As the days become warmer and longer, bikers in San Mateo County are dusting off their helmets and getting their motorcycles out of the garage and onto the open roads. This summer, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), along with its traffic safety partners, is urging motorists to “Share the Road” with motorcyclists.
Although Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month was last month, the message should not be lost. Remember that you share the road not just with other cars, but also with motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. When you are turning at an intersection, pulling into a driveway, or passing another vehicle, look twice for motorcyclists. Taking an extra second to look for motorcyclists could save a life or prevent a terrible accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 80% of collisions involving motorcycles result in injury or death, compared to only 20% of motor vehicle occupants. Statistics show that for the same per-mile exposure, motorcyclists are roughly 28 times more likely to die than motor vehicle occupants. The CHP reported that in 2009, 396 people died and 11,488 were injured statewide as a result of a crash involving a motorcycle.
Bikers simply do not have the same protection that the steel walls of a motor vehicle offer drivers and their passengers, and are so much more vulnerable to injury or death in an accident. Motorcyclists can reduce their risk of injury by always wearing property safety gear, including a helmet certified by its manufacturer to meet Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications.
The California Highway Patrol urges individuals interested in getting a motorcycle license to complete the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) Basic RiderCourse, offered at more than 120 locations throughout California. You can learn more at http://www.ca-msp.org.
So far this year, a number of major injury motorcycle accidents have been reported locally: On May 1st, a motorcycle crash at Ralston Avenue and Cipriani Boulevard in Belmont resulted in major injuries. On March 10, a 48-year-old Danville man died in a fatal motorcycle accident involving two other vehicles on Highway 101 in San Mateo. On February 10th, a Burlingame man was killed when his motorcycle collided with a CHP car on Highway 101 in Redwood City.
As a northern California motorcycle accident lawyer, I encourage bikers to ride cautiously at all times, always follow the speed limit, and pay close attention to the road in front of you. As the CHP says, “Keep alert, slow it down, and never drink and drive.”