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Motorcycle accidents: May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

During May of every year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol uses Motorcycle Awareness Month to remind road users of the importance of responsible driving. Both bikers and motorists must keep a proper lookout for each other. Typically, however, bike riders suffer more severe injuries in motorcycle accidents involving cars because of the lack of protection a bike provides.

Motorists are asked to be aware that motorcycles are not as easy to spot in rearview- or side mirrors, and a bike often goes unnoticed when it is in the driver's blind-spot. That is often the cause of accidents in which a driver of a car changes lanes or turns while he or she is unaware of the motorcyclist nearby. Troopers also noted that motorcycle riders are allowed to -- and often do -- use hand signals to indicated slowing down or intention to turn, and motorists may not notice those signals if they are distracted.

Wearing an approved helmet may be the only protection for motorcycle riders. They are advised to drive with their headlights on to make them more visible. MSHP said more than 10 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state during 2015 involved motorcycles, and the number of bikers who lost their lives was as high as 92.

Even with all the effort that goes into creating awareness among Missouri road users, motorcycle accidents will still occur, and lives will be lost and/or injuries suffered. Whenever a person is injured or killed as the result of another person's negligence -- regardless of whether that person is a motorcycle rider or a vehicle operator -- financial relief may be pursued by the injured or those who have lost loved ones. Personal injury or wrongful death claims, as appropriate, may be filed in a civil court. Once negligence is proved in court, a monetary judgment may be entered to cover documented claims.

Source: kmaland.com, "Motorcycle Awareness Month taking shape in Missouri", Brent Barnett, May 17, 2016

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