Few but the die-hard riders out there will be plying the roadways after this week, what with the colder, nastier weather being ushered in by the likes of Hurricane Sandy. But there are still those dyed-in-the-wool bikers who will try to ride in almost any weather that nature throws at us. For those individuals, as well as the other drivers who encounter them on the road this fall and early winter, we are compelled to offer some warnings about fair-weather versus rough-weather riding.
At the end of this week, we will also be switching over to daylight savings time, which means that it will be darker toward the evening hours as the days shorten as well. Not that all traffic accidents happen at night or in poor weather, but these conditions can certainly contribute to a bad motorcycle, car or trucking-related wreck, depending on the circumstances. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, we know that cold can affect a person’s cognitive abilities to the point that they may not be functioning at their best.
For bikers and other individuals who are exposed to cold and damp weather conditions, it’s conceivable that a traffic threat or other potential accident condition may not be as readily noticed by a rider who is fighting off a severe chill induced by traveling in mid-40-degree ambient temperatures at 50-60mph for a time. The effective wind chill at those speeds can really take a toll on even a well-bundled motorcyclist. The main point we want to convey is that no matter one’s level of experience, take extra precautions when riding during this time of the year.
Also, and not the least of one’s concerns, riders should remember that car and truck drivers may not be expecting a motorcycle to be out and about at this time of the year. During the summer, bikers by their mere presence on the roads serve as a constant reminder to commercial truck and passenger car drivers that a cycle may be just around the corner. However, as the more fair-weather riders park their mounts for the season, fewer and fewer bikes are evident. “Out of sight, out of mind,” is a common phrase that has great meaning in this regard.
Regardless of the statistics that show motorcycle use has increased over the past few years, as bikers thin out during the cooler months, dangers for the remaining riders can possibly increase. One only has to look at the potential for injury to make an informed decision as to increasing one’s vigilance on the highway. Closed head incidents, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and neck and spine damage are all potential bodily injuries that can befall a motorcyclist caught up in a bad crash.
The is nothing worse for a bikers than to trade that independence and feeling of freedom while on one’s bike than to be laid up in a hospital bed for weeks or months recovering from a serious roadway collision. With stats coming out of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing that bikers are five times more likely to be hurt (and 25 times more apt to die) in a traffic accident than someone driving a car or light truck, there is no argument that safety should be even more in one’s thoughts during the off-season.
Don’t become a victim of those four-wheel drivers who are distracted or simply not paying enough attention to the job at hand. Because motorcycles are already difficult to see or recognize, even under the best of circumstances, the added negative effects of poor weather and shorter days can tilt the odds against even the safest riders out there.
Finally, if you or someone close to you has been hurt in a motorcycle crash, consult a qualified personal injury lawyer who has experience with representing victims of biking accidents. Maryland law allows for fair compensation for injuries, such as road rash, fractures, injured knees and sprained muscles, not to mention losses due to missed work, bills for emergency treatment and hospital stays, as well as property damage. There is no reason not to discuss your situation with a motorcycle accident attorney to better understand your particular circumstances and to plan for your next steps.