The Attorneys at Cycle Law know that when motorcycle operators go out on the road, they operate a vehicle that has far fewer safety protections than a car or truck. Without airbags, safety cages, or the stability of a four-wheeled vehicle, it’s no wonder motorcycles are much more dangerous than automobiles. Though no amount of care or training can make motorcycles as safe as cars, operators can make their motorcycle driving experience safer.
Anti-Lock Braking Systems
Motorcycles equipped with an anti-lock braking system, or ABS, provide significant safety advantages. Stopping a motorcycle is not as easy as stopping a car because motorcycles have individual controls for the front and rear brakes. A driver who fails to apply motorcycle brakes properly can cause the bike to lock its wheels. This can result in skids, crashes, and lay-downs.
With ABS, the risk of locking-up the wheels is almost completely eliminated, making the motorcycle much safer to operate. The Institute for Highway Safety reports that motorcycles equipped with ABS are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than motorcycles without them.
Currently, Honda is the only manufacturer that produces a motorcycle equipped with airbags, though they are only available with the manufacturer’s most expensive model. There are wearable airbags on the market, though the effectiveness of these safety devices is not widely known. Until the technology improves, airbags are not a significant safety option for the vast majority of drivers.
A motorcycle rider who doesn’t wear a safety helmet is going down a dangerous road. Unfortunately, it’s a road that is well travelled. According to the Department of Transportation, only 54 percent of motorcyclists wore a helmet in 2010. This is down from a historic high of 71 percent of riders who wore a helmet in 2000.
The safety benefits of motorcycle helmets are tremendous. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that helmets saved 1,483 motorcycle driver and passenger lives in 2009. The NHTSA also reports that if all riders had worn helmets that year, another 732 more lives would have been saved. Helmets are effective in preventing fatal driver injuries in 37 percent of motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Each state has its own laws on motorcycle helmet requirements. There are three basic types of state helmet laws: universal, limited, and nonexistent.
Universal: States with universal helmet laws require all operators and passengers to wear a helmet. As of 2012, the 20 states with universal laws are: Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.
Limited: Limited helmet laws require some operators and passengers to wear a helmet. States with limited helmet laws include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Main, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Nonexistent: Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire are the only states that do not require any motorcycle operator or passenger to wear a helmet.
You Deserve Representation
Whenever you’re in a motorcycle crash you need a lawyer who will fight for your rights. Even if you didn’t take any motorcycle safety precautions, you need to talk to the Cycle Law attorneys so we can investigate your case and give you expert legal advice. Call us today so you can talk to a Cycle Law attorney about your accident and your legal options.