Articles Tagged with “motorcycle accidents”

It is Bay State Bike Week in Massachusetts, a time to focus on safety for cyclists. During this week, cyclists are hard to miss as they gather at large events in Boston, Cambridge and across the state.

But the daily reality is many Massachusetts cyclists are far less visible to drivers, spending the majority of their time riding alone or in small groups. And when drivers get behind the wheel, they usually pay attention to other motor vehicles and pedestrians at crosswalks. But bicyclists and motorcyclists tend to get lost in the scenery, which can lead to bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents.

We do not make this observation alone. We join many others, including the Transport for London (TPL), which manages a complex transportation network that includes buses, railway, underground trams and more than 900 miles in roads. It also manages a popular cycle hire service, which allows visitors and residents to rent bicycles 24 hours a day from docking stations around the city.

TPL has gained an Internet following in recent years with its “Think!” campaigns, asking members of the public to test their awareness of what they are viewing. We encourage you to watch one eye-opening video below. Others can be found at http://www.awarenesstest.co.uk/.


 
We suggest that you watch for changes or unique placements on the screen. But even with this warning, many people have to be told how the scene changes. The message: we should all take a closer look as we travel among others in our daily lives.

Motorists should take a closer look on the roadways to make sure they see bicyclists and motorcyclists. Doing so will prevent motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents and save lives.
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motorcycle rider.jpgMotorcycling is a fun way to pass a sunny afternoon, but one that requires taking some safety precautions. Motorcyclist deaths have been rising in recent years – more than doubling in 2008 from the record low in 1977. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles in 2007 was 37 times the number of people in cars.

These figures mean it is important to dress to protect yourself in case of motorcycle accidents.

Helmets: Helmets are especially important. They are 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures.

Twenty states and Washington D.C. require all riders to wear motorcycle helmets, including Massachusetts and Vermont. New Hampshire has no motorcycle helmet law. Rhode Island, Maine and Connecticut have laws that require younger operators to wear helmets.

If you are looking for a helmet, look for one that meets Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. All adult-sized helmets have been required to meet these standards since 1980. Helmets may be additionally approved by the Snell Memorial Foundation, but this testing standard is voluntary for helmet manufacturers.

There are several types of helmets available on the market, but full-face helmets provide the most protection in case of motorcycle accidents. Other types of helmets include open-face helmets and “shorty” half-helmets. If you choose an open-face helmet, make sure to buy a pair of safety eyeglasses. Shorty half-helmets are generally not recommended because they leave a large area of your face and head exposed in motorcycle accidents.

Lastly, it’s important to make sure you choose the right size helmet. If a motorcycle dealer isn’t ordering your helmet for you, measure the largest part of your head with a tape measure and call the manufacturer. Most helmets are sold in small, medium, large or extra large, so tell the customer service representative your measurement and ask them what size helmet you need.

Clothing: When it comes to jackets and pants, choose the most sturdy materials for the most protection. Leather is considered the best, but denim and corduroy also work. If you worry about overheating, choose pants and vests with zippered vents. And remember, always wear gloves to protect your hands in case of a motorcycle accident or fall on the roadway.

Reflective Clothing: The more visible you are to other drivers, the better your chances are for avoiding a motorcycle accident. Wear brightly colored jackets and pants or reflective material that can be seen at all hours day or night.

Eye Protection: Many motorcyclists choose helmets with an approved shield covering their eyes. Others use separate safety goggles or shatterproof glasses. Make sure your eye protection is clean and unscratched each time before you start riding. If you use a tinted lens for the bright sun, be prepared. Take a clear lens as well in case your ride goes into the night.

Click here for more on state motorcycle helmet laws.

Click here for more information about motorcycle helmets and other safety gear from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
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Baby boomers are taking to the open road on motorcycles at greater rates than ever before and as they do, their personal injuries and fatalities resulting from motorcyle accidents are increasing.

The American Motorcyclist Association reports its average membership age is now 48. The Motorcycle Industry Council trade association, meanwhile, reports the average age of all motorcycle owners increased from 33 to 40 years old between 1998 and 2003.

motorcycle rider.jpgThe Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports the rate of motorcycle-related deaths and injuries in the state for riders between 55 and 64 quadrupled between 1998 and 2007.  Additionally, although nationally there was a decline in motorcycle related fatalities regardless of age, Massachusetts experienced an increase in fatal motorcycle crashes.

The state Department of Public Health is not the only one to notice a correlation between age and severity of injury.  Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center recently found that motorcyclists over the age of 40 sustained more serious personal injuries, spent more time in the hospital, and were up to twice as likely to die from a motorcycle accident than riders under 40.

Dr. Mark Gestring, the lead author of the study and director of the trauma center, noticed older riders and more severe injuries in the emergency room.  His research team examined records in the National Trauma Databank and noted several disturbing trends:

  • Riders over 40 were 5% more likely than riders under 40 to require hospitalization in the intensive care unit.
  • Riders over 40 were more likely to suffer complications such as blood clots, pneumonia, or infections.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found a 145% increase from 2000 to 2006 in death rates for motorcyclists over 65.

Doctors report that there are several factors accounting for the increased severity and fatality of injuries sustained by older riders.  First, older riders have less resilient skin, bones and blood vessels and cannot handle as much physical trauma as their younger counterparts.  Additionally, older riders come into the hospital with more preexisting heath problems and take more medications that can complicate injuries.

For more information, read this recent Boston Globe article about aging motorcyclists in Massachusetts.
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