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Did you know May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

In less than two weeks, people across the state of New Jersey will be heading to points both near and far for Memorial Day weekend. While most will be hitting the roads and highways in their car, truck or sport utility vehicle, still others will be going by motorcycle, anxious for the feel of the open road.

Given this reality, it's perhaps a good time to remind people that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, an annual safety initiative organized by government agencies and safety groups to remind both motorists and motorcyclists of the need to practice safe driving.

While some might initially question the need for such an endeavor, their minds will likely change after considering some of the following statistics:

  • In 2015 alone, 88,000 people were injured and another 4,976 were killed in motorcycle crashes here in the U.S.
  • New Jersey saw 112 motorcycle-related fatalities from 2014 through 2015
  • Motorcyclists are five times more likely to be injured and 29 times more likely lose their lives than vehicle occupants in an accident per vehicle mile traveled
  • Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015  

In light of grim figures like these, questions naturally arise as to what both motorists and motorcyclists can -- and should -- do to prevent crashes.

For motorists:

  • Be aware that there will be more motorcycles on the road now that the weather is changing
  • Check blind spots and mirrors before changing lanes or negotiating intersections
  • Don't tailgate -- leave at least four seconds worth of space
  • Always give motorcyclists a full lane in which to maneuver
  • Use signals
  • Don't speed or drive impaired

For motorcyclists:

  • Wear the necessary safety gear, including Kevlar-lined jacket and pants, DOT-approved helmet, eye protection, etc.
  • Equip both bike and safety gear with reflective material to enhance visibility
  • Position yourself to be seen, meaning no riding in blind spots
  • Don't tailgate -- leave at least four seconds worth of space
  • Use signals
  • Don't speed or drive impaired

Here's hoping the foregoing information has proven eye opening.

Always remember to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by the reckless actions of another motorist.    

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