Motorcycles are popular in Ohio, both as a means of transportation and recreation. In fact, Ohio has more registered motorcycles than any other cold weather state. The only two U.S. states with more motorcycles are California and Florida.
While motorcycles can save on fuel, make the ride more enjoyable for some, and convert traveling down the road to a recreational and social activity, they also carry risks. In 2018, 144 people were killed in Ohio motorcycle accidents and thousands of others were injured. While motorcycle crash deaths have declined across the country, the two-year, 28% drop in Ohio–from 200 deaths in 2016 to 144 in 2018–far outstrips the national average.
The decline is certainly encouraging but the danger remains. Motorcycles make up just 3% of Ohio motor vehicle registrations, yet account for more than 13% of traffic fatalities in the state. In part, that’s because motorcyclists don’t get the same protection from their vehicles that those in passenger cars and trucks do. A collision that might be little more than a fender bender between two cars can seriously injure or kill a motorcyclist.
Protective gear sometimes saves lives. But the most important protection–wearing a motorcycle helmet–has been estimated to be about 37% effective in preventing fatal injury. The protection is significant enough to make it worthwhile to wear a helmet, especially when you consider that helmet usage is about 69% effective in protecting against certain brain injuries. But the risks are still significant. So it’s critical that Ohio drivers sharing the road with so many motorcycles take precautions and that motorcyclists themselves minimize risks.
When a driver fails to take precautions and a collision occurs, the driver may be liable to the injured motorcyclist or surviving family members. If you are a motorcyclist who was injured by a careless driver or you have lost a loved one to a motorcycle crash, the experienced, aggressive motorcycle accident attorneys at Plevin & Gallucci can be your best resource. You can schedule a free consultation by filling out the contact form on this page.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Motorcycle Safety for Drivers of Cars and Trucks
Some key strategies drivers can employ to minimize the risk to motorcyclists include:
- Be aware of your blind spots. We all know that blind spots present potential hazards on the road, but motorcycles are more vulnerable than other types of vehicles. Being smaller, they’re both easier to miss and able to maneuver more quickly. The slightest contact with a motorcycle or even causing the biker to swerve suddenly can be catastrophic for a motorcyclist.
- Increase your following distance. While it’s always important to maintain a safe following distance, the risks of following a motorcycle too closely are often more serious. A slight rear-end tap that might cause no damage to a car can cause serious injury to a motorcyclist. And if debris, a slick surface, or other hazard causes a biker to go down in traffic or a passenger to be thrown from the motorcycle, a driver following too close may be unable to stop in time.
- Clearly signal your intentions. At a minimum, this means using your turn signal before a turn or a lane change and providing adequate lead time. Cutting off a motorcycle in traffic or making a turn into the rider’s path can be even more dangerous than making those same mistakes with another car or truck.
- Take special care when making a left turn. Left turns into the path of a motorcycle or into a motorcycle that is proceeding straight through the intersection are a common accident cause. That’s what happened in a Columbus hit and run in early August. The driver reportedly drove right over the motorcyclist and kept going.
- Obey all traffic signals and laws. Of course, you should always obey traffic laws, road markings, stop signs, stop lights, and other signals. These safety measures are all the more important when sharing the roadway with vulnerable riders. And following the rules helps motorcyclists and other drivers around you accurately anticipate your actions.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
Road safety requires everyone to do their part, including motorcyclists. While many motorcycle wrecks are caused by careless drivers, a significant percentage of motorcycle fatalities are single-vehicle accidents. Between 2014 and 2017, 44% of Ohio motorcycle accident deaths occurred involved no other vehicle. And a surprisingly high number of motorcyclists killed on the road were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Motorcycle riders can help make the road safer for themselves, fellow bikers, and others on the road with these tips:
- Wear a helmet. Ohio law doesn’t require a helmet unless the rider is under 18 or just learning to ride. But as described above, helmet use substantially diminishes the risk of death or brain injury in a motorcycle accident.
- Maintain your motorcycle carefully. Check brakes, tire pressure, fluid levels, lights, and turn signals before you head out to minimize the chance of problems on the road and ensure maximum visibility.
- Allow a safe distance between you and other vehicles. The best defense against a car or other vehicle making an unexpected move that puts you at risk is to remain vigilant and leave enough distance to adapt if the unexpected happens.
- Observe traffic laws. Motorcyclists can significantly reduce the risk of a collision by observing all safety regulations, just like those operating larger vehicles. It is particularly important for bikers to avoid illegal or risky maneuvers that reduce their visibility to other drivers, such as passing a car within its lane of traffic.
Who is Responsible for a Motorcycle Crash?
As with any other type of traffic collision, either driver may be responsible, responsibility may be shared, or there may be third parties who contributed. If you were injured while riding a motorcycle in Ohio because another driver was speeding, distracted, or otherwise negligent, you may be entitled to damages. If you were partially responsible for causing the accident, you may still be entitled to recover some of your damages.
The best way to determine who may be liable after a motorcycle crash and what type of damages you may be entitled to is to talk to an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Plevin & Gallucci have decades of experience handling all types of motor vehicle collisions, including motorcycle crashes. Just call 1-855-4PLEVIN to schedule your free consultation.