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May is Motorcycle Awareness Month in North Carolina and across the country. Keeping that in mind, the legal team at Shapiro & Appleton would like to take the opportunity to remind all drivers that with the arrival of spring, motorcycle enthusiasts will be taking to the roads.

Ask any motorcyclists what one of their favorite things about riding is and they will likely mention the feeling of freedom that comes along with riding. However, that sense of freedom also means a much greater degree of danger. Safety features that provide protection to drivers and passengers who are in vehicles are missing on motorcycles, leaving riders vulnerable to serious injury or death in the event of a crash. Statistics show that even though motorcycle crashes account for about 15 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes, motorcycle fatalities occur 30 times more often than other types of vehicle fatalities.

 

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If you ride, there are steps you should always take whenever you get on the bike in order to minimize your risk of becoming a statistic:

  • Always were a DOT approved helmet: The majority of states have some type of helmet law. North Carolina requires both drivers and riders to wear a helmet. If you are traveling in a state that does not require helmets, you should still always wear one. Studies show that wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of death by almost 40 percent. Make sure the helmet you wear meets all the safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Always wear protective and reflective clothing: The majority of motorcycle accidents happen because the vehicle driver did not see the motorcyclist. This is why you should wear clothing that is highly visible. You should also wear clothing that is meant specifically for riding, including jackets, chaps, and gloves, even if the weather is warm. This clothing is meant to protect your skin in the event you are in the crash and are thrown from your bike.
  • Always follow the rules of the road: All drivers are required to follow the same traffic laws. Obey all traffic signals and street signs. Do not pass between two vehicles that are going in the same direction. Lane splitting is illegal in North Carolina. Do not follow too closely behind a vehicle.
  • Always watch for road hazards: Debris on the road can be an inconvenience for a vehicle driver, but for motorcyclists, it can cause a serious crash. Motorcyclists should be aware of what is in the road in front of them at all times, such as trash, potholes, puddles, and road constructions.
  • Always get on your motorcycle sober: Just as with any vehicle, never get on your motorcycle if you have been drinking. Tragically, almost half of all motorcyclists who are killed in crashes have alcohol in their system. Even if a driver is not above the legal limit of .08 percent, any amount of alcohol can cause a slow down in the motorcycle driver’s reaction and response time.

Contact a Shapiro & Appleton

Some of the most frequent injuries that victims of motorcycle accidents suffer include brain injuries, broken bones, paralysis, and spinal trauma. Our North Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys understand that the injuries motorcycle accident victims sustain often leave them with permanent disabilities that not only create physical limitations but also result in significant financial losses.

If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, it is critical not to delay contacting the legal team at Shapiro & Appleton because North Carolina injury laws have strict rules regarding how long you have to file your personal injury claim. If the statute of limitations expires, you will be unable to collect financial damages for any medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, or any other losses you may be entitled to.

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