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With spring around the corner, a refresher course on NC motorcycle safety

Published March 8, 2013

Winter is slowly losing its icy grip on the country. Spring is right around the corner, and the warmer temperatures will again herald the call for North Carolina motorcyclists to start dusting off their bikes. A refresher course on motorcycle safety now, before motorcyclists are out en masse, might help prevent some of the 4,000 fatal motorcycle accidents that happen across the nation annually.

Reasons for high fatality rates

To some, motorcycles equate to freedom: freedom to feel the wind on your face, smell the fresh breeze or enjoy the warmth of the sun on your back. Clearly, motorcycles do offer a kinship with the road that is hard to achieve in a car. That freedom comes with a high price, though.

Because of the lack of a support structure, motorcycle riders are much more likely to be injured in an accident, even if helmets and other protective gear are properly worn. Injuries range from the life-threatening - like traumatic brain injuries - to relatively minor - so-called "road rash" caused by scraping the pavement. Broken bones are also common in motorcycle accidents since there are no airbags or roll cages to offer protection.

The injuries can be much more severe if another, larger vehicle is involved. The added weight of a car or truck can easily crush a motorcyclist trapped in an accident's wreckage.

Knowledge is power

Knowing some of the key differences between motorcycles and automobiles can literally save the life of a motorcyclist out enjoying the road.

For example, did you know that many motorcycle turn signals aren't "self-canceling," so the blinker may stay on even after a turn has been completed? Or that some motorcyclists primarily use downshifting to slow their bikes, and that the brake light wouldn't be engaged if that were the case? Assuming that the signal (or lack of a rear brake light) may be inadvertent and increasing the following distance behind a motorcycle on the road can prevent a potentially catastrophic accident.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is that car and truck drivers simply remember to look for motorcyclists as the weather warms up again. Clearly, the issue isn't as pressing during the colder months, but once the heat and humidity return, motorcyclists will again flock to North Carolina highways.

Getting help

Sadly, when an automobile collides with a motorcycle, there are usually injuries, and they are usually severe. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident because of the negligence of another motorist (or motorcyclist) or the flawed design of a North Carolina roadway, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options you may have to hold the negligent party accountable.

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