Reminders for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
There’s nothing like the excitement of buying your first motorcycle.
Heck, there is nothing like the excitement of buying your 20th motorcycle. The rubber tires, the chrome, the colors, brands, and accessories. They all smell like freedom. Whether you love Harley or Indian, BMW or Ducati, motorcycles give the rider freedom that simply can’t be obtained from any other kind of vehicle.
Unfortunately, that freedom also comes with a price.
In 2022, there were almost 4,000 motorcycle collisions in South Carolina with 154 of them resulting in death. As our eyes become increasingly glued to our smartphones instead of our roads, these numbers will likely only increase. It’s impossible to get an exact number of how many collisions are caused by people being on their phones.
However, ask yourself how many times you’ve been passed by someone in the fast lane, speeding, while casually looking down at their phone texting, or browsing social media. The answer is probably too many times.
So, what can you do to help prevent motorcycle collisions and fatalities? Put your phones down.
When a motorcycle accident happens, one of the main excuses the person at fault for hitting the rider gives is that they didn’t see the motorcycle. It’s a fact that motorcycles are smaller than most cars, that they are harder to see, and that their (often) single headlight can be obscured — especially at dusk or night — by the headlights of a car behind it or by any number of objects.
I had one case where a young man was killed when a young lady turned left out of a subdivision in front of him. Her excuse? She did not see my client. Best we could tell, the landscaping in front of the subdivision, particularly the Crepe Myrtles, was just thick enough to “hide” my client’s single headlight when she looked to the left.
So she thought it was clear and pulled out, and now, my client is no longer here.
I refer to them as a client. But perhaps it would be more impactful to say what he truly was. Someone’s son. Someone’s brother. Someone’s fiancé.
So what can you do to help prevent motorcycle collisions and fatalities? Look twice. Perhaps if we could just slow down just a bit, we could take the time to make sure there is no one beside us before we change lanes, no one to our left before we pull out, and no one trying to make a yellow light before we gun it when our light turns green.
Motorcyclists must do their part, of course. We must be safe; we must ride within the boundaries of the law and ride defensively.
But until people put down their phones, look twice, and pay better attention to the roads, we will continue to have motorcycle fatalities at an unacceptable level.
SC attorney for Tom McGrath Motorcycle Law Group