of the most challenging automobile accident cases – and won. He was ranked among the top 1% of trial lawyers and received the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents Litigator Award in 2015. Bart Bernard has maintained a reputation for securing large settlements and awards for motorcycle accident victims. Contact him today for a free case evaluation.
Additional motorcycle safety resources:
- Data Reports – Motorcycle Crashes, http://datareports.lsu.edu/Reports.aspx?yr=2015&rpt=H7A&p=ci
- Cyril Huze Blog – Study Reveals Worst Motorcycle Drivers By State, http://cyrilhuzeblog.com/2012/07/05/study-reveals-worst-motorcycle-drivers-by-state-mississippi-is-worst/
- NHTSA – Motorcycle Safety, https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycles