After months of cold weather and icy roads, motorcycle enthusiasts in Maine are finally hitting the streets again. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month so motorists are encouraged to share the roads wisely while keeping a watchful eye for bikers in order to avoid motorcycle accidents in Portland or elsewhere in the state.
Motorcycles are a fuel-efficient mode of transportation so it should come as no surprise if we begin to see more traveling on roadways due to the elevation in gas prices recently. Last month the Bangor Daily News reported that motorcycle fatalities decreased by 2 percent nationwide during the first nine months of 2010. This isn’t a trend believed to continue moving forward as the statistics indicated the drop in fatalities was during the beginning of the year. In fact, it is highly doubtful considering motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled in the last decade — from 2,483 in 1999 to as many as 5,290 in 2008. Each year has shown a steady increase during this 10 year time period according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. sInjuries have also shown a steady increase from 1999 to 2008 with the highest mark in 2007 at 103,000 people injured in motorcycle accidents. Maine recorded 18 motorcycle rider fatalities in 2008.
In 2009, Maine recorded over 49,000 registered motorcycles on roadways. There were 102,763 licensed motorcyclists in the state in 2009. Maine requires all riders and operators under age 18 or any motorcyclist with less than one year driving experience to use a federally mandated helmet when riding a motorcycle.
Motorists should keep riders in mind this summer with the following helpful tips:
-Keep plenty of space between you and the motorcycle in front of you.
-Never change lanes or merge with traffic unless you signal first and turn your head to look before you cross the line.
-Make sure the bike in front of you turns before approaching them too closely. Many bikes don’t have an automatic shut-off for the turn signal so they could be signaling inadvertently.
-Never engage in aggressive or distracted driving activities. Motorcycles can appear from nowhere and are difficult to spot.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Bangor or Portland, contact the personal injury lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates. For a consultation and no obligation appointment call 1-800-804-2004 to discuss your rights today.