Preventing Motorcycle Accidents
A recent series of motorcycle accidents resulting in fatalities and serious personal injuries caused us here at the law firm of Joseph Joy and Associates to write about what we can all do as motorists, whether driving a four-wheeled vehicle or a motorcycle, to prevent further tragedies.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is an international not-for-profit foundation, dedicated to promoting education for motorcyclists. There are some basic, standard guidelines for safely operating a motorcycle. First and foremost, the Foundation emphasizes that motorcyclists need to remember that motorists often don’t see them because they are so much smaller than vehicles. For that reason, motorcyclists should always keep their headlights on. Day and night. Reflective strips and decals on clothing helps visibility. Of course, cyclists should always avoid riding in the blind spot of cars and trucks. Cyclists should flash their brake lights when slowing down and before stopping. It is always a good idea to have an escape route in case the driver does not see you and violates your right-of-way.
Always wear a quality helmet and eye protection for maximum protection against personal injury. A helmet that covers your entire face provides the best protection. It’s also the law in Louisiana. Here, motorcyclists are required to wear a safety helmet secured with the chin strap. The helmet must also have a lining, padding and visor.
SUBPART G. OPERATION OF MOTORCYCLES, MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLES AND BICYCLES
- 190. Safety helmets
- No person shall operate or ride upon any motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle unless the person is equipped with and is wearing on the head a safety helmet of the type and design manufactured for use by operators of such vehicles, which shall be secured properly with a chin strap while the vehicle is in motion. All such safety helmets shall consist of lining, padding, visor, and chin strap and shall meet such other specifications as shall be established by the commissioner.
- It shall be unlawful to manufacture, sell, or distribute any protective helmet for use by the operator of a motorcycle, motor driven cycle, or motorized bicycle, or for use by the passenger thereon, unless such protective helmet is of a type and specification approved by the commissioner who shall publish a notice of such approval.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section, the police authorities of a village, town, city, or parish may issue a permit exempting members of organizations sponsoring, conducting, or participating in parades or other public exhibitions from the provisions of this Section while such members are actually participating in a parade or other public exhibition.
- This Section does not apply to a person operating or riding in an autocycle if the vehicle is equipped with a roof which meets or exceeds standards for a safety helmet.
- It shall be unlawful to manufacture, sell, or distribute any protective helmet for use by the operator of a motorcycle, motor driven cycle, or motorized bicycle, or for use by the passenger thereon, unless the manufacturer of the protective helmet obtains and maintains liability insurance of not less than one hundred thousand dollars for each occurrence of liability of the manufacturer for fault in the design, materials, or workmanship of the protective helmet. In addition to any other penalty provided in this Section, the commissioner may prohibit the movement, sale, or distribution of any protective helmet if the manufacturer is not covered by insurance as required by this Subsection.
- Any person who violates any provision of this Section shall upon conviction be fined fifty dollars which shall include all costs of court. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no other cost or fee shall be assessed against any person for a violation of this Section.
Added by Acts 1968, No. 273, §1. Amended by Acts 1976, No. 671, §1; Acts 1977, No. 113, §1, eff. June 22, 1977; Acts 1981, No. 517, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982; Acts 1986, No. 53, §1; Acts 1986, No. 531, §1; Acts 1989, No. 278, §1; Acts 1989, No. 520, §1; Acts 1999, No. 404, §1; Acts 2004, No. 742, §1.
Based on a comparison of fatal crashes involving motorcycles with two riders, at least one of whom was killed, the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated helmets to be about 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities. In 2003, there were 3,661 rider deaths in fatal motorcycle crashes.
While motorcyclists can do much to protect themselves from personal injury on roads and highways, so can motorists, whether they are driving a car, pickup truck or 18-wheeler. A Louisiana nonprofit organization, the Motorists Awareness Campaign, urges motorists to “actively” look for motorcycles before pulling out, turning, or changing lanes. “But until motorists put down their phones, stop texting while driving and begin actively looking for us the carnage on our highways will continue,” the organization insists in a blog post.
The nonprofit Motorcycle Safety Foundation offered the following tips for drivers to prevent collisions with motorcycles:
- Look for Motorcyclists — Use your eyes and mirrors to see what’s around, and check the blind spots when you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections. Look, and look again.
- Focus on Driving — Hang up the phone, put down the MP3 player, settle the passengers, and drive.
- Use Your Turn Signals — Signal your intentions for everyone’s safety.
- Give Two-Wheelers Some Room — Don’t tailgate or pass too closely.
- Take Your Time — Nothing is as important as the safety of your loved ones, yourself, and the others with whom you share the road.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation calls this its “Golden Rule”: Drive near others as you would have others drive near you.
The personal injury attorneys at the Lafayette Law Firm of Joseph Joy and Associates could not agree more.
Loss of life and personal injury is the ultimate price to pay for vehicular accidents. At Joseph Joy and Associates, our personal injury attorneys have recovered millions for clients and their families who have suffered damages due to someone else’s negligence. If you have the unfortunate experience of being seriously injured in a car accident, give us a call at the law firm of Joseph Joy and Associates: 337-232-8123 or visit us at 900 S. College Rd., Ste. 204, Lafayette, LA.