While spring has yet to make its full appearance in Montana, warm weather has come and gone a few times this year already. Because of that, it is important that motorists across the state are reminded that with warm weather comes an increase in motorcycles on the roadways. Although motorcycle awareness month is not until May, it is never too soon to prepare motorists with mechanisms that could increase motorcycle safety and prevent a motorcycle accident.

According to recent data, roughly 38 motorcyclists die on Montana roads each year. In the past decade, 281 lives have been lost in motorcycle collisions and 1,583 riders have suffered serious injuries in an accident involving a motorcycle. These numbers alone are a reason to urge both motorcyclists and other motorists to take extra precautions that will help prevent death and injuries.

It is important that other drivers are actively watching for smaller vehicles such as motorcycles. The director of Montana Motorcycle Rider Safety suggests that motorists should check their blind spots more than once and use their mirrors before entering traffic or changing lanes on a roadway.

Because most collisions involving a motorcycle occur at an intersection, during a lane change or when a vehicle is pulling out in front of a motorcycle, motorists need to be extra attentive when making such maneuvers. A driver’s brain can often be fooled because they see what they want to see. It is easy to misjudge the speed and distance of a motorcycle, making it look further away than it really is.

It is important that motorists are diligent in preventing motorcycle collisions. Motorcyclists do not have the same exterior protection like other motor vehicles provide. And even if a helmet is worn, this might not be enough protection to prevent serious injuries in an event of a motorcycle crash.

Following a motorcycle accident, it is important to understand the cause of the crash. This could help determine responsibility, helping victims of the crash hold a negligent party accountable for the resulting damages and losses.

Source: Fairfield Sun Times, “Watch For Motorcycles, Crashes Are Deadly For Riders,” May 12, 2015