Despite Mother Nature’s on again, off again moods, winter is probably here to stay (at least for the next several months). That said, we know that there is always a small but dedicated group of motorcycle riders who cannot let a sunny day and dry pavement slip by without firing up their Harleys, Hondas and Kawasakis, regardless of what the thermometer says. For dyed-in-the-wool bikers, it would appear that any excuse to ride is a good excuse.
Fortunately, most of those individuals who dare to brave the winter elements on a two-wheeler also have the experience to avoid the many of the dangers lurking out on our public roads. Traffic accidents are an everyday event in Maryland; winter only adds a new twist on events. Early sunsets, patches of black ice hidden in the shadows, and those always dangerous drunk drivers plying the roadways in search of the next holiday party; these are just a few of the dangers facing motorcyclists this time of year.
As Maryland personal injury attorneys representing individuals who have been hurt in car and commercial trucking accidents, we understand that riding a bike is a wonderful and freeing experience. But we also know that risk is a big part of the sport. Because of this, it’s no secret that traffic accidents between bikes and other, larger motor vehicles can result in serious injuries such as broken bones, compound fractures, cut and lacerations, not to mention closed-head injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the more deadly and debilitating injuries resulting from a bike collision. While helmets do provide riders with a decent amount of protection, there are no guarantees when going up against a large SUV, delivery truck or semi tractor-trailer. Defensive riding is one of the best ways to avoid a crash, but even then, the odds may be stacked against bikers.
Regardless, we understand the lure of the road, and therefore offer a cautious suggestion to ride aware and alert during the off-season. One major reason is that there are only a small fraction of bikers who ride in the off season. As such, these diehards need to maintain a healthy amount of caution when riding on those better weather days.
With fewer bikes on the roadways, it’s a fair bet that passenger car drivers and truckers are less accustomed to seeing a bike, much less being on the road nest to one. Because of this, it isn’t just the effects of the colder weather that a rider should be ready for, it is the relative lack of attention that four-wheelers may be giving to your smaller and less obvious machine.
So be aware that while there might be fewer bikes out on the streets in Cumberland, Bowie, Hagerstown and the District, that does not necessarily mean that one is any safer than during the warmer spring and summer months. Take every opportunity to make yourself known to the cars and trucks close to you. Ride safe and use your common sense. Springtime will eventually come around, and we’d like to believe that everyone reading this today will be in good shape to face the new riding season in 2012.