Having been quarantined the last few months due to Covid-19, it’s understandable Rhode Islanders are anxious to get outside and back on the roads again. Traffic has already started to pick up and with the warmer weather, motorcycles are again prevalent on the streets and highways of Rhode Island. Unfortunately, motorcycle collisions also rise as the weather warms up and as Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian has seen first-hand, when a motorcyclist comes into physical contact with another motor vehicle or roadway object, it often results in significant or fatal injuries. Last week, a Rhode Island man died in a motorcycle crash on the Route 146 South off-ramp in Lincoln when his motorcycle struck a curbed island in the road. Only a week prior, a Cranston man was killed in a motorcycle collision in Johnston on Route 6, Hartford Ave, after colliding with a pickup truck. Already two tragic motorcycle fatalities in the Ocean State and summer has just begun.
Motorcycle Crashes Surge in Summer Months
Across the U.S., statistics show motorcycle fatalities typically spike between the months of June and September. Rhode Island alone reported 18 motorcycle accident fatalities in 2018, a sharp increase from prior years. Riding a motorcycle is inherently riskier than driving a motor vehicle, like a car, truck, or SUV. Not only are motorcycles less stable when there’s a need to brake quickly or swerve, they are less visible to other drivers. When a motorcycle is involved in a crash, the rider is much more likely to be severely injured, or killed, due to the lack of protection that a typical car or truck would provide. As a personal injury attorney in Rhode Island, David also sees an uptick in car accidents in the summer months, frequently due to negligence and reckless operation, like drunk driving and speeding. It’s critical that vehicle operators, on two-wheels or four-wheels, are extra vigilant about their own driving and keep an eye out for other motorists on the road.
Helmet Laws in RI
Half of the 18 motorcycle fatalities in Rhode Island in 2018 involved motorcyclists not wearing a helmet. Riders not wearing a helmet are three-times more likely than helmeted riders to sustain traumatic brain injuries in a crash and a helmeted motorcyclist’s fatality rate is reduced by at least 37%, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Rhode Island does not require a helmet for all motorcycle operators- only for those under the age of 21, all passengers, and for first-year riders, regardless of age. However, the RIDOT strongly encourages helmets for all motorcyclists, both operators and passengers, at all times. Our RI personal injury law firm also strongly encourages the same. We know a proper helmet is the most important safety equipment decision a rider or passenger can make to reduce the likelihood of death and life-threatening head injuries in a crash.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Staying highly visible to other motorists sharing the road is an important safety measure for motorcycles and can assist in deterring crashes. The RIDOT offers a number of helpful safety tips for motorcycle riders to increase their visibility while riding, including:
- Wear a fluorescent, reflective safety vest or bright-colored riding jacket
- Wear a white or other bright-colored helmet
- Flash brake lights at stops
- Install extra reflective materials and additional lighting
- Install a louder horn
- Avoid riding at night, dawn, or dusk
- Avoid riding in adverse weather conditions
Contact a Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer if You Are Injured
If you or a loved one are involved in a serious motorcycle accident, the personal injury experts at Tapalian Law are available right now to help you. With over 20 years of experience helping injured people all over RI and MA, Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian and his dedicated team will work relentlessly to get you the compensation you deserve from the driver responsible for your motorcycle crash. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses including medical bills, surgery, rehabilitative therapy, lost wages, property damage to your motorcycle, and pain and suffering. Contact Tapalian Law at our Providence RI, Warwick, RI, and Seekonk MA offices at 401-552-5000, for a free consultation, or contact us with our easy, online form.