Until the colder weather arrives, many residents of Alabama will take their motorcycles out for a weekend cruise or for their daily commute.
Motorcyclists have just as much right to access Alabama roadways as motorists. Some drivers, however, treat them as a nuisance. Others simply fail to pay attention and don't look for motorcyclists in blind spots and other parts of the road.
That's why Alabama ranks the fifteenth most dangerous state for motorcyclists. The numbers don't lie.
Staggering federal data
According to car insurance referral site QuoteWizard, approximately 79 motorcyclists were killed on Alabama roadways in 2017. The state also has a motorcyclist fatality rate of 7.04 per 10,000 registered motorcycles. The highest in the nation is Mississippi, at a rate of 14.22 per 10,000 registered motorcycles.
These figures were pulled from 2017 state crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and compared with 2017 motorcycle registration data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Rick Randolph, a seasoned rider and program manager at the Alabama Traffic Safety Center, raises concerns regarding the state's licensing laws.
"Alabama is the only state or territory in the U.S. that allows a person to be licensed to operate a motorcycle without taking a skills test," said Randolph.
Randolph teaches motorcycle safety courses at the University of Montevallo from March to December of each year. He advises drivers to look twice for motorcyclists, especially at intersections and blind spots on multilane roads. Drivers are also urged to adjust their mirrors to cover blind zones created by traditional mirror settings.
In order to reduce the likelihood of sustaining a severe or life-threatening injury, riders should always follow these guidelines:
- Wear protective gear: Helmets are not only required by law, but they can also prevent serious head injuries from occurring. Riders should also consider wearing gloves, boots, arm guards, and a jacket to prevent injuries caused by road rash.
- Hone your riding skills: Whether you're a seasoned rider or a novice, you can never have enough riding skill. Taking safety courses and practicing riding on different roadways can give you the tools to ride defensively.
- Make yourself visible: Drivers often don't see motorcyclists, especially at night. Being equipped with reflectors and bright articles of clothing can make you stand out more.
If you're a motorcyclist who was injured in a crash, you have legal rights that should be upheld. An experienced Mobile motorcycle accident attorney at Dean Waite & Associates, LLC will fight on your behalf to recover every penny you deserve. Don't wait to get started on your claim. Contact us online to set up your free case evaluation.