As Summer Temps Rise and Vacationers Flood the State’a Roadways, Motorcycle Safety of Paramount Importance

This far into the summer it may appear all too obvious that it’s perfect motorcycling weather here in Baltimore and throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Whether your passion is standards, cruisers, customs or sport bikes, the two-wheelers are out in force enjoying the sunny days and warm evenings. One could argue that we’re past the dangerous season, now that drivers of passenger cars and commercial delivery trucks are more used to seeing bikers on Harleys, Hondas, Yamahas and Kawasakis, but complacency has led to more than one traffic accident in the past.

As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my legal staff know better than some that motorcycle crashes and passenger car accidents kill way too many people every year. No matter if you ride for pleasure or as a daily commuter, staying on top of the nearby traffic action is one of the best ways to staying alive. Experience and training are also keys to survival, as is the proper equipment and bike maintenance.

More than one motorcycle rider has been killed due to improper or lack of vehicle upkeep. Tires that are too old, hardened rubber or cracked sidewalls, shallow or non-existent tread, under- or over-inflation; one or all of these could lead to trouble down the road. And tire failures can happen just when you need them the most, such as during an emergency maneuver to avoid a serious collision with another vehicle or pedestrian.

We were alerted to the many dangers facing bikers after reading an article about motorcycle safety online. Reminding readers that summer brings out riders in droves, it instructive to remember that emergency room visits also increase during the summer months. With the number of people choosing to ride all manner of two-wheeled vehicles — from bicycles and scooters to higher-powered road bikes — the increased percentage of the riding public can naturally lead to a greater number of motorcycle-related collisions.

It’s no surprise that motorcycle riders are disproportionately represented in most state’s traffic accident statistics, many times in the “Fatalities” column. Being in that “at-risk” group doesn’t seem to dissuade bikers from riding, but it should give them pause before heading out, even on a clear sunny weekend morning. Strictly speaking, riders can be much more easily killed or injured, even in seemingly minor crashes, than their four-wheel counterparts.

Because a crash on a motorcycle can result in a serious injury or death, biker should always maintain a keen awareness of their surroundings while traveling through and around high traffic areas. Even out n the country there exist multiple opportunities for tragedy. A high percentage of traffic accidents involving motorcyclists happen due to the fact that bikes can become hidden by another larger vehicle traveling ahead of them, or even be “lost” in another driver’s blind spot.

Because motorcycles are much smaller and offer a much narrower profile head-on than do passenger cars and trucks, savvy riders should always use extra caution when riding in traffic. As many a motorcycle riding instructor has preached to his students, it’s safer to imagine you and your bike as invisible to other drivers than to assume that everyone sees you coming. This invisibility analogy extends only to what others perceive and not intended to suggest a rider’s invincibility on the road. Far from it. a Biker may seem invisible to some motorists, but when a car or truck hits a bike that’s a hard reality.

The point we would like to make here is that riding a bike has many great rewards, but those rewards and the vast enjoyment derived from riding a powerful and fast machine can be greatly offset by the vulnerabilities of operating such a relatively diminutive motor vehicle. Never assume you will be fine; instead, work at staying safe and your odds of enjoying many more years of motorcycling will be your true reward. Keep the rubber on the road and keep shiny side up!

Warm weather brings need to watch for motorcyclists on roads,, May 6, 2012

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