With May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Maryland’s Motorcycle Safety Program is striving to reduce motorcyclist fatalities as well as provide education, training and enforcement of traffic laws to increase awareness of sharing the road.

Each year, Maryland has an average of 70 fatal motorcycle accidents, along with another 1,400 injuries to motorcycle riders and passengers. According to police reports, nearly half of the collisions do not involve another vehicle, yet impaired driving, as well as lack of speed control, contribute to fatalities. Motor vehicle drivers driving while distracted or who are impaired also contribute to fatal motorcycle collisions.

Some disturbing Maryland motorcyclist statistics include:

  • Motorcyclists ages 21 to 49 make up most statewide accidents
  • Three of every four motorcycle collisions end in an injury or death
  • More than 40 percent of all crashes in the state take place in Baltimore and other urban areas
  • Slightly more than 50 percent of total crashes entail another vehicle
  • While motorcyclist fatalities declined to 66 in 2001, the total figure for crashes remains elevated
  • More than half of the time, drivers are at fault in crashes between motorcyclists and motorists

Because of these figures, Maryland is encouraging vehicle drivers and motorcyclists to “Share the Road” and “Ride Sober” in attempts to reduce motorcyclist deaths and severe injuries.

Tips for Maryland Drivers

While distracted driving remains a component in motorcyclist fatalities, there are preventative steps motor vehicle drivers can take to reduce accidents including:

Share the road with motorcyclists. Motorcyclists have the same rights as motor vehicle drivers, yet collisions for motorcyclists mean they are six times more likely to be injured than car drivers.

Use mirrors and look over your shoulder before changing lanes. Since motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, they may be obstructed from view in a blind spot. By using turn signals and turning your head before switching lanes, a motorcyclist may be seen.

Yield the right of way when making a left turn. By violating a motorcyclist’s right of way, motor vehicle drivers not only endanger a person’s life, they also face fines and points on their license if they injure a motorcyclist.

Operating a motor vehicle is a serious responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. If you have been injured in an accident, contact the skilled motorcycle accident attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan right away for a free legal evaluation of your claim.