motorcycle, East Hartford personal injury attorneyWarmer weather has finally arrived in the Northeast, which means that riders across the region have pulled their motorcycles out of winter storage. There are few experiences that are quite as freeing as cruising open road on a motorcycle on a warm sunny day. Unfortunately, there are few experiences that are quite as dangerous, as well. Several Connecticut motorcycle riders have lost their lives already this riding season, and many more are likely as the season continues. A new report suggests that while motorcycle fatalities dropped in Connecticut last year, they did not drop enough to match the national average. This means that riders in Connecticut may be statistically more at risk than those in other states.

Good News and Bad News

Last month, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report based on preliminary data regarding 2017 motorcycle traffic fatalities. The report estimated that there were about 300 fewer motorcycle-related deaths in 2017 than in 2016—a drop of about 5.6 percent. Motorcycle fatalities represented about 14 percent of all traffic deaths in the United States in 2017.

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motorcycle, Connecticut personal injury attorneyWhile unseasonably cool temperatures and winter-type weather may still affect Connecticut residents for a few more weeks, spring is on its way. As the temperatures start to come up, increased numbers of individuals and families will begin spending time outside. For motorcycle owners and enthusiasts in the Northeast, spring also marks the beginning of a new riding season. Rider safety groups and government safety officials in Connecticut and around the country encourage riders to protect themselves and to help keep roadways safe for other drivers. Every driver, pedestrian, and motorcycle rider has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent motorcycle accidents and the injuries they cause.

Each year, thousands of motorcycle riders are killed on American roadways, and many thousands more are injured. The tragic reality is that a large number of these injuries and deaths could be prevented if riders follow a few simple safety guidelines:

  • Wear brightly-colored clothing: Black is often a preferred color for many riders, but a rider in bright or reflective clothing is much easier to see. Considering wearing a safety vest over darker clothes;
  • Flash brake lights when stopping or slowing: It can be difficult to tell when a motorcycle is braking. Tapping the brakes causes brake lights to flash, giving trailing drivers more opportunity to notice;
  • Use turn signals: Indicator lights and hand signals let other drivers know that the rider is about to turn;
  • Be aware of other drivers’ blind spots: When passing another vehicle or when stopped at an intersection, keep in mind that most vehicles have blind spots. Staying out of them is one of the keys to safe riding;
  • Maintain safe following distances: In dry conditions, riders should leave at least two seconds of distance between them and the vehicle ahead. When roads are wet, leave at least five seconds; and
  • Watch for roadway hazards: Springtime brings rain, which can leave puddles on the road. Many roads may also have been damaged by snow, ice, and winter plowing. A motorcycle is much less forgiving than a car is, so riders must be careful to avoid dangerous conditions.

Motorcyclists should also ensure that their motorcycles are properly maintained. Get regular oil changes, ensure all lights and signals work properly, and inflate tires to the proper air pressure. A properly-maintained motorcycle is much easier to control at high speeds.

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