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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Here in Texas and all around the country, more people ride motorcycles starting in May and through the summer than any other time of year. Because more people are out on motorcycles, statistically, more people are injured and killed on motorcycles during the summer months. It’s a tragic reality, but it’s always worth the reminder. So many motorcycle accidents can be prevented through awareness.
Motorcycle accidents are serious business. Motorcyclists have far less protection than other drivers on the road. There are no air bags, seat belts, or steel frames to protect them. They rely on helmets and other protective gear, along with vigilant driving. Many motorcycle accidents also result in serious brain injury. While many bodily injuries can heal over time, brain injuries can actually get worse depending on the type of injury. As I mentioned in our last month’s edition, even when a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet and taking all the proper safety precautions, they may still walk away with a brain injury — and they may not fully realize it at first. The challenge with brain injuries is getting them properly diagnosed and then recognized by insurers so the motorcyclist is properly compensated. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. A motorcyclist may be left with a bad concussion and not get the proper care they need because they either didn’t realize they needed significant care, or the insurer didn’t cover the necessary medical costs, so the motorcyclist avoids care because they couldn’t afford it. If not properly treated, a brain injury can get worse over time. The brain doesn’t heal itself like much of the rest of the body and it can actually deteriorate. A person with a brain injury may experience a change in personality, deteriorated motor and speech skills, and memory loss. In fact, many of the symptoms of an untreated brain injury are very similar to the symptoms of dementia. When it comes to motorcycle safety, we can all do our part. Be aware of everyone who’s on the road and your surroundings. Stay safe and have fun this summer!
Always look both ways before moving through an intersection. Always check and double-check before changing lanes, passing, or merging.
While blind spots are already dangerous, it’s potentially more dangerous when a motorcycle is in your blind spot. Motorcycles take up significantly less space on the road, which means they’re easier to miss when you’re looking for larger vehicles. Another thing to keep in mind: Never make assumptions when you’re on the road. Don’t assume there isn’t another vehicle in your blind spot or anywhere else around your own vehicle. You need confirmation. A lot of us have trained ourselves to look for cars, trucks, SUVs, and other large vehicles. All too often, motorcycles don’t automatically register in our brains. They’re smaller and drivers tend to ignore motorcycles when they determine their next move, such as changing lanes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agrees. They say, “When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other non- motorcycle driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way.”
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