According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, there were roughly 2,100 accidents involving motorcycles across the state in 2016. Of those accidents, 122 of them resulted in a fatality, which is an increase over a total of 91 fatalities in 2015. Our state continues to see an increase in motorcycle accident fatalities each year. Nearly 19% of the 2016 fatalities involved alcohol consumption. Missouri requires motorcycle riders to obtain a motorcycle license, which ensures you have, at least, the basic knowledge and skills for safe operation. Unfortunately, a valid motorcycle license isn’t necessarily enough to prevent accidents.
Currently, the five leading causes of fatal motorcycle accidents are:
- Traveling over the speed limit, or too fast for the conditions at the time
- Actions associated with changing lanes
- Alcohol consumption
- Not fully paying attention
- Passing improperly
Helmet Usage & Safety
Missouri is among approximately 20 states that imposes a mandatory helmet law for motorcycle operation. The law states that protective headgear is required when the motorcycle is moving on any roadway. Helmet standards are established according to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which determines which helmets meet the safety specifications required for compliance. You can tell if your helmet is FMVSS endorsed by the presence of a DOT (Department of Transportation) label. About 20% of motorcycle accidents result in injuries of the head or neck. Head and neck injuries are also common in fatal accidents. Those wearing a helmet will survive at a rate three times greater than those who do not wear one.
Wearing Appropriate Gear
Wearing clothing with reflective markings is highly recommended to make you more visible to other motorists. Your clothing should cover your whole body and be made of a thick material such as leather. Be sure to wear gloves and sturdy footwear. Wearing a shatter-proof face shield will protect your face and eyes from wind, debris, insects, and stones. A shield does a much better job of protecting your entire face than simply wearing goggles. The shield should be clear, without scratches, fog-resistant, and compatible with eyeglasses or sunglasses if necessary.
Potentially Dangerous Situations
It is critical to avoid traveling within the “blind spot” zone of another vehicle. Stopping (braking) distance on motorcycles is comparable to cars; however, amid wet road conditions motorcycles may need additional distance. There are a host of dangerous road surface conditions and hazards on Missouri’s roads, including wet leaves, wet pavement, ice, potholes, and tracks for railroads or trolleys. Maintaining clear lines of sight is important, as larger vehicles may shield you from the view of other drivers who may make sudden turns or lane changes. Avoid speeding at all times; your rate of speed at the time of an accident is closely associated with the likelihood of severe injury or death.
Lawyers for Missouri Accident Injuries
Those riding a motorcycle when involved in a collision have a much greater likelihood of severe injury or death than the occupants of passenger vehicles. If in a motorcycle accident, you may incur significant hospital bills, expenses for medication, costs of future medical treatment, and rehab. You also may be unable to work for a short or long period of time. At the law office of Norton & Spencer, P.C., we have been a champion for those devastated in motorcycle accidents since 1952. When the careless or negligent acts of another motorist cause you to become an injury victim, you need experienced and aggressive representation. Our Kansas City auto accident lawyers will pursue monetary compensation through civil actions on your behalf. For a free consultation, contact our office today at 816-454-5800.