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Motorcycle safety not assured through defensive driving and technology

When drivers do not watch for motorcyclists on the road, even technology and defensive riding are not enough to prevent collisions.

Riding a motorcycle provides a sense of freedom for many in Pennsylvania that driving a vehicle does not. Other riders may simply enjoy the savings on fuel. The reasons for choosing to ride are not nearly as important as the commitment motorcyclists must make to preserve their own safety when riding.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 3,284 motorcycle wrecks occurred in the state in 2014, resulting in 3,207 injuries and 186 fatalities. People on motorcycles are 35 times more likely to die in a crash than those who are in passenger vehicle crashes.

Defensive maneuvers may avoid a sideswipe collision

A sideswipe collision with a car is particularly dangerous for motorcyclists since riders lack the protection of a larger vehicle's structure and the safety features, such as airbags. Instead, they must rely on their own defensive techniques to prevent damage. According to Cycle World, one of the most important collision avoidance practices a rider can develop is the ability to stay out of the blind spots of other vehicles on the road. Riding beside a car or truck effectively makes the motorcycle invisible.

Experienced riders recommend that the only time a motorcyclist should ride in a blind spot is when passing another vehicle. Before making the move, the rider should stay in position behind the vehicle so that he or she is visible in the car's mirror. By staying there for a few seconds before passing, the rider is giving the motorist the opportunity to register the motorcycle's presence.

Blind- spot monitoring technology is less than effective

Blind-spot monitoring systems are the safety features included most often in new passenger vehicles. These provide alerts to a driver when there is an object or vehicle in the blind spots. While this should lower the chances of sideswipe collisions, it actually has the potential to raise the risk for motorcyclists.

According to a study recently conducted by the American Automobile Association, drivers with this technology may rely too heavily on the system to provide them with alerts to the presence of surrounding vehicles, rather than performing head and mirror checks before making lane changes or merging into traffic. The AAA road tests uncovered another problem. The technology recognized motorcycles 26 percent later than it did the sedan performing the same maneuvers.

Compensating for the careless behaviors of motorists is high on the list of ways a rider may be able to prevent becoming a statistic. However, when a rider cannot escape the collision, a car accident attorney in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, may be able to help hold the careless or negligent driver liable for the medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering that are the result of the accident.