Baltimore Auto Injury Update: Motorcyclists Among Those at Risk in Alcohol- and Age-related Accidents

The economy has been a real driver, over these past several years, in purchases of motorcycles, scooters and even bicycles for commuting and general travel. While two-wheeled transportation may have been a pastime or hobby for most, now we are finding a growing percentage of the motoring population using these modes of transportation for more than just enjoyment or relaxation. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen is dedicated to assisting victims of motorcycle, automobile and commercial trucking-related roadway collisions.

Certainly, for many in the motorcycle community the growth of bikes for use more as transportation has contributed to a greater number of these machines on Maryland highways and in the city streets of Bowie, Rockville, Columbia and the District. Hardly a bad thing, the added numbers of motorcycle riders on Maryland roads adds to a presence that helps to keep car and truck drivers aware that they are sharing the roadways with bikers. Still the dangers abound for riders of Honda, Harley, Kawasaki and Ducati motorcycles, not to mention Vespa scooters and among many others.

Based on nationwide data, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that motorcycle riders are five times more likely to be injured in a traffic accident than occupants of larger passenger vehicles. On top of that, the NHTSA also has determined that bikers are up to 25 times more apt to be killed in a car crash, truck collision or other type of roadway wreck. One of the biggest causes is drivers of automobiles or commercial trucks who are simply not paying attention to whether there is a motorcycle in their area.

The general public, on average, has no idea how much effort goes into staying safe as a motorcycle rider. While many probably believe that riders are risk-takers, few realize that most motorcyclists are extremely cautious individuals who typically abide by all of our traffic laws and regulations. This can be borne out due to the fact that a large percentage of traffic accidents involving bikes are due to negligence on the part of another driver.

For those bikers who become victims of a serious injury accident, determining negligence on the part of the other driver can sometimes be very difficult. This is why we always recommend that anyone hurt or injured in a motorcycle-related auto or trucking accident seek the advice and counsel of a qualified auto accident attorney who has experience in representing motorcycle riders.

We ran into an article a short time ago that shined a light on the causes of many traffic accident: Drunken motorists and elderly, less adept drivers. Not surprisingly, these threats affect motorcycle riders and passenger car drivers alike. According to the article, drinking and driving, more than old age, has been identified by the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) as one of the largest contributors to wrong-way car, truck and motorcycle wrecks.

Citing car crashes like the one that occurred on Maryland’s Rte 50 earlier in 2012, and which killed four individuals, the NTSB suggested that the earlier belief — that elderly drivers can sometimes become confused to the point of making a deadly mistake, such as turning down a one-way street or entrance ramp to an expressway — is not necessarily the major cause of these fatal wrong-way collisions. Instead the government safety agency pointed to drunken driving as the biggest contributor.

Based on reports, the NTSB determined that alcohol was a causative factor in greater than 60 percent of the nearly 1,600 wrong-way traffic collisions over the course of six years. Those fatal accidents, said the safety agency, resulted in the deaths of more than 2,100 people. Stating the wrong-way traffic wrecks were some of the most serious of fatal motor vehicle accidents, NTSB officials suggest that the nature of these crashes — namely that they happen at high closing speeds, usually on dark, limited-access highways and expressways and often during inclement weather — are what make them so deadly and worth curbing.

Issuing a list of more than a dozen recommendations to state and federal law makers, the NTSB is hoping that those in charge of highway safety and law enforcement will act to do something about wrong-way traffic accidents. The Board also provided additional suggestions on ways to design better highways, improve signage and include “flashing” wrong-way warning signs along exit ramps, as well as offer improved guidelines for older drivers.

Alcohol and old age blamed for wrong-way crashes,, December 11, 2012

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