Motorcycle riders in Nashville and throughout the state of Tennessee have a legitimate cause for concern: the number of traffic fatalities involving motorcyclists spiked 21 percent from 2011 to 2012. While that increase is certainly alarming, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s office reports that over the last 14 years, the number of motorcycle fatalities has more than tripled. Victims of motorcycle accidents can sustain a wide range of injuries, from minor abrasions and broken bones to much more serious life-threatening brain injuries and death. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to contact an experienced Nashville attorney to help you understand your potential right to damages.
With such startling statistics at hand, it is no wonder that the Governor’s office announced just last spring that May is “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.” As part of this effort, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the State Department of Safety and Homeland Security are encouraging drivers to be more careful when they are near motorcyclists on the roads. In addition to raising driver awareness, the report also places a great deal of the responsibility of safety on the bikers themselves.
More than 300,000 people in Tennessee ride motorcycles. State law requires bikers and their passengers to wear helmets that are in compliance with standards set forth by the Department of Transportation. Unfortunately, not every rider abides by the law. The data shows that 37 out of every 100 motorcycle rider fatalities where the driver was not wearing a helmet could have been prevented had they worn one.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Office points out that motorcyclists are in a much more vulnerable position than people in passenger vehicles. Because of their exposure and vulnerability, it is suggested that motorcyclists consider making themselves more visible to others on the road by wearing reflective tape and bright colors.
These alarming fatality statistics have struck a nerve across the state of Tennessee. According to an article in The Commercial Appeal, the city of Memphis recently created a motorcycle safety road sign that depicts a motorcycle with the slogan, “Look Twice, Save a Life.” The sign is an attempt to encourage drivers to pay more attention to motorcyclists on the road. The establishment of the sign was the result of a three-year effort waged by a couple of local motorcycle groups.
In addition to fatality rates, there are many serious injuries that people sustain while driving a motorcycle. And only recently have we learned that older riders in the United States suffer greater injuries in crashes. A study was published indicating that as a biker’s age increases, so too does the severity of their injuries in a crash. Bikers age 60 and over were found to be 2 ½ times more likely to end up in an emergency room with severe injuries than motorcyclists in their 20s and 30s. This is significant data considering that a quarter of all motorcyclists in the U.S. are age 50 and older.
With more and more aging bikers on the roads in Tennessee and throughout the country, all drivers need to exercise the most extreme caution. In the event of an accident, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help guide you through the legal process in an effort to recover damages.