In 2014, the St. Louis Today reported on the uptick of motorcycle crashes in the area as springtime approached. The report interestingly links warmer weather – especially in northern climates – with increased motorcycle injuries and fatalities.
Currently, the weather has been unusually warm for the middle of winter in Kansas City. The same is true in other parts of the country. As one Pennsylvania paper reported, the number of motorcycle fatalities increases every May. So, what causes the increase? After all, there are a lot of people who ride all year long. Moreover, August and September don’t see the same death tolls that we see in May or June, so it can’t just be warm weather. Well, to understand the problem, you have to really dig into how drivers think.
It Takes Time to Re-Learn to Ride Motorcycles
After a long, cold winter of not seeing many motorcycles, even experienced riders take some time to acclimate to two wheels, as opposed to four. It can take a few days or even weeks for a rider to get accustomed to riding again after several months of the bike being in storage. Overconfidence and inexperience can lead to higher than usual fatalities and injuries.
It Takes Time to Re-Learn to See Motorcycles
If it takes time to re-learn how to ride, it is no wonder that drivers may take some time to re-learn how to see motorcycles. Drivers may not have seen a motorcycle on the road since October, and now they’re everywhere. Temperatures in late January have been above 50 in Kansas City, so motorcycle enthusiasts are gearing up to go enjoy the nice weather while it lasts. This can create an unexpected surge of two-wheeled vehicles at a time when drivers simply are not expecting them.
Safety Tips for Avoiding Motorcycle Crashes
Remember, when riding a motorcycle you have to be visible. If drivers can’t see you or hear you, they can’t avoid you. Drivers are subconsciously programed to see cars and trucks – not bikes. There are a few things you can do to make sure you are seen.
- Wear visible clothing. You may not like bright yellow, but that’s okay. A simple yellow reflective band on a helmet or on your sleeves can be enough to alert drivers to your presence, especially in dust and dawn.
- Keep your distance when following other vehicles. Drivers typically don’t think to look closely to see who is following oncoming cars. The further you separate yourself from other vehicles, the more you stand out and don’t blend in with other vehicles.
- Ride in a group. You don’t have to join a motorcycle club to ride in groups. Sometimes just having one or two extra riders in formation with you can help drivers to recognize that motorcycles are near.
- Stay out of blind spots. The areas directly to the sides and rear of a car are the most dangerous place for a motorcycle, because these are the areas where the driver cannot see you. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot.
- Make eye contact when possible. In intersections, when making turns, or any time that there is a question about right-of-way, try your best to make eye contact with the other drivers. A little head nod can help give you and the other driver some confidence that you both see each other.
- Use hand and arm signals when necessary. If you are trying to signal your intent and you can’t tell if the other driver notices you, don’t be afraid to use a hand signal. Gesture your intentions. Of course, keep it polite. But a little common sense and communication can go a long way.
Kansas City Motorcycle Crash Lawyers
Despite your best efforts, there is always a chance of injury when you ride. If you or someone you love is injured in a motorcycle crash this season, don’t talk to the insurance company alone. Call the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm today. Case evaluations are always free, and we never collect unless we recover compensation for you.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.