For anyone who intends to ride a motorcycle, but who lacks the training or background to date, Maryland’s (HSO) Highway Safety Office has a safety awareness curriculum that may be just the thing for people looking to better their chances for a safe and lower-risk biking career. Whether for a pastime, sport or strictly commuting, motorcycles offer a number of practical advantages over passenger cars. Unfortunately, increased safety may not really be one of them.
As Baltimore auto accident lawyers, my firm is prepared to represent victims of motorcycle collisions, not to mention people hurt as a result of car or commercial truck accident. I and my colleagues understand why motorcycle riding is not a risk-free hobby, but we also know that riding a whatever bike — be it a Honda, Harley, or Yamaha; cruiser, chopper or sport bike — is an experience not soon forgotten. The fact is, motorcycle riding is a balance between the excitement and freedom of the open road tempered by a heightened awareness of one’s vulnerability.
Nobody would argue that being struck by a car or truck while on a bike could end one’s life. On the other hand, with the proper amount of risk management and proper safety equipment, most any biker can find himself living to a ripe old age. Still, it never hurts to have a refresher course in the basics from time to time. Certainly the uninitiated should seriously consider a motorcycle safety program like the one that Maryland provides.
According to news reports, the state’s Fast Track program, provided at the Hagerstown-area On Wednesday, state and county officials were at the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), was apparently created to help reduce the number of bike deaths annually. This is not an idle comment either, since more than 60 motorcycle riders were killed and over 1,500 bikers were injured on the state’s streets and highways during last year alone. One of the goals of the HSO’s “Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Program” is to remind riders of the all-too-important fact that knowledge and caution can help riders stay alive.
Even though Maryland sees less than 2,000 motorcycle accidents every year, 80 percent of those traffic accidents result in the death or injury of either the rider, the passenger or both individuals. Another interesting fact about all those collisions each year, according to state authorities, a percentage of the riders who are hurt or killed on a bike actually do not have a valid motorcycle license. And, hence, the so-called “Fast Track” program.
In an effort by the state to get more of those unlicensed riders licensed and qualified to operate a motorcycle, the MVA has provided Fast Track, which allows applicants to take both the written test and the driving test on the same day. In doing so, MVA officials hope that more individuals will show up to take the test, hopefully pass, and become one of the safer riders on the road thanks in part to the training that they will get.
In fact, unlike the typical motorcycle rider testing procedures, if an applicant doesn’t pass the first time, he or she can a modicum, of on-site coaching and then retake the test on the same day. Will it help? Only time may tell, but one thing is certain: it’s definitely better than riding around without a license, and the price to take the program is probably less than a traffic ticket if one were to get caught by the police.
Maryland Highway Safety Office rolls out Motorcycle Safety and Awareness program, Herald-Mail.com, May 2, 2012