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High gas prices lead to more motorcycle accidents

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently wrote a piece that examined the connection between rising gas prices and an uptick in motorcycle-related deaths. As the cost of gas goes up, many people decide to ditch their cars for this more fuel-efficient (and often more fun!) option. While this may seem a proper solution for your budget, it can also put you at higher risk of being involved in a fatal accident.

Unlike cars—which come equipped with seat belts, airbags, collision avoidance systems, sensors, antilock brakes, and more—motorcycles leave you out in the open, exposed, without enhanced features. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in motor vehicle crashes. The NHTSA also reports that states without helmet laws showed ten times more fatalities. Pennsylvania is one of those states, and the motorcycle accident attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can attest to this.

On June 16, 2014, it will be the 11-year anniversary since the law was officially changed from mandating helmet usage for motorcyclists to deferring the choice of whether or not to wear one directly to the riders. The only requirements are that the rider be 21 years of age or older and have two years of riding experience, or pass the Motorcycle Safety Program.

Are the Helmets Needed?

The lack of such a requirement, however, does not mean that helmets are any less necessary. In fact, the NHTSA states that in 2012, 41 percent of motorcycle driver fatalities and 53 percent of motorcycle passenger fatalities were a result of those victims not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. On the other hand, 1,699 motorcyclists were saved because they did wear their helmets.

Essential to protecting your head and your face from serious harm, helmets are made up of four main components: a hard, outer shell to lessen the amount of force to the brain; an impact absorbing liner; comfort padding; and a chin strap, which ensures the helmet remains on your head in case of a crash.  According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), “A good helmet [also] … cuts down on wind noise … and deflects bugs and other objects flying through the air. It even contributes to comfort from changing weather conditions and reduces rider fatigue.”

The MSF also recommends that riders wear over-the-ankle footwear, long pants, a long-sleeved jacket, and full-fingered motorcycle gloves.

In addition to wearing a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet and other safety gear, NHTSA safety tips also include:

  • Obeying all traffic laws and maintaining proper licensure and certifications
  • Never riding distracted or impaired
  • Always using hand and turn signals
  • Wearing brightly colored clothing and reflective tape, so other drivers can see you
  • Riding in the middle of the lane, where you’ll be more visible to others
  • Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions

It might be cheaper to take the motorcycle rather than a car – and be more fun on the sunnier days – but there’s a real cost if you ride without your protective gear. So stay safe out there, and if you—or someone you know—is the victim of a motorcycle accident and deserves justice, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. The motorcycle accident and personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have an established history of representing motorcycle accident victims and winning large settlements and court cases for clients. Our family is proud to fight hard for yours. Simply send the attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys an e-mail by clicking here or call us at 855-866-5529.

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