The latest U.S. traffic fatality data shows the lowest rate of annual traffic deaths ever recorded, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Unfortunately, the rate of motorcycle deaths has increased for the ninth consecutive year. Motorcycles have grown in popularity as a means of transportation, particularly in light of recent fuel prices. The NSC blames the majority of motorcycle deaths on the failure to wear a helmet, however, and notes that many states have recently repealed their motorcycle helmet laws (only 20 states and D.C. still require helmets). In 2005, 47% of all motorcycle deaths occurred among riders 40 years of age or older — a new trend highlighting the popularity of motorcycling among baby boomers.
If you own a motorcycle, or may consider riding one, the NSC offers the following general safety tips to help keep your name off of the growing list of motorcycle-related traffic fatalities:
- "Buy and wear a helmet. This is the most important thing that you can do. Passengers should also wear a helmet.
- In choosing a helmet, look for the DOT label. This is the manufacturer’s certification that the helmet conforms to the federal standard.
- Wear protective clothing to cover your arms and legs, preferably leather. The right clothing offers comfort, some protection from injury, and, through color or reflective material, visibility to other drivers.
- Wear eye protection, gloves and sturdy footwear.
- Select a motorcycle that fits your body and doesn’t overwhelm you.
- Attend a rider-training course to learn how to safely and skillfully operate your bike.
- Be courteous. Avoid tailgating, riding between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic, and excessive noise
- Use signals, when appropriate. Clarify your intentions."
Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
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