With the beautiful Fall weather and rise in temperature over the summer months, motorcycle riders and bicyclists have taken to the streets to enjoy the open air. More than a year into a pandemic, people are increasingly more comfortable being out and itching to do so. Unfortunately, Rhode Island has also seen an increase in the amount of motorcycle accidents in the state over the past few months. As of August, Rhode Island experienced 10 fatal motorcycle crashes. In fact, these types of collisions are about one-third of the total vehicle accident deaths in the state. In comparison, past years have seen approximately 13 motorcycle fatalities in total. As a personal injury lawyer in Providence, RI, for over 20 years, Attorney David Tapalian has seen the complete devastation suffered by families after a losing a loved one in a tragic, and too often preventable, motorcycle accident and wants all drivers to increase their awareness of this serious safety concern. With months still left to go in 2021, it’s important for both motorcyclists and other drivers on the road to take note.
Importance of Wearing a Helmet
Plenty of data shows that wearing a helmet can significantly increase your chances of surviving a motorcycle accident, as well as minimize the severity of the injuries suffered. This is one simple step, yet a very critical one, that motorcyclists can take to protect themselves from potentially life-threatening injury. Motorcyclists are less protected than those travelling in cars and therefore, are more prone to serious and life-altering injuries if involved in a collision. Sadly, the majority of motorcyclists who were killed in crashes this year in Rhode Island were not wearing helmets, according to Peter Alviti, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.
For an example of the life-saving properties of a helmet, a Bristol police officer was lucky this summer when he walked away from a motorcycle collision with only a few injuries due to his helmet and protective gear. The on-duty officer was riding the bike through an intersection where he had the right of way when another driver crashed into him, damaging his bike in the process. Fortunately, the officer was not severely injured.
Preventing Motorcycle Collisions
Some crashes occur due to driver error, often car or truck drivers fail to look out for bikes, especially since they may be closer to the ground and less visible than larger motor vehicles. Due to the relative size of a motorcycle compared to a car, they can get lost in a driver’s blind spot, making it more likely that an accident occurs as cars are switching lanes. As a result, drivers are often surprised when they notice how close they are to a motorcycle but don’t have enough time to prevent the resulting crash. Motorists need to heed extra caution and be vigilant especially when changing lanes, making turns, and pulling out of a driveway or parking spot.
Another common reason for motorcycle accidents is drunk or distracted drivers. When drivers are under the influence or not paying attention to their surroundings, they increase their chances of hitting a motorcycle. In addition, a motorcycle operator under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, or otherwise acting recklessly, greatly increases their risk of collision. With ride share services like Uber and Lyft readily available, those under the influence of substances or otherwise unwell are urged to utilize these alternatives. By decreasing the number of dangerous drivers on the road, we can also hopefully decrease the number of motorcycle and motor vehicle fatalities in Rhode Island.
Inexperience comes into play with these types of accidents as well. While Rhode Island requires operators to obtain a permit before they can ride a motorcycle, some other states do not. Many states allow anyone with a valid car drivers’ license to ride a bike without any extra training steps in this process. As a result, inexperienced riders might be increasing the total number of crashes occurring in 2021 in the state and data still needs to be collected on whether the motorcycle riders involved were primarily from Rhode Island or another state. Requiring more extensive safety training for all riders could prevent some of these collisions involving inexperienced operators.
Tapalian Law Can Help You After A RI Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash or automobile accident in RI or MA, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your legal rights. With offices in Providence, Warwick, Seekonk, and Fort Lauderdale, Attorney David Tapalian helps victims of personal injury all over Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Florida. He has successfully settled hundreds of cases ranging from drunk driving accidents to wrongful death claims and helped his clients receive the maximum compensation they deserve. To see how our skilled personal injury team can help you, call Tapalian Law’s Providence RI office at 401-552-5000 or schedule a free consultation online.