Motorcycles present significant risks for operators and passengers alike. According to figures compiled and released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,668 motorcyclists lost their lives on U.S. streets and highways in 2013. While motorcycle operators made up the bulk of the fatalities, passengers accounted for a full six percent of those deaths. Working with a knowledgeable Pearland accident lawyer can help victims of these accidents achieve fair compensation for their injuries and losses. Here are four safety tips to help motorcycle passengers avoid becoming just another unfortunate statistic on Texas roadways.
Use a Helmet The National Occupant Protection Use Survey is conducted annually by the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis. For 2014, this survey indicated that only 51 percent of passengers wore helmets each time they traveled by motorcycle, while 67 percent of operators were observed to wear helmets. Because the risks for these two groups are essentially the same, the lower rate of usage represents a serious risk for motorcycle passengers. Figures compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that motorcyclists without helmets accounted for 42 percent of the motorcycle fatalities in 2010. States that enforce a universal helmet law for motorcyclists and their passengers are estimated to save eight times more lives each year than those without such laws. Although Texas enforces a strict helmet law for riders aged 20 and under, the Lone Star State has not yet enacted a universal helmet law. Nonetheless, wearing a helmet on every ride is one of the most important safety precautions available to motorcycle drivers and passengers.
Examine the Motorcycle To ride a motorcycle safely, passengers must be able to reach the footrests or foot pegs and must keep their feet firmly planted on these components at all times. This provides added stability and reduces the risk of a nasty spill. Keeping feet and legs away from mufflers can prevent burns and other unintended consequences on the road. Finally, holding on to the passenger handholds or the driver is a must to prevent unexpected shifts that can result in an accident. Taking a little time to become familiar with the various parts of the motorcycle and the right way to ride can help prevent injuries on the road.
Know When to Say No According to the NHTSA, 28 percent of fatality motorcycle accidents in 2013 were alcohol-related. By way of comparison, 21 percent of all accidents in the U.S. for that year involved alcohol use. Riding with a motorcycle operator who is under the influence of any amount of alcohol can significantly increase the chances of being involved in a serious accident. Politely declining a ride from someone who has been drinking can be a life-saving choice for motorcycle passengers.
Wear the Right Gear Motorcycle jackets and leather chaps are more than the regalia of seasoned riders. They are also essential protective equipment for motorcyclists and passengers alike. In the event of a spill, this clothing can provide an extra layer of armor against road rash and other injuries. While the helmet is the most critical protective component, wearing sturdy and roadworthy clothing can help prevent some injuries if an accident should occur. Motorcycles provide little protection to riders if a crash should occur. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of others, consulting with a Pearland personal injury attorney right away can help you achieve a fair settlement with insurers and responsible parties. A qualified and experienced Pearland car accident lawyer can be your best ally in obtaining compensation for injuries and losses sustained in a motorcycle accident. These dedicated legal professionals can deliver the solutions needed to help you move past these incidents and get on with your life.