Distracted Driving and Motorcycle Accidents
There are many reasons people choose to own and ride motorcycles; they are cheaper than cars, they use less gasoline, and there is a sense of camaraderie among bikers. The ability to feel connected to the road and nature while you drive is also a big draw. However, all of this comes with a cost. The reduced safety features available to cyclists result in catastrophic accidents. Motorcycles are also fast and small, and distracted drivers may not notice them. Indeed, this phenomenon of cyclists being hit by drivers who did not notice them has been on the rise.
According to an article in the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates that 40% of motorcycle accidents occur because of a distracted driver. Just this year, there have 52 motorcycle driver deaths, as well as five passenger deaths. Drivers may change lanes too quickly or blow through an intersection without checking for motorcycles. Tony Sanfelipo, an attorney quoted in the article, says that one reason this happens is that drivers are talking on cell phones and holding them up to their ears, which partially blocks the left side of their vision. Because of this, drivers may be drifting over into another lane without realizing it. Although investigators can track cell phone records to determine if the driver was on their phone at the time of the incident, it is still not always clear who is at fault. Tim Tomann—the director for an organization that focuses on the rights of bikers—says that motorcyclists should keep the following safety tips in mind: wear bright colored clothing, have loud pipes that can get the attention of distracted drivers, stay out of blind spots, wear a helmet, and avoid any unnecessary aggression towards other drivers. A large number of motorcycle fatalities happen to those who do not have the proper kind of driver’s license which means they are not well versed on the latest safety precautions, and they really should not be riding a motorcycle at all.
Distracted driving is becoming a bigger and bigger problem as electronics and cell phones continue to be an extension of the arms of many people. Passing hands-free legislation, like they have done in Austin, may be a viable way to cut down on the deaths of motorcyclists. According to a personal injury lawyer in the Milwaukee area, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., a lawsuit can be filed against these distracted drivers to hold them accountable for damages.
The joys of owning, maintaining, and riding a motorcycle are definitely offset by how easy it is to get in an accident, and how horrible these accidents can be. If you are looking into owning a bike, it is necessary to read up on how to best protect yourself in every situation and to always wear proper safety equipment. While the government takes its time with legislation to curb distracted driving, bikers must take their lives into their own hands.