Justin Raber Attorney at Law

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How motorcyclists can stay safe over the Memorial Day weekend

Recently released figures from AAA are projecting that Memorial Day weekend 2017 will see 39.3 million people travel a distance of 50 or more miles, the highest number since 2005. Even more impressive, 88.1 percent of these travelers will be getting to points near and far via the roads and highways.

Closer to home, AAA is estimating that the South Atlantic region of the nation, which covers Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia, will see 7.4 million people taking some type of trip -- with close to 6.6 million going by car, truck, SUV and, of course, motorcycle.

While it's understandable why a person would elect to make their way by motorcycle -- watching the countryside, experiencing the feeling of the open road, etc. -- those planning to do so over the holiday weekend will nevertheless want to proceed with caution given the heavy traffic they're likely to encounter.

Those who need convincing should consider just some of the following statistics from the Insurance Information Institute:

  • 88,000 people were injured and another 4,976 were killed in motorcycle crashes in 2015 (the most recent year for which complete data is available)
  • 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015 were motorcyclists
  • Motorcyclist are nearly five times more likely than vehicle occupants to suffer crash-related injuries per vehicle mile traveled and 29 times more likely to lose their lives

As sobering as these statistics are, there are some simple steps that motorcyclists can take to protect themselves. Indeed, as part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which coincidentally takes place every May, safety experts are reminding motorcyclists to do the following:

  • Always wear a helmet (it's the law in West Virginia)
  • Always wear safety gear, including Kevlar-lined pants and jacket
  • Always adorn your bike and safety gear with reflective material
  • Always obey the posted speed limit
  • Always drive defensively
  • Always avoid blind spots

Here’s hoping for a safe Memorial Day weekend for everyone …

If you've been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the reckless actions of a motorist, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can pursue justice on your behalf.

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