Motorcyclists, more than any other drivers, must exercise extreme caution when traveling on Kentucky roadways and interstates. Motorcycles have a narrow profile and are more difficult to see than other types of passenger vehicles. When a collision occurs, motorcycle riders have little protection, other than a helmet, to protect them and are at greater risk of serious injuries.
Motorcyclists represented only 1 percent of the vehicles in all collisions in Kentucky, but 9 percent of vehicles involved in fatal collisions in the state, according to the Kentucky State Police. More than 1,000 bikers were injured in collisions.
For a motorcyclist to minimize the risk of sustaining a serious injury or being killed in a motorcycle accident, it is necessary to practice safety procedures and really understand what it means to be a safe, defensive driver.
Preventing motorcycle accidents in Kentucky involves adopting several essential defensive driving practices. These strategies empower motorcyclists to protect themselves and contribute to road safety.
Firstly, it’s crucial to select a motorcycle that matches your skill level and comfort. Avoid the temptation to ride a bike with excessive power that you can’t handle effectively. In Kentucky, where there are approximately 100,000 registered motorcycles, understanding your limitations is paramount to safety.
Additionally, enrolling in a motorcycle safety class can be immensely beneficial. These courses cover a wide range of skills, from basic to advanced, including defensive driving techniques for handling emergency situations.
Avoid riding in unfavorable conditions, such as bad weather or on poorly maintained roads, as these situations can significantly increase the risks you face. Riding under the influence of alcohol or any substances is extremely dangerous and should be strictly avoided.
Finally, always abide by traffic rules and obey road signs. Respect posted speed limits and refrain from tailgating or displaying aggressive driving behaviors. Use turn signals consistently to communicate your intentions to other drivers on the road.
Motorcyclists can take proactive steps to safeguard themselves and enhance road safety. By following these defensive driving practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of motorcycle accidents and enhance safety on Kentucky’s roads. For motorcyclists, safety officials advise the following:
Wearing the right helmet is a critical safety measure. A high-quality, well-fitting helmet is essential. If your helmet lacks a face shield, protective glasses or goggles with safety lenses should be worn. Although Kentucky law mandates helmets only for riders under 21, choosing to wear one is a prudent choice. In 2013, out of the 84 motorcyclists who lost their lives in Kentucky accidents, 59 were not wearing helmets.
Dressing appropriately for riding is equally important. This includes wearing a leather or reinforced jacket, sturdy boots (or high-topped sneakers for ankle protection), non-slip gloves, and durable pants. Enhance visibility by wearing reflective or high-contrast clothing.
Perform a motorcycle safety check before every ride. Ensure that all lights, brakes, signals, and the horn are functioning correctly. Check tire pressure and look for any signs of wear. Examine oil and fluid levels, as well as the condition of cables.
Practice defensive driving when on a motorcycle. Keep a safe distance between your motorcycle and other vehicles, ensuring you have adequate braking distance and room for evasive actions if needed.
Avoid riding between lanes or in blind spots. Maintaining vigilance is essential. Always assume that other drivers may not see you, particularly when you find yourself in their blind spots.
Maintain discipline when it comes to lane positioning. Never engage in reckless riding or weaving between traffic lanes. Stay within your designated lane.
Avoid distractions and stay fully focused, especially when approaching intersections or when changing lanes. Notably, inattentiveness played a role in a significant number of motorcycle collisions.
An intersection can be an extremely dangerous place, particularly for a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists are not always as easy to see as larger passenger vehicles and trucks. Even when a motorcyclist attempts to make him- or herself more visible, other drivers often overlook them and pull out in front of an oncoming motorcyclist at an intersection, causing a collision. Motorcycle accidents in intersections can be caused by:
Motorcycle safety courses are readily available in Kentucky and Indiana, catering to beginners and experienced riders alike, as well as non-riding drivers. The Kentucky Motorcycle Safety Program, managed by Eastern Kentucky University’s Traffic Safety Institute, offers training throughout the state. In Indiana, the Motorcycle Operator Safety Education Program provides courses through ABATE of Indiana, Inc. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also operates RiderCourse motorcycle training centers nationwide.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another motorist, call a lawyer to discuss your legal options right away. A skilled lawyer can help identify all the contributing factors to your accident and potentially responsible parties. If more than one party is at fault, Kentucky applies a comparative fault standard and the fault is apportioned among those who contributed to the accident. If you are found partially at fault in the accident, your recovery of any damages would be reduced by the percentage you contributed to the accident.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can review the specifics of your accident and explain your legal rights. Contact the Becker Law Office for guidance on lost wages, medical expenses, motorcycle replacement costs, and compensation for pain and suffering.