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 in 2013, according to the Kentucky State Police. More than 1,000 bikers were injured in collisions.

  • Killed—84
  • Injured — 1,060

For a motorcyclist to minimize the risk of sustaining 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.

Defensive Driving Tips for Motorcyclists

There are certain steps that motorcyclists can and should take to protect themselves:

  • Buy a motorcycle that fits you well. Do not try to ride a bike with more power than you can comfortably handle. Drivers were cited for not having their vehicle under proper control in a fourth of all motorcycle accidents. Know your limits, as well as your bike’s limits. Kentucky has 100,000 registered motorcycles.
  • If you haven’t done so already, take the time to hone your skills by taking a motorcycle safety class. These types of classes often teach basic, as well as defensive driving habits and advanced techniques for emergency situations.
  • Buy, and always wear, a high-quality, well-fitting helmet. If your helmet does not have a face shield, wear glasses or goggles with safety lenses. Although state motorcycle laws only require motorcyclists who are 20 years old or younger to wear helmets, you should err on the side of caution, for your own safety and for the peace of mind for those you love. Fifty nine of the 84 motorcyclists killed in crashes in Kentucky in 2013 were not wearing a helmet.
  • Wear proper riding attire such as a leather or reinforced jacket, sturdy boots or high-topped tennis shoes to help protect your feet and ankles, non-slip gloves, and a pair of sturdy pants.
  • Avoid riding in bad weather or in areas where road conditions are poor. These types of scenarios can make riding much more hazardous and unpredictable.
  • Inspect your vehicle before you head out to ride. Make sure your lights, brakes, horn, and signals are working properly. Inspect the tire pressure and look for any obvious signs of wear. Inspect oil and fluid levels. Make sure cables are not visibly worn.
  • Be sure to exercise caution at all times. Do not assume that other drivers can see you. Often, they do not, particularly if you are traveling in one of their vehicle’s blind spots.
  • Never drive recklessly or weave in and out of traffic.
  • Make sure you pay attention at all times, particularly when approaching an intersection or moving into another lane. Inattention was a contributing factor in a third of collisions involving motorcycles.
  • Always use your turn signals to let other drivers know your intentions.
  • Follow the posted speed limit and never tailgate or engage in any type of aggressive driving habits.
  • Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles at all times, so that you have sufficient room to brake or conduct evasive maneuvers if required.
  • Always ride sober. Never attempt to ride your motorcycle after you have been drinking alcohol.
  • Follow the rules of the road at all times.

The Danger of Intersections for Motorcyclists

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 motorcyclists 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:

  • Driver inattention – a factor in 32 percent of motorcycle collisions
  • Failure to yield
  • Driver distraction
  • Alcohol or drug involvement
  • Ignorance or disregard for traffic control
  • Fatigue
  • Obstruction of view
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Failure to signal or use headlights

Should You Call a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident?

If you have been injured in 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.

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