We are finally experiencing some warmer weather, and the rain seems to have stopped, which means that there will be more and more motorcyclists out on the road. It is important to keep in mind that those operating smaller vehicles, such as motorcycles, are much more likely to be injured in the event of an accident. The month of May is also known as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Operators of motorcycles can be as young as 16 to 18 years old, if they are licensed and they have a Certificate of Parental Consent, in Connecticut. There is currently no mandatory helmet law in effect in Connecticut, with the exception of 16 and 17 year olds being required to wear appropriate headgear. However, the State House of Representatives passed a bill this month requiring motorcycle riders under the age of 21 to wear a helmet. If signed into the law, the bill would go into effect on October 1, 2019 and violators would be subject to a $90 fine. This could perhaps help in the event of an accident, although, as noted in a prior blog, distracted driving remains a serious issue in this state and all around us and, therefore, motorcyclists are always at risk out on the roadways, with or without a helmet.
A review of some motorcycle safety tips seems warranted during Motorcycle Awareness Month, to try and keep everyone safe out on the roads:
Motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges as any other vehicles on the road.
Provide a full lane width to motorcyclists as they need room to maneuver safely.
Approximately 40% of motorcycle crashes involve vehicles turning left in front of them.
Motorcycles are smaller and can be difficult to see and, therefore, drivers of other vehicles should be diligent and check mirrors and blind spots prior to leaving a lane of traffic and/or entering intersections.
Always signal prior to changing lanes or merging with traffic.
Motorcycles do not usually have self-canceling flash turns and, therefore, the signals can at times be misleading if not manually turned off.
Remember that road hazards can, at times, be more dangerous to a motorcyclist, which could cause them to suddenly change or shift positions.
Allow approximately three of four more seconds of following distance behind a motorcycle.
Remember that, in dry conditions, motorcycles can stop much quicker than a larger vehicle.
Motorcyclists also have a responsibility to remain alert while out on the road and to make their best efforts to remain visible at all times to other drivers such as, for instance, keeping their headlights on. If you have the unfortunate experience of being involved in a motorcycle accident, the injuries could be severe and the medical expenses could be significant. You should consult with an attorney experienced in personal injury law as soon as reasonably possible to determine whether compensation might be available.
Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. is located in Hamden, CT and serves clients in and around North Haven, Hamden, Waterbury, Bethany, Milford, Wallingford, Prospect, Woodbridge, Northford, Madison, Beacon Falls, Branford, Cheshire, North Branford, East Haven, Naugatuck, Meriden, Ansonia and New Haven County.
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