New Orleans can be a fun place to ride a motorcycle, given its relatively good year-round weather and interesting geography. While many riders relish the thought of taking to the open road on their motorcycles, safety should always be their first priority. Likewise, drivers in other vehicles should always pay attention to motorcyclists nearby.
In May of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released motorcycle accident data from 2013. The data showed that during that year, 4,668 riders lost their lives in motorcycle accidents across the country, which accounted for 14 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. In addition, 88,000 motorcyclists suffered accident injuries during 2013.
In Louisiana, 85 people lost their lives in motorcycle accidents in 2013. In a quarter of those fatal crashes, the rider's blood-alcohol concentration was at or above the legal limit of .08. Another 28 percent of those accidents involved riders who had at least some alcohol in their blood. Unquestionably, alcohol does not mix well with riding a motorcycle. Riders need all of their faculties at full strength to safely operate a motorcycle, and any amount of alcohol in the blood system can jeopardize this.
The NHTSA data for 2013 also shows that in 34 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents across the country, the riders involved were exceeding the speed limit. By contrast, only 21 percent of fatal car accidents involved speeding drivers.
While speeding and consuming alcohol are two factors that can lead to fatal motorcycle crashes, an inattentive driver in another vehicle can be just as dangerous. If a driver is unaware that a motorcyclist is in the area, he or she can collide with the motorcycle when turning or changing lanes. This is why it is so important for drivers to be vigilant about looking for motorcycles on the roadways.
As the NHTSA data illustrates, far too many people lose their lives and suffer serious injuries from motorcycle accidents. The surest way to curb these numbers in years to come is for motorcyclists and drivers in other vehicles to be fully committed to each other's safety every time they get on the road.
Source: NHTSA, "Traffic Safety Facts - Motorcycle," Accessed on Oct. 9, 2015