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| Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

It took nearly two weeks, but I was finally made aware that May has been designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Week.

Coordinated through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, state governments and nonprofits like the American Motorcyclist Association, the observance was launched several years ago to call attention to the importance of biking responsibly and sharing the road respectfully. Special attention is paid to reminding car and truck drivers to look both ways, then look again, before turning left or right. Motorcyclists also get targeted with messages about wearing helmets and other safety clothing like boots, gloves and heavy pants to protect against traumatic brain injuries, fractures and lacerations.

As a Virginia personal injury and wrongful death attorney who has helped many victims of crashes between motorcycles and larger vehicles, I have seen firsthand the damage wreaked by inattentive, negligent and reckless drivers. I’ve also heard too many times an at-fault driver offering the excuse, “I just never saw the bike.”

Alcohol and drug use also, sadly, plays a role in causing thousands of motorcycle accidents resulting in hospitalization and loss of life.

one piece of good news has come to light during May 2014, however. Statistics compiled by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicate fewer fatal bike crashes occurred in 2013 than in 2012. With more than 4,000 deaths being reported across the United States, though, we all have a long way to go to protect motorcyclists and their passengers adequately.

Motorcycle safety can never be a one-month commitment. Saving lives and preventing injuries requires daily attention and effort.


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