Motorcyclist deaths fell 10 percent in Georgia in 2012 from the preceding year, according to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Still, 134 motorcyclists died in largely preventable accidents in Georgia in 2012.
Many motorcyclists are seriously injured after being struck by other drivers who aren’t looking out for motorcycles and don’t see them.
A 38-year-old motorcyclist died recently when he was thrown from his bike after he lost control and was struck by a pickup truck in Forsyth County, AccessNorthGa.com reported. An investigation is ongoing.
Regardless of who was at fault in a motorcycle accident, motorcycle riders typically suffer the most serious injuries in a collision with other vehicles because motorcycles have little protection. Nationwide, an estimated 93,000 people were injured in motorcycle crashes in 2012, a 15 percent increase.
Many motorcyclists involved in crashes were going slower than 30 mph. At these speeds, helmets can reduce the number and severity of head injuries. Georgia has had a universal helmet law since 1969. Motorcyclists who aren’t wearing helmets are much more likely to suffer serious head injuries or be killed in a crash.
Fatal motorcycle accidents in Georgia were concentrated in Atlanta and the Atlanta metro area in 2012. Twelve motorcyclists died in Fulton County. The Georgia Department of Highway Safety reports that most motorcycle crashes happen on short trips, of five miles or less, often within minutes of starting out.
The Governors Highway Safety Association offers these tips for sharing the road safely with motorcyclists:
- Allow a motorcyclist the full lane width.
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Remember that motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or simply not seen due to their small size.
- Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – they often are not self-cancelling, and riders sometimes forget to turn them off.
- Remember that some road conditions that are minor annoyances to passenger vehicles pose major hazards to motorcyclists, who may swerve to avoid pot holes, gravel, pavement seams and other small obstacles.
- Allow more distance when following a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Don’t tailgate behind a motorcycle.
The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program offers rider education programs and publicizes safety through Share the Road campaigns.