Although a recent report indicates motorcycle fatalities are on the decline, motorists still need to be reminded that they share the road with their two-wheel counterparts, Lexington personal injury lawyer Frank M. Jenkins III said today.
“The drop in motorcycle deaths likely reflects that motorcycle riders are paying more attention to safety by taking training courses, driving sober and wearing helmets and other protective gear – but other drivers have responsibility as well,” Jenkins said.
“The fact is that many motorcycle accidents, injuries and deaths are caused by the car or truck driver failing to see the motorcycle or reacting too slowly to the motorcycle’s presence. So, we have to stay vigilant in raising drivers’ awareness of motorcycles.”
Jenkins is the founder of the Lexington personal injury law firm, Frank Jenkins Law Office, which represents motorcycle accident and other vehicle accident victims in Fayette County and throughout Kentucky.
He said that motorcycle safety advocates should not get overly excited about the report issued this week by the Governors Highway Safety Association, which found that the nation’s motorcycle fatalities have fallen for the second straight year after 11 straight years of increases.
According to the report, which analyzed preliminary data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, “motorcycle fatalities for the full year nationwide are expected to be 4,376 or fewer, a decrease of at least 2 percent from the 4,465 fatalities of 2009.”
In Kentucky, motorcycle deaths dropped to 66 in the first nine months of 2010, or 12 fewer than 2009, the report states.
However, the decline in motorcycle fatalities is short of the 16 percent drop in 2009, and according to the report, the rate of deadly motorcycle wrecks was actually higher in the second half of 2010 than in the first part of the year.
“The report is encouraging, but you have to be cautious about the numbers,” Jenkins said. “To me, this report indicates that we’re making strides in motorcycle safety – but we can do better.”
Jenkins pointed out that Motorcycle Awareness Month in May is the perfect time to inform the public about the need to be more cognizant of motorcycles. It’s also a time to remind motorcycle riders that they deserve to be compensated for their injuries when they are harmed by a motorist who has negligently or recklessly failed to respect their presence on the road. Following too closely, turning ahead of the motorcyclist and running the bike off the road are examples of accidents caused by other vehicle drivers, Jenkins said.
“Because motorcycles are significantly outweighed by cars and trucks, and because motorcyclists generally lack protection – even when wearing a helmet – a motorcycle accident can be tragic,” Jenkins said. “That’s why our law firm is committed to securing compensation for motorcyclists and their families when they are the victims of another’s carelessness.”