Schmitt Mulhern, LLC

Motorists need to take responsibility to avoid motorcycle crashes

There is nothing quite like the feel of the open road on a motorcycle. Both a form of transportation and enjoyment for many, it is no wonder there are so many riders in the area. However, with the benefits, also come the consequences, as far too many drivers put motorcyclists at risk.

The statistics really speak for themselves. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, in 2014 -- the last year statistics are available -- there were 86 fatal motorcycle accidents and 1,734 personal injury crashes.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. While the focus of motorcyclist safety is one all drivers should always be mindful of, May is a time when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration really tries to drive the point home with its Share the Road with Motorcycles safety campaign.

While there are a number of factors that lead to motorcycle crashes, these are some of the top concerns regarding other motorists on the roadways:

  • Data consistently shows that when it comes to multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents, other motorists are responsible for the crash more than 50 percent of the time.
  • Drivers are distracted -- and therefore not paying attention to the roadways -- more than 50 percent of the time.
  • Proper use of rear-view and side-view mirrors can substantially decrease the chances of getting into an accident with a motorcycle. Not using these mirrors, or not having these mirrors properly adjusted, means the driver may not see the motorcyclist.
  • Far too many drivers tailgate motorcyclists. Motorcyclists need reaction time, as do other drivers. There is no need to be right on top of a motorcyclist.
  • Do not try to share a lane with a motorcycle. While there may be enough space, the idea is to share the road -- as in recognize motorcyclists are also driving and have rights -- but not to literally share the lane. This is just dangerous driving behavior.

Sadly, though, no matter how many warnings are put out, there will still be other drivers who disregard these warnings and put the lives of motorcyclists at risk. When an accident happens, motorcyclists have rights, just as many rights as those driving in cars and trucks, including the right to hire an attorney. Another driver simply saying, "I did not see the motorcycle," is not acceptable. Rather, these negligent drivers need to be accountable for their mistakes.

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.